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North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

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Sat. September 21, 2013 | Matt Baker | Email

North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

Times’ super 7

1. Pasco (2-1): The Pirates were off Friday, giving them more time to prepare for tough district games against Nature Coast and South Sumter.

2. Springstead (3-1): The Eagles have scored more than two touchdowns only once this season. Yet they’re still 3-1 and, perhaps, the favorites in Class 6A, District 6.

3. Sunlake (3-1): The Seahawks could end up regretting their stuffed fourth-down run at the goal line vs. Springstead but can regroup against Ridgewood.

4. Land O’Lakes (4-0): The Gators have improved greatly since rough performances in exhibition losses to Pasco and Zephyrhills. That Oct. 18 game against Sunlake is already looming large. 

5. Zephyrhills (3-1): A 38-15 loss at mighty South Sumter was respectable. But the Bulldogs will have to cut down on fumbles and other mistakes to make a run at the playoffs.

6. Hernando (1-2): Hey, the Leopards finally got a game in! A 27-10 win over county foe Weeki Wachee was a nice start to district play. Next up: Cocoa. Gulp.

7. Nature Coast (1-2): Rohan Blackwood’s return helped spark the Sharks to their first win over the season, a 34-0 victory over Central.

Mahla’s the man

Springstead’s run-heavy triple-option offense isn’t usually conducive to the two-minute drill. But the Eagles showed a new wrinkle and made it work in their biggest win of the season – a 14-13 win over Sunlake to open district play. 

The key, unsurprisingly, was senior quarterback Tyler Mahla. He rushed the ball on seven of Springstead’s nine plays on its 80-yard, three-minute drive, and he inched ahead on fourth and 1 to keep the drive alive.

Mahla finally completed the comeback with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Bedford with 48 seconds left.

“He’s such a veteran,” coach Mike Garofano said. “He’s a three-year starter, and he showed it.

 “We go as he goes. He’s our guy, man." 

Mahla rushed for 69 yards and finished 5-of-9 passing for 61 yards but credited his team’s success to his offensive line.

Five performances worth another mention

RB Larenz Scroggins, Land O’Lakes: The shifty junior had the second 100-yard game of his career. He rushed for 147 yards, and his 57-yard touchdown helped put away a 45-21 win over Mitchell.

DB Quenton Snead, River Ridge: He had two of the Royal Knights’ four interceptions in a 21-7 win over Gulf. 

RB Davion Sutton, Fivay: The senior had his second 100-yard game of the season, rushing for 115 and scoring twice in a win over Lecanto.

RBs Richard Graham IV and Mondrell Brown, Hernando: Both Leopards had 100-yard nights, and they combined for three touchdowns to help give Hernando its first win of the season.

RB Nathan Johnson, Sunlake: He accounted for 113 of his team’s 165 rushing yards and its only touchdown in a close loss to Springstead. This was the junior’s third consecutive 100-yard game. 

By the numbers

3 – Wins, in four games, for Hudson after Friday’s 15-6 victory over Wesley Chapel

3 – Wins the Cobras had earned on the field in their last 32 games before this season

2 – Touchdowns scored by Wesley Chapel’s Eric Bennett this season

3 – Touchdowns Bennett’s Wildcats have scored so far

3 – Kickoff returns for a touchdown (including the preseason) for Zephyrhills senior Jordan Roberts, after his 81-yarder against South Sumter

151 – Total yards by Anclote senior Willie Barrett in a 24-0 win over Ridgewood

133 – Rushing yards by Hudson’s Noah Siegrist in a win over Wesley Chapel

202 – Rushing yards by River Ridge’s Ben Perdomo. That’s his second straight 200-yard rushing game

72 – Percent of Gulf’s offense amassed by Avery Welch on Friday. He had 98 of his team’s 135 yards

Injury update

Zephyrhills sophomore T.J. Lee left Friday night’s game at South Sumter in an ambulance after taking a hit. Bulldogs coach Reggie Roberts said Lee sustained a concussion but was otherwise not seriously injured. 

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