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North Suncoast: Sunday Morning Quarterback

5 things we learned:

Sunlake is no longer a little brother: Or as Seahawks coach Bill Browning put it, "There's a new sheriff in town." Their 21-10 win over Land O'Lakes likely snapped the Gators' 14-year postseason streak — and might have sealed the Seahawks' first trip to the playoffs. Land O'Lakes' only touchdown came off of a Sunlake turnover, and the Seahawks outmuscled and outplayed one of the county's top teams for four quarters. This rivalry is just beginning.

Don't rule out River Ridge: A 45-0 win over Central was what the Royal Knights needed. In its best season since 1999, River Ridge kept playoff hopes alive. If Ryan Benjamin's team could somehow knock off Sunlake and Land O'Lakes in back-to-back weeks, the Royal Knights would be postseason-bound.

Fivay isn't ready for primetime just yet…: The Falcons were outmatched by undefeated Pasco in the biggest game in Fivay history. The offense struggled, and the defense couldn't stop the Pirate playmakers in a 59-6 loss. Fivay isn't a district title contender, but it can still prove it's one of the county's top teams — if it beats Zephyrhills in this week's must-win game.

…But Zephyrhills might be: The Bulldogs have done what they've needed to do, blocking out controversy to stay perfect in 5A-6 and surpass their win total for the past two years combined. Zephyrhills has scored at least 36 points in every district game, including Friday's 49 in a shutout win over Ridgewood. The next two weeks, games against Fivay and Pasco loom with a playoff spot on the line.

Pasco is a scoring machine: Not even a barrage of penalties could slow down the Pirates. Three 15-yard flags set up first and goal from their 47 — but Jacob Guy led the Pirates back into Fivay territory to set up a field goal. Janarion Grant turned a short punt into a scoring chance, returning it 47 yards for a score. Six of Pasco's eight touchdowns covered at least 27 yards, and Nick Wilson led a defense that proved it might be the best in the county.

Game balls

QB RJ Perciavalle, Bishop McLaughlin: The sophomore was 19-for-24 with 320 yards and three touchdowns — two to receiver Evan Barhonovich — to help the Hurricanes earn their second win in a row.

RB Matt Breida, Nature Coast: The junior speedster rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in a must-win victory over Mitchell.

LB/P Richard Hart, Nature Coast: The tackling machine booted a late punt to pin Mitchell inside its 5, then forced the Mustangs to hold him in the end zone for a safety that provided cushion in a 16-13 win.

WR/DB Eddie Burgos, Sunlake: His 27-yard touchdown catch was one of the best plays of the Seahawks' season, but his interception in the third quarter was as important in a 21-10 win over Land O'Lakes.

QB Jamal Roberts, Zephyrhills: One of the county's leading rushers ran for three TDs and passed for another in a blowout Bulldogs victory.

Hernando offensive line: The front, including T Derek Moore, C Austin Neff, G Connor Foradas, T Jake Johnson, and G True Griffin, manhandled Springstead. No carrier had more than seven rushes, but the team accounted for 480 yards and four TDs on the ground.

River Ridge defense: The Royal Knights held Central to minus-13 yards on 18 first-half plays in a 45-0 win that keeps River Ridge's playoff hopes alive.

ATH Alonzo Pettiford, Anclote: The senior caught six passes for 223 yards and two 80-yard touchdowns against Gulf as the Sharks got win No. 2 this season.

QB Jacob Guy/ATH Trey Dudley-Giles, Pasco: Guy threw for 285 yards and four touchdowns in a 59-6 win over Fivay. Dudley-Giles racked up 166 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. He also had a punt return for a TD called back because of a penalty.

QB Ty Tanner, Wesley Chapel: The freshman signal-caller rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two more in a 34-7 win over Hudson.

Looking ahead:

Zephyrhills (5-2, 5-0) at Fivay (5-2, 4-1): The second playoff spot in Class 5A, District 6 is on the line. If Zephyr­hills wins, the Bulldogs will battle with rival Pasco the next week for the district title. A Fivay victory would likely push the Falcons into the playoffs in their first year of all-varsity football.

Nature Coast (4-4, 3-2) at Hernando (6-2, 5-0): Hernando County's biggest game is even bigger this year. The Leopards can seal a district title with a win over their rival. Matt Breida and the Sharks need a win and some help to make it to the playoffs.

Compiled by Times staff writer Matt Baker and Times correspondent Derek J. LaRiviere.

North Suncoast: Sunday Morning Quarterback 10/22/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 22, 2011 7:45pm]
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