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North Suncoast football picks

Friday's matchups

All games at 7:30 unless noted

Land O'Lakes (6-0, 4-0) at Pasco (5-1, 4-0): The Gators are one of the bay area's highest scoring offense with 253 points. That number could be higher if coach Matt Kitchie decided to keep the pedal to the metal. But in blowouts, he has pulled key players. Since its 32-0 loss at South Sumter, the Pirates have allowed just 19 points.

Izzy Gould: Pasco, 28-27. Pirates' undefeated against Gators in Tom McHugh era.

Keith Niebuhr: Pasco, 21-20. The Pirates' ability to score in all phases of the game is the difference.

Mitchell (7-0, 4-0) at Sunlake (3-3, 3-1): If you are hypnotized by Mitchell's undefeated start, tonight's game appears to be another warmup for two huge games looming to end the regular season. The Seahawks are quietly lying low ready to upend one or more of the Big Three — Pasco, Land O'Lakes and Mitchell.

They'll have to find a way to stop the Mustangs' running duo of Ricky Trinidad and Matt Michaels.

Izzy: Mitchell, 33-9. If the Mustangs hope to win a district title, they have to win tonight.

Keith: Mitchell, 28-7. The Mustangs keep perfect season alive with bigger showdowns looming.

Anclote (0-6, 0-4) at Gulf (3-4, 0-4): Might a youthful Anclote team be just what the doctor ordered for reeling Gulf? RB Kris Aratchiysky has emerged as a nice offensive threat for the Sharks, but they've scored just 45 points this season and allowed 278 (albeit against a tough schedule). For Gulf to get back on track, someone other than QB Madison Burr and WR David Ramirez will have to step up on offense.

Izzy: Gulf, 28-0. After four straight losses, Gulf finally wins one.

Keith: Gulf 28-7. Bucs lack depth, but have too many weapons for Anclote.

Ridgewood (2-5, 0-2) at Hudson (3-3, 1-0): For Hudson, this fits the definition of a trap game. Next week, the Cobras get Tarpon Springs. If their focus is on the Spongers and not the Rams, they could certainly lose. After a terrible start, Ridgewood has won two of three. RB Cameron Rodriguez is on the verge of a 1,000-yard season, but can the Rams' defense stop Hudson's vaunted passing game?

Izzy: Hudson, 24-19. Back on track for Cobras and Zack Wynn.

Keith: Hudson, 28-20. Rams are improved, but Cobras prevail.

Nature Coast (4-2, 2-2) at Citrus (2-5, 0-4): The Sharks still have a playoff pulse, but something inside the Nature Coast locker room needs to change, and quick. Quarterback C.J. Baker has thrown for more than 100 yards and a touchdown in three of his past four games. Running back Tevin Drake had his second-lowest rushing total last week with 138 yards despite getting his most carries of the season (23). He also scored twice.

Izzy: Nature Coast, 40-7. The Sharks take out some frustration on Citrus with eyes peering toward Hernando in two weeks.

Keith: Nature Coast, 35-0. The Sharks won't be happy after last week's loss, which means Citrus is in for a big squeeze.

Springstead (3-4, 1-1) at Ocala West Port (2-5, 1-1): This is a significant game for both schools, each still in the hunt for a playoff berth. Springstead is coming off a 22-6 win over River Ridge in the midst of a three-game road trip. The Eagles have relied on Brian Beeker to guide them at quarterback. He is second in rushing with 349 yards and seven touchdowns. The Wolf Pack had a two-game win streak snapped last week in a 37-17 loss to Belleview.

Izzy: Springstead, 21-10. The Eagles are beginning to take shape and should be tough in 2010.

Keith: Springstead, 20-17. The Eagles can keep their playoff hopes alive with a win.

Zephyrhills (0-6, 0-4) at Wesley Chapel (2-5, 1-3): These teams have struggled all season. Neither team has faced an opponent with a losing record until tonight. The Wildcats may have overcome the loss of several transfers in terms of morale, but it has not equated to victories. Zephyrhills has not scored more than seven points in a game and has been shut out twice, including last week's 7-0 loss to Sunlake.

Izzy: Wesley Chapel, 21-7. Wildcats keep hopes of finishing .500 alive.

Keith: Wesley Chapel, 14-7. Looks for 'Cats RB Jon Mahan to have a big night.

Wiregrass Ranch (4-2, 1-0) at Tarpon Springs (5-2, 2-0): Winner arguably becomes the 4A-6 favorite. Loser will have some work to do to reach the playoffs. Wiregrass has won two of three with the lone defeat coming last week to always-tough Melbourne Palm Bay. To win tonight, the Bulls will have to generate some offense, which has been an issue (they're averaging fewer than 20 points per game). Wiregrass must contain a dangerous Spongers' rushing attack led by Adrian Golden (922 yards) and Darius Daniels (562 yards).

Izzy: Tarpon Springs, 17-13. If it were home, Bulls might win this one.

Keith: Tarpon Springs, 20-10. Underrated Spongers D holds key to this game.

Winter Garden Foundation Academy (4-2) at Hernando Christian (0-7), 7: HCA continued to struggle last week with a 56-12 loss to Ocala St. John Lutheran. Foundation Academy is coming off a 25-8 win over Seven Rivers Christian. Those Lions have four running backs with more than 100 yards rushing, including Kenny Strong with a team-leading 768 yards and nine touchdowns.

Izzy: FA, 14-6. Sorry, HCA, it does get any easier this week.

Keith: HCA 7-6. At some point this team has to win. Doesn't it?

Shorecrest Prep (1-5) at Bishop McLaughlin (1-5), 7: The Hurricanes are coming off a 21-7 loss to Canterbury, one week after a huge win against HCA. BM is led by quarterback Mitch Ritter, who has rushed for 385 yards and four touchdowns.

Izzy: BM, 28-9. The Hurricanes win and win big.

Keith: Shorecrest 14-13. Shorecrest has played the better schedule, and that should make a difference.

Gainesville (6-1, 2-0) at Central (0-6, 0-2): Central's offense has struggled with back-to-back shutout losses, including last week's 35-0 loss at Ridgewood. Central linebacker Zack Rice has a team-leading 58 tackles this season. Unfortunately for the Bears, the Hurricanes are having another great season, led by Miami commitment Kevin Nelson.

Izzy: Gainesville, 42-7. Hurricanes blow through Brooksville with another victory.

Keith: Gainesville, 35-10. Purple Hurricanes have the athleticism of an Armwood or Plant. No joke.

Hernando (4-2, 3-1) at Eustis (1-6, 1-3): The Leopards need to win their next three games to secure a playoff berth. And with games against Eustis and Citrus, Hernando would seem with in stepping stones of achieving that goal. Of course, Nature Coast will have something to say about it all when the teams meet Nov. 6.

Izzy: Hernando, 31-7. The biggest game for Hernando in years comes Nov. 6.

Keith: Hernando, 28-10. Leopards keep rolling with comfortable win.

North Suncoast football picks 10/22/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 2:35pm]
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