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North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

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Sat. September 7, 2013 | Matt Baker | Email

North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

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) 

Getting defensive
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.

Audible
“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

Overlooked
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.

Looking ahead
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. 

Injury update
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. 

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