Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Sports

North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

Three things we learned

1. Nature Coast is tough. The Sharks gave up 21 consecutive points to lose to Crystal River by a score in the opener. They struggled in Week 2 in a 46-7 loss to Fleming Island. Give Nature Coast credit for battling back to knock off Dunnellon. That should make for a happier week of preparations heading into district play.

2. Pasco has a quarterback. It was fair to wonder how Jajuan Henry would fare after preseason jitters against Hernando. But in two regular-season games, Henry has performed well. After rushing for 90 yards and a score in Week 1, he passed for two scores and ran for another in a blowout win over Wiregrass Ranch.

3. Daniel Wright could be the North Suncoast's MVP. So far, at least. The bruising Springstead running back had 88 yards and two scores, including the go-ahead touchdown, in a win over Anclote. He has rushed for two TDs in every game so far, but he faces a tough test against Sunlake.

North Suncoast Super 7

1. Pasco (2-0): The Pirates have shut out four of their last six North Suncoast opponents. They gave up a combined 13 points in the other two games.

2. Springstead (3-0): Forget the defense. How about the offense (114 points in three games)?

3. Mitchell (3-0): The nondistrict numbers are meaningless, but check out these stats through three games. Mitchell: 119 points scored, 16 points allowed. Armwood: 113 points scored, 36 points allowed.

4. Sunlake (2-0): The Seahawks have had a week to put a rough win over Wiregrass Ranch behind them. Maybe they did the same with their fumbling woes.

5. Hernando (0-3): Hard to believe, but this week's matchup with Land O'Lakes might be the Leopards' easiest challenge so far.

6. Land O'Lakes (1-1): The Gators will try to avenge last season's 28-7 loss to Hernando. A victory would be one of the biggest in coach Brian Wachtel's tenure.

7. Nature Coast (1-2): Another game, another 100-plus yards for RB Matt Breida, who had 140 and a score in a victory.

In case you missed it

•Central QB Cole Teater had both Bears touchdown runs in a 26-13 loss to Lecanto. The defeat was another sign of progress. The Bears lost 35-6 to Lecanto last year.

•Pasco's defense recovered six fumbles and allowed only two first downs against Wiregrass Ranch.

•Anclote WR Tymere Carter equaled his career total with two touchdown catches against Springstead in the first multicatch game of his career. Both TDs came from QB John Forgione. It was the second time in Forgione's last four games that he threw for two scores.

MVPs

Christian Trinidad, Mitchell: The junior running back had four rushing touchdowns and a 95-yard kickoff return TD in a 48-6 win over Ridgewood.

Austin Meyers, Bishop McLaughlin: The do-it-all senior rushed for more than 150 yards and four touchdowns in the Hurricanes' comeback. Bishop rallied from a 20-0 hole for a 38-20 victory, its first of the year.

Five thoughts heading into Week 4

1. Mitchell looks like a playoff contender so far. Yet it needs a win over rival River Ridge to prove that it is ready to vie for one of the top two spots in Class 6A, District 6.

2. Of the North Suncoast's six winless teams, Ridgewood has the best shot at a first W. Coach Jay Fulmers' Rams face Hudson, which is also looking for its first victory of the year.

3. Don't be surprised if Anclote hangs with or upsets Fivay. The Sharks battled Springstead this past week. That's the same Springstead team that forced four turnovers in a 38-0 win over the Falcons the week before.

4. It's hard to call a district opener a must-win game, but Hernando's showdown with Land O'Lakes is pivotal for Tyrail Hawkins and the Leopards. It's hard to imagine a team losing its first four games and making the playoffs.

5. Remember this: What has happened so far is only a tune-up for the next two months. Mitchell looks like a favorite in Class 6A, District 6 after a 3-0 start, but it was 3-0 last year before losing five of its last seven games on the field. Hernando and Zephyrhills are winless, but both should battle for playoff spots. Springstead's perfect start would mean a lot less if it loses to Sunlake this week.

The last word

Bishop McLaughlin's first win wasn't as convincing as its initial victory last year, a 56-18 road win at Ocala Vanguard. But it was more impressive because of the circumstances. The Hurricanes rallied from a 20-0 deficit to beat Kissimmee Life Academy 38-20. They found a star rusher in Austin Meyers, and they proved they could overcome adversity. Friday's win was a key milestone for coach Derrick Alexander's young program, and the confidence his team gained will help it as the games become more important.

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