North Suncoast super 7
1. Sunlake (2-0): The Seahawks still haven’t allowed an offensive touchdown this fall, after shutting out River Ridge 25-0. Nathan Johnson could be Pasco County’s breakout back.
2. Pasco (1-1): Any questions about the Pirates’ potential, after they dismantled Fivay in a 50-7 win?
3. Zephyrhills (2-0): Goodness, the Bulldogs can strike quickly. Jordan Roberts and Jaylen Pickett both returned kickoffs for touchdowns in a 51-20 victory over Gulf.
4. Springstead (1-1): QB Tyler Mahla’s two TDs helped his rookie coach, Mike Garofano, earn the first win of his career with a 14-0 triumph over Weeki Wachee.
5. Hernando (0-1): The Leopards have played one game and had two rained out: a preseason game against River Ridge and Friday night’s contest against Jacksonville Bishop Kenny. Mother Nature is undefeated.
6. Nature Coast (0-1): The Sharks were off in Week 2, giving them more time to prepare for a big country rivalry showdown against Springstead.
7. Land O’Lakes (2-0): Class 6A, District 6 remains unpredictable, but James Pensyl and the Gators look like they’ll be contenders in the playoff race.
In the conversation: Mitchell (2-0), Wiregrass Ranch (2-0)
Rainy weather and slippery fields helped pile up turnovers Friday night. Defenses capitalized with several touchdowns:
Pasco: Junior LB Bowman Archibald returned an interception 7 yards for the first touchdown of his varsity career. He added 1.5 sacks in his breakout game.
Land O’Lakes: Senior LB/DE Darius Wells pounced on a fumble in the end zone (eventually) to score his second touchdown in the past three games.
Wesley Chapel: Senior DE Eric Bennett lived up to the preseason hype, recording a pick-six for the Wildcats’ only score in a 10-6 loss at Lecanto.
Wiregrass Ranch: Junior LB/DB Jaye Miner returned a fumble 3 yards as part of his standout night (17 tackles, 1 ½ sacks) in a 25-7 win over Hudson.
“We felt like we let the coaches down, let the community down. We took that anger we had into practice.” – Pasco ATH Malik Johns, on responding to a Week 1 loss to Sunlake
Five players whose strong performances deserve another mention
Ridgewood RB Glass Wilson: His 100-yard night included three touchdown runs to give Mitchell a scare in a 41-30 Rams loss.
Pasco ATH Malik Johns: He helped his Pirates rebound from a loss to Sunlake with a Janarion Grant-like stat line: one TD catch, one TD rush, a pair of two-point conversion runs and a two-point conversion pass.
Anclote RB Trent Crawford: He rushed for 105 yards and the Sharks’ only score while adding two excellent kickoff returns in a loss to Land O’Lakes.
Sunlake RB Nathan Johnson: The pounding workhorse has acted like a Division I prospect. He followed a strong showing against Pasco with 137 yards and a touchdown against River Ridge.
Mitchell RB Nate Boler: The senior showed that Christian Trinidad isn’t the only horse in the Mustangs’ stable. He rushed for almost 100 yards and scored a TD against Ridgewood.
Quick thoughts on the Week 3
Springstead at Nature Coast: Even without Rohan Blackwood, the Sharks defense will be a tough test for Mahla and the Eagles. NCT gave Springstead fits last season and handed the Eagles a 14-7 loss. Springstead’s offensive attack will have to improve after scoring only 28 points through the first two games.
Mitchell at Zephyrhills: Expect lots of rushes and lots of points. Mitchell has put up two impressive performances so far, but they haven’t faced a team as athletic and fast as the Bulldogs. Can the Mustangs slow down Jordan Roberts, Jaylen Pickett and Devin Brockington?
River Ridge at Wiregrass Ranch: The Bulls still feel as if they have more to prove. A win over a struggling Royal Knights team would move Wiregrass to 3-0 – its best start in program history.
Anclote ATH Shy Carter separated his shoulder during the first drive in Friday’s game against Land O’Lakes. Sharks coach Matt Wicks said his two-way standout and Division I prospect is expected to be fine but will probably miss Friday’s game against Sunlake.