North Suncoast Super 7
1. Sunlake (1-0): Pasco County’s king is dead. Long live the king.
2. Pasco (0-1): Nate Craig and the Pirates have to hang on to the ball – or they could find themselves out of the playoff picture in a loaded district.
3. Zephyrhills (1-0): The offense is stacked with talent, and its defense recorded back-to-back safeties in a 26-6 win over Wesley Chapel.
4. Springstead (0-1): No shame in a 42-14 loss to a strong Citrus team.
5. Hernando (0-1): The Leopards can take confidence from Tyler Kline’s two TD passes against mighty Jacksonville Bolles.
6. Mitchell (1-0): The Mustangs showed grit with a last-minute drive to beat Anclote.
7. Nature Coast (0-1): Without Rohan Blackwood, a 14-8 loss to Crystal River was a solid rebound from a rough kickoff classic.
In the conversation: Wiregrass Ranch, Anclote
Whether it was because of Sunlake’s strong defense, Pasco’s sloppy execution or perhaps too much confidence from a maturing team, the Pirates are no longer atop Pasco County.
Their 17-6 loss to the Seahawks ended a 38-game regular-season win streak and a run of 45 consecutive wins in the county. Pasco’s six-point output was its worst since a 22-0 loss to Gulf in October 2006.
“Sometimes you get jerked awake,” Pirates coach Tom McHugh said.
Not long after the final buzzer sounded, McHugh reminded his team of how important wakeup calls can be. Pasco lost to Hernando in last year’s preseason game, leading McHugh to revamp his defense and lean more on Morgan Flournory. The Pirates rattled off 12 wins in a row to advance to the region final, and Flournory became the defensive player of the year.
Pasco followed its last regular-season loss – a 32-7 defeat at South Sumter in Week 2 of 2009 – with eight consecutive victories and a district title.
Wiregrass Ranch ended a streak of its own Friday night with a 42-7 triumph over Gulf in Mike Lawrence’s head coaching debut.
Those six TDs were more than the Bulls scored in their last six games combined, and they hadn’t scored that many points in one contest since October 2010. With matchups against Hudson and River Ridge ahead, Wiregrass has a realistic shot at a 3-0 start.
John Harris-Scott (134 rushing yards) and Jaye Miner (team-high 18 tackles) were some of Wiregrass’ top performers.
Five players whose strong performances deserve another mention
Fivay WR/DB Christian Coleman: He caught only four passes but racked up 234 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He also snagged an interception in a win over Ridgewood.
Land O’Lakes QB James Pensyl: He followed up a rough preseason outing against Zephyrhills with a 309-yard, three-touchdown gem in a 32-0 rout of River Ridge.
Sunlake RB Nathan Johnson: The bruising junior rushed for only 57 yards on 18 carries but controlled the game’s pace and made few mistakes.
Gulf WR Montavious Reed: If he can repeat his performance from Friday (125 receiving yards in the first half), the Bucs’ 13-game losing streak should fall soon.
Central RB Robbie Bradley: He exceeded his rushing output from all of last season by running for 205 yards and a TD in the Bears’ 32-23 loss to Hudson. He also kicked two extra-points and a field goal.