Cotey: District foes shouldn't take PHU lightly

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Wed. September 15, 2010 | John C. Cotey | Email

Cotey: District foes shouldn't take PHU lightly

Two weeks, two wins, one big surprise:

Hello there, Palm Harbor University.

The Hurricanes are one of six teams in Pinellas County to start 2-0, but the only one that most fans are probably a little surprised by.

Not so much because it’s PHU with its hardly sterling history, but because the Hurricanes have knocked off pretty good teams in Tarpon Springs and Pinellas Park, and done so impressively.

In fact, if one were to re-order the predicted finish in Class 5A, District 8, it wouldn’t be so crazy to put PHU right near the top.

While the Hurricanes still have the usual depth issues, their offense looks like the best in the district, and it’s not even close.

They are big up front, and so far have the district’s most exciting playmakers in quarterback Billy Pavlock, running back Kenny Blanch and wide receiver Hunter Beam. With apologies to the great Shawn Michaels, I’m calling them HBK, for Heartbreak Kids (and Hunter, Billy and Kenny). Two weeks in they already have a combined five scores of 30 yards or longer. Heartbreaking (see!) for opponents.

To make the playoffs for the first time, the Hurricanes would have to knock off either Countryside or East Lake. Now I’m wondering if PHU doesn’t have a chance to actually sweep the 5A-8 standard bearers.

BAKLAVA BOWL: After beating Dunedin last week, the fine folks of Tarpon Springs have decided to let new coach Atif Austin stick around for the East Lake game Thursday.

(I kid, I kid …but if the Spongers had lost to Dunedin …well, I shudder to think)

This is, as always, a big game for both teams, but probably bigger for the Spongers. Austin could use a splashy win. The Spongers are hosting and really need to get their once-vaunted running attack going.

STREAKING: Lakewood coach Cory Moore is 2-0 against Boca Ciega, but prior to his hiring, the Pirates had won five straight meetings between the teams. And prior to that, Lakewood had won five straight.

NUMBERS: Clearwater’s 2-0 start is nice, but it’s all about the schedule, and the Tornadoes have only beaten four .500-plus teams since 2002. …Seminole is 6-36 since 2005, and half of those wins have been against 0-10 teams. …Largo has won the past four meetings with Gibbs. …Northside Christian has outscored Admiral Farragut 86-17 in the past four meetings.

DID YOU KNOW? Largo’s Leon Collins rushed for a county single-game record 386 yards against Gibbs in 1998.

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