North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback



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Sat. October 5, 2013 | Matt Baker and Mary Kenney

North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

Times’ super 7

1. Springstead (5-1, 2-0): The Eagles allowed no points and recovered two fumbles against Fivay. With Connor Ross on defense, expect low-scoring games for the next few matchups, at least until the Nov. 1 game against Land O’Lakes.

2. Land O’Lakes (5-0, 1-0): The matchup against city rival Sunlake is just two weeks away, and the Gators will have a chance to show off a strong defense against Hudson next week.

3. Sunlake (5-1, 1-1): The Seahawks will emerge from a bye week to face Wesley Chapel before the hyped Land O’Lakes game. Sunlake’s defense could topple the high-scoring Gators.

4. Zephyrhills (4-1, 1-1): Returning from a bye week, the Bulldogs’ matchup against Nature Coast will continue this year’s unpredictable narrative of Class 5A, District 6.

5. Hernando (2-3, 2-0): A 20-13 win against Nature Coast may have inspired the Leopards. Quarterback Tyler Kline threw for 88 yards and rushed for the game’s first touchdown.

6. Nature Coast (2-3, 2-1): With leading rusher DeShawn Smith sidelined by a knee injury, NCT struggled to gain yards against the Leopards. His health will alter the Sharks’ chances to mount a challenge in next week’s matchup against Zephyrhills.

7. Pasco (2-3, 0-2): The Pirates couldn’t drive the score up against South Sumter’s defense and trailed the Raiders after the first quarter. They’ve dropped below .500 for the first time since October 2007 in a season no one expected.


Blind side

Three things we didn’t see coming:

1. Class 5A District 6. Pasco, the defending district champion, has struggled for the first time since coach Tom McHugh’s tenure began. Meanwhile, Hernando, Zephyrhills and NCT have surprised us with unexpected wins. We have no idea who will make the playoffs this year. 

2. We expected an NCT triumph over a low-scoring Hernando, and we were wrong. Tyler Kline’s 32-yard pass to Tyquon Carr in the third quarter drove the Leopards ahead, and even a fourth-quarter score by Nature Coast wasn’t enough to regain the lead.

3. Springstead shutting out Fivay. The high-scoring Falcons have a balanced offense, with one of the county’s best passers (Eric Vitale) and rushers (Davion Sutton). But the Eagles limited Fivay to only 142 yards of total offense. 


By the numbers

2,172 Days since Pasco (2-3) last had a losing record. The Pirates started the 2007 season 2-4 before rallying to finish 6-5 and make the playoffs

40 Games in a row in which Hudson had failed to score 43 points, before Friday’s 43-7 win over Gulf. The Cobras last scored that many in October 2009 in a win over River Ridge

2 District shutouts in a row for Anclote after the Sharks blanked River Ridge to take an early position atop Class 5A, District 7. 

21 Points Fivay’s high-powered offense has scored (total) in three matchups against Springstead


Performances worth another mention

Wiregrass Ranch QB Shane Bucenell: He rushed for a touchdown and threw for another to help his Bulls take an early lead on Gaither before fading in the second half.

Hudson ATH Zack Russell: The Fivay transfer rushed for a touchdown and returned an interception 85 yards for a score in a win over Gulf.

Hernando QB Tyler Kline: The 5-foot-11 junior ran for a touchdown and threw for another to lead his Leopards to a rivalry win over Nature Coast. 

Pasco ATH Malik Johns: The senior D-I recruit rushed for 105 yards and a score, totaled 29 receiving yards and filled in at quarterback in a loss to South Sumter. 



“It’s just one day, one week and one team at a time.” - Anclote running back Trent Crawford on looking ahead to postseason play


Injury update

Pasco receiver Nate Craig remained on crutches Saturday after leaving Friday night’s loss to South Sumter with a right leg injury. Craig said in a text message that doctors don’t want him to put pressure on his leg, but further information won’t be available until he sees a specialist Monday. 

Craig is one of Florida’s top prospects for the class of 2016 and holds offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami and Ohio State, among others. 



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