Anclote took two quarters to make the playoffs, but as coach Matt Wicks remembers, it was a long four years, too.
The Sharks outlasted first Zephyrhills, then got payback on Fivay in a three-way tiebreaker shootout Monday night and became the Class 5A-District 6 runner-up.
Anclote, a program in its fourth year, makes its first playoff berth and will travel to Gainesville Eastside on Nov. 16.
"The blood, sweat and tears have been worth every minute of it," Wicks said with tears in his eyes and choking up. "These guys deserve it; the guys who have been with me since the beginning. This has been the hardest thing I've done, to start a new program from nothing, and it's been a long four years, but worth it."
With Fivay looking on from its end zone, Anclote shut out Zephyrhills 16-0, then after a 20-minute intermission, shut out Fivay 7-0.
The Sharks grabbed a 3-0 lead on the Bulldogs when C.J. Peppe hit a 32-yard field goal. Zephyrhills had a tough time gaining any rhythm, and quarterback Mike Smith threw two interceptions.
In the second quarter, Anclote took a quick lead when quarterback John Forgione hit Tymere Carter on a 21-yard pass.
Fivay would get down to the Anclote 25, but failed to score on a jump ball thrown by Tyler Degen. Anclote then worked the clock by running Willie Barrett and picking up crucial third-down conversions. A Dampier interception ended the game.
Unbeaten Pasco is the 5A-6 champion.
6A-District 8: No tiebreaker necessary
Hillsborough can finally celebrate winning the Class 6A-District 8 football title, although it waited some 10 days to see whether an investigation into another school's eligibility issue might force a three-way tiebreaker.
FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing said although his staff is still in the process of determining the academic eligibility of a Jefferson student-athlete, the district's champion and runner-up as determined by results on the field will stand.
The means the Terriers are the district winners, and Armwood is the runner-up. If the FHSAA had made a ruling sooner, Sickles could have picked up a district win by Jefferson forfeit and been part of a three-way tiebreaker tonight at Hillsborough.
Dearing said there will be no district tiebreaker. He also said the Jefferson player's eligibility will require an interpretation by the state's Department of Education. That, he says, will take time.