Canterbury may be a year late and few players short heading into what is arguably the Crusaders’ biggest, if not most meaningful, game.
Coming off their best season ever, the Crusaders are without three key components who are now at Division I-A schools and could be short another as running back James Goodwin has a finger injury.
All told, Canterbury will suit up 19 players Friday — it has to use assistant coaches to fill in positions on its scout teams — on what could be the state’s thinnest football team.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us,” said coach Steve Dudley.
These are the kind of challenges the Crusaders craved last season, when they dominated the independent ranks, going 9-1 and winning a conference title that was truly less than satisfying as the rest of the football world went about competing in the playoffs.
Now they are in a district with the big(ger) boys. Admiral Farragut may be one the best teams you haven’t heard about yet.
“On a certain level, we kind of embrace it. It’s just us against the world. We’re the little guy,” Dudley said. “But this adds a certain amount of legitimacy to our program and I still think we’ll be one of the better teams in the district.
“We got into it so we could play in meaningful games. And here we are.”
Five fun facts about PHU-Pinellas Park
1. Palm Harbor University has never started a season 2-0. It has started 1-1 six times and 0-2 seven times.
2. Pinellas Park hasn’t started 2-0 since the 2003 season. The Patriots went 6-4 that season.
3. If the Patriots start 2-0, they have Dunedin, Northeast, Boca Ciega, Clearwater, Seminole and Gibbs next. Can we be looking at a 7-1 or 6-2 record heading into the St. Petersburg game Nov. 5?
4. If PHU starts 2-0, with Seminole and Gibbs to follow, can we be looking at a 4-0 Hurricanes team heading into their game against St. Petersburg Oct. 1?
5. Last year, six teams started 2-0. All of them finished with a .500 record or better. Four of them — Countryside, Largo, St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs — went a combined 40-10, while the other two, Clearwater and Clearwater Central Catholic, went 5-5 and 6-4 respectively.
Did you know?
Lakewood has scored only 18 points in the past three seasons against St. Petersburg. One of those games, however, was a Spartans win — by a 3-0 score to close out the 2007 season.