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North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

What we learned

1. It's time to give Mitchell credit: The Mustangs are 3-0 and the offense is running well. Mitchell scored 33 in a shutout of Ridgewood and boasts one of the area's top rushing games. The fact that the offense shined despite a rough night by QB Spencer Whittaker (1-for-7 passing) is a good sign for coach Scott Schmitz's team. Can they keep it going against River Ridge?

2. Pasco's defense is underrated: It's easy to see why; the attention goes to the high-powered offense. But the defense shut out Wiregrass Ranch, held Land O'Lakes to six points in Week 2 and was strong against Calvary Christian before backups gave up a few touchdowns late. If the Pirates want to make a deep playoff run, they'll need these strong defensive performances to continue.

3. Matt Breida needs more touches: Nature Coast's running back/defensive back played both ways for the third time in three games and went over 100 yards of total offense again (158 rushing, 37 receiving). He also scored for the third consecutive week (two touchdowns). But his 18 touches included six on the final drive, and he was obviously worn down by this point. Coach Charles Liggett said he would have to re-evaluate how Breida is used on defense because of his offensive value.

4. Hernando's defense struggles against the pass: For the second consecutive week, a team that can throw tore apart Hernando's defense. Last week, South Lake spread out the Leopards defense and threw for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-13 win. Friday, the same defense faced a more balanced offense that could also pass, and South Sumter racked up a 55-28 win. The Leopards secondary will be challenged this week by QB Ryan Bird and Land O'Lakes.

5. District play can't come soon enough: Much of the North Suncoast had Friday night off to get ready for district games. Most of the other games featured lopsided outcomes. This week has a much more promising slate of games. Mitchell-River Ridge, Hernando-Land O'Lakes, Zephyrhills-Wesley Chapel and Fivay-Anclote are all pivotal matchups that could be close contests. Things will really get interesting this week.

Game balls

Quadavis Battle, WR/S, Central: The 6-foot-3 junior provided one of the biggest highlights of the season for a struggling Bears team. He returned the opening kick 94 yards for a touchdown against Lecanto in a 35-6 loss.

Matt Breida, RB, Nature Coast: Even playing both ways and as many snaps as he could, Breida carried 17 times for 158 yards and touchdown and also caught a 37-yard touchdown pass.

Max Gebler, LB, Mitchell: The freshman made a big-time play early in his high school career, recording a sack for a safety in a 33-0 win against Ridgewood.

Jacob Guy, QB, Pasco: The senior star was 10-for-15 passing for 205 yards and five touchdowns in a blowout win over Wiregrass Ranch. Not bad for a half of work.

Mordell Holley, FB, Mitchell: The senior standout rushed for three touchdowns and 114 yards in the win over Ridgewood. He's becoming a key part of the ground game alongside Freddie Jones and Dan Barber.

Looking ahead

Hernando (1-2) at Land O'Lakes (1-1): Two top contenders in Class 6A, District 6 open district play against each other. The winner will likely emerge as the favorite to take a district championship. The loser faces an uphill climb to earn a trip to the playoffs.

Correspondents Steve Lee and Derek J. LaRiviere contributed to this report.

Quotable

"Our nondistrict schedule is as tough as anybody's. We've definitely been tested, that's for sure." — Tom Bronson, Hernando assistant, after the Leopards' 55-28 loss at South Sumter

"I'm thinking about Gulf." — Tom McHugh, Pasco coach, who didn't revel long in his team's record-setting 22nd consecutive regular-season win, 53-0 over Wiregrass Ranch

Pirate record

Pasco's 53-0 win over Wiregrass Ranch was the Pirates' 22nd consecutive regular-season win, setting a school record for most victories in a row.

The 1992 state title team was part of a 21-game winning streak, which ended in Week 2 of 1993 with a loss to Jesuit.

Pasco's longest streak without a loss dates to 1945-47: 28 games in a row, including one tie.

"Anytime you win all the time, it means something," Pasco assistant Jim Ward said.

North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback 09/17/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:51pm]

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