As far as first-week predictions go, these were spot on. ¶ Not a bad way to start the football season picking 8-of-8 games correctly. ¶ Hernando, Sunlake, Land O’Lakes, Gulf, Nature Coast, Mitchell, Clearwater Central Catholic and Bishop McLaughlin all won. ¶ It was a tell-tale night. The Sharks thrashing of the Bears was telling. Hernando’s dominance over Springstead, powerful. Sunlake’s high-octane offense roared once again. And Land O’Lakes, Mitchell and even Bishop McLaughlin looked tough. ¶ After last season’s disappointment - four teams knocked out in the opening playoff round - 2010 has some promise thanks to some talented players, good coaches and very little to live up to when considering the debacle of 2009.
North Suncoast Super Seven
1. Pasco (0-0)
Last week: bye
This week: vs. Plantation American Heritage
2. Land O’Lakes (1-0)
Last week: def. Ridgewood 49-6.
This week: bye
3. Hernando (1-0)
Last week: def. Springstead 28-3
This week: at Lecanto
4. Nature Coast (1-0)
Last week: def. Central 44-8
This week: vs. Springstead
5. Mitchell (1-0)
Last week: def. River Ridge 41-0
This week: vs. Ridgewood
6. Sunlake (1-0)
Last week: Wiregrass Ranch 43-6
This week: at Hudson
7. Springstead (0-1)
Last week: lost to Hernando 28-3
This week: vs. Nature Coast
Other receiving consideration: Anclote, Bishop McLaughlin, Gulf, Zephyrhills.
QB Stevie Weatherford, Sr., (Land O’Lakes): Completed 17-of-29 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran in a pair of touchdowns. The USF oral commitment is off to a solid start.
QB Ja’Juan Story, Sr., (Nature Coast): What a Story. Nature Coast QB Ja’Juan Story graced the cover of the St. Petersburg Times North Suncoast football preview Friday, then backed it up with an awesome performance against Central. The University of Florida oral commitment scored four touchdowns fo 54, 33, 46 and 90 yards.
QB Tyrail Hawkins, So., (Hernando): Looked like a veteran in command of the offense finishing with 138 yards of total offense, a 90-yard touchdown run a 6-yard touchdown pass to running back Alvin Delaine. Hawkins completed 3-of-4 passes for 29 yards, key plays to help keep Springstead’s defense on its heals.
RB Alvin Delaine, Sr., (Hernando): Now sharing the offensive limelight with Hawkins and fullback Marlin Smith, Delaine still packed some punch when most needed scoring a 1-yard rushing touchdown and a 6-yard touchdown reception while combining for 74 yards of total offense.
RB Austin Jackson, Sr. (Gulf): Rushed for a game-high 127 yards on only seven attempts versus Hudson. The senior running back showed flashes of brilliance, especially on a 43-yard run where the back made several quick cuts to slice through the Cobras defense and give Gulf a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter. If Jackson did not go down with cramps during the third quarter, the senior may have been able to touch the 200-yard plateau.
QB Cody Beck, Sr., (Hudson): Showed great poise with his team down 21 points and almost led the Cobras back single-handedly against a fast Buccaneers defense and scored through the air and on the ground. Beck would fake out just about everyone in the stadium on a quarterback keeper out of the Cobras’ spin motion offense and score from 27 yards out and also hooked up with tight end Gary Myrick on a 74-yard touchdown pass.
RB Ricky Trinidad, Sr., (Mitchell): Another monster week rushing just seven times for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Last week, Trinidad averaged almost 20 yards per carry.
RB Isaac Bailey, Sr. (Nature Coast): Helped diversify the backfield rushing 12 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Along with Story, the duo might just be the best running duo on the North Suncoast.
Rushing title watch
1. Ja’Juan Story, Sr., Nature Coast: Ran nine times for 225 yards and four touchdowns.
2. Ricky Trinidad, Sr., Mitchell: Ran seven times for 145 yards and two touchdown.
3. Isaac Bailey, Sr., Nature Coast: Ran 12 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
4. Austin Jackson, Sr., Gulf: Ran seven times for 127 yards and one touchdown.
5. Raushad Daniels, Sr., Sunlake: Ran 12 times for 91 yards and three touchdowns.
Friday night marked wins for first-year coaches Mark Nash (Nature Coast), Matt Nardo (Bishop McLaughlin) and Ken Hollar (Bishop McLaughlin). Sorry Ben Alford (Wesley Chapel) and Mike Einspahr (Central), maybe this week.
Long time coming
Hernando’s win against Springstead was a first for the Leopard seniors, who had lost the previous three meetings. That made the victory a little sweeter for Hernando’s upperclassmen. “This is a big rivalry,” Delaine said. “We didn’t beat them in years. Our seniors came out and did what they had to do.”
Gulf started out very quickly vs. Hudson by jumping out to a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter but the Buccaneers ran out of gas and allowed the Cobras to come within a touchdown of tying the game at the end. The Buccaneers hope to regroup versus River Ridge next week, who lost 41-0 to Mitchell on Friday night. ...The Cobras must be encouraged after starting off the first three quarters flat. Hudson was able to pull it together and if not for a fumble on the first play of the game, virtually tied Gulf through mostly four quarters of play.
Times correspondent Andy Villamarzo contributed to this report. Izzy Gould can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 421-3886.