Times’ super 7
1. Springstead (8-1, 4-0): The Eagles sealed their second straight district championship with a 34-21 win over Land O’Lakes. They’ll host Citrus in the first round of the playoffs after facing Hernando next week.
2. Sunlake (8-1, 3-1): The Seahawks clinched the second playoff spot in Class 6A, District 6. They’ll travel to Gainesville for the first round Nov. 15.
3. Pasco (6-3, 4-2): The Pirates are on their way to the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season despite a disappointing start. Pasco dominated the 9-Mile War, taking an early lead and never giving it up against a talented Zephyrhills offense.
4. Zephyrhills (7-2, 4-2): The Bulldogs’ loss to Pasco keeps them out of the playoffs, but the season isn’t over yet. Zephyrhills faces Sunlake next.
5. Land O’Lakes (7-2, 2-2): The Gators fell to the 6A-6 district champion, but they didn’t fold in a second-half rally that ultimately fell short. The Gators end their season at Lecanto.
6. Anclote (6-3, 5-0): The Sharks clinched their first district title by beating 5A-7 foe Hudson. Anclote travels to state-ranked Clearwater Central Catholic next week, then will host Tarpon Springs in the region quarterfinals.
7. Hudson (6-3, 4-1): The Cobras lost to Anclote, but still earned their first playoff appearance since 2009. After playing rival Fivay, Hudson will travel to Lakewood for its first postseason game.
Winless no longer
With three, big playoff-deciding games, Gulf’s 48-0 victory over Wesley Chapel was lost in the shuffle. Avery Welch threw for three touchdowns — all to James Grubb — and the Buccaneers never looked back.
The victory was the first for Gulf’s first-year coach, Jason Messamore, and it ended the Bucs’ 20-game losing streak. The 48-point offensive explosion is more than Gulf scored all of last season (29) but a decrease from the week before. The Bucs are averaging 23 points in their past four games.
Performances worth another mention
Gulf ATH Montavious Reed: The shifty senior returned an interception for a touchdown and took a punt for a score in the Buccaneers’ first win of the season.
Land O’Lakes QB James Pensyl: The senior was 23-of-29 for 298 yards against Springstead, but he’s been in the 1,000-plus passing club for a while. He doubled his rushing yards for the season, running for 101 against Springstead.
Springstead RB Latavious Hannah: The senior intercepted the ball in the third quarter against Land O’Lakes, quashing doubts that the Eagles would seal the district championship.
Wiregrass Ranch DB Devin Duckett: His two interceptions in a loss to Freedom boosted his total to eight picks this fall.
Sunlake RB Nathan Johnson: He averaged almost 14 yards per carry and made sure the Seahawks wouldn’t slip up and lose their playoff spot. His 163-yard night was his eighth consecutive 100-yard game.
“The kid is just a warrior and a half.” — Ridgewood coach Jay Fulmer on standout RB Glass Wilson. The sophomore rushed for 200 yards and scored three touchdowns — including the winner — during a 17-point fourth quarter against River Ridge. He finishes the season with more than 1,500 rushing yards and 15 TDs.
“We had a tough week of practice. The coaches kept us after a couple of times” — Springstead RB Daniel Wright. Eagles coaches stressed the importance of winning as opposed to settling for a tiebreaker
Times correspondents Darek Sharp and Alejandro Tamayo contributed to this report.