The Robinson Knights continued their quest for a Class 5A state title Friday night, dispatching the Pasco Pirates in smashmouth fashion 49-21.
The Pirates scored first after sophomore Brandon Ray scooped up a muffed snap on Robinson's first offensive play. Ray took it 30 yards in for the score and the fully-packed Pasco visiting stands went berserk.
The Knights calmed things down by answering with a crafty touchdown run on fourth-and-goal from the seven-yard line. Three running backs swept right and junior Robert Priester got it and scooted in to tie the game.
The Knights scored on their next drive after a completion to senior Cody Hodgens set them up at the goal line. Sophomore Michael Duclos punched it in from there.
The Pirates answered with a touchdown pass to freshman Nate Craig but their offense dried up from there.
Robinson's offense did not.
The Knights scored on an 80-yard scramble by senior Zain Gilmore, who made a beautiful open field cut to buy himself space to score and the Knights led 21-14 at the half.
They picked up right where they left off in the second half. The Knights scored on their first drive on a 25-yard Gilmore keeper. Gilmore again on a one-yard sneak. The Knights led 35-14 and were pulling away when Pirate quarterback Janarion Grant heaved a ball deep and Knight junior defensive back Brandon Peters tracked it down and picked it off.
"I took one look up at the ball and decided I was gonna go get it," Peters said.
Peters interception virtually iced the game, but the Knights were not done. Ruiz would score two more rushing touchdowns en route to a night where he gained 187 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns. Gilmore was equally effective rushing for 117 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns.
"I gotta give credit to the O-line, every one of them," Ruiz said. "On that last touchdown run, we had a second string guy in there."
Senior Justin Madison was a massive headache for the Pasco offense, recording a handful of tackles for losses. USF-commit Bruce Hector got the best of his matchup with Joey Ivie of Pasco.
"The coaches put us in the right positions tonight and we capitalized," Hector said.
The Knights continue their historic 2012 run. Head coach Mike DePue became the winningest coach in school history with 72 and the Knights will host Tallahassee Godby next Friday for a chance to play for a state title.