North Suncoast Super 7
1. Pasco (7-0, 5-0): Is there any question, after Janarion Grant led the Pirates to 47 consecutive points in a 54-20 win over Fivay?
2. Springstead (8-0, 5-0): The Eagles are off to their best start in school history with a victory over Hernando. The defense continues to get the job done.
3. Hernando (4-4, 4-1): The Leopards couldn't get past Springstead's defense in their first district loss. They will have to get over that quickly if they want to get back to the playoffs.
4. Fivay (5-2, 4-1): The Falcons probably don't want moral victories, but Fivay gave Pasco its toughest test of the season and fared better than last year's 59-6 defeat.
5. Sunlake (5-2, 3-2): The Seahawks didn't dominate, but they weathered a storm on an emotional night for Land O'Lakes.
6. Nature Coast (5-3, 4-1): Matt Breida's monster night obscured a highlight-reel run by Dominique Rawlings and the defense got its second shutout of the year.
7. Mitchell (6-2, 3-2): The Mustangs have surpassed last year's win total. With games remaining against Hernando and Springstead, Mitchell has a chance to close the year with momentum.
Willie Barrett, Anclote: The junior Division-I prospect rushed for 331 yards on 16 carries and finished with six touchdowns in a 49-10 win over Gulf.
Matt Breida, Nature Coast: In a must-win Class 6A, District 6 game the senior running back gained 185 yards on 21 carries, scoring three touchdowns and two two-point conversions in a 32-0 win over Mitchell.
Defense/special teams MVPs
Springstead defense: The Eagles held Hernando to one touchdown and forced five turnovers, including an interception return for a score by Pedro Estrada. The Eagles had at least four players record sacks and totaled seven other tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Zack Gleaton, Zephyrhills: The sophomore kicker booted a 35-yard field goal just before the clock ran out in a 37-35 victory over Ridgewood.
"I'm happy with the performance. We came out strong after struggling for a while. I think the tough losses have brought us together. And winning on homecoming night makes it even better." — Josh Maisel, River Ridge QB, on his team's first district win, a 61-6 victory over Central
Class 6A, District 6: Springstead's 28-7 win over Hernando means the Eagles can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Mitchell this week. A win over Nature Coast in the regular-season finale would secure the district title. The winner of this week's Nature Coast-Hernando game becomes the favorite for the other playoff berth, and the Sharks can take the district crown with wins over the Leopards and Eagles.
Class 5A, District 6: Pasco remains unbeaten and the favorite to win the title, which it can clinch with a victory over Ridgewood and a Zephyrhills loss to Fivay. The Falcons control their destiny for a second consecutive playoff bid, but Zephyrhills can force a three-way tie with Fivay and Anclote if it knocks off the Falcons this week.
Three thoughts on next week
1. Hudson will keep improving. Even without injured QB Joey Caruso, the Cobras knocked off Wesley Chapel. Now Hudson turns its focus to Gulf and its third win of the year, an enormous feat for a program that suffered back-to-back winless seasons.
2. Zephyrhills will bounce back. The Bulldogs have had two consecutive lackluster performances, falling to Anclote and nearly losing to Ridgewood. But with a huge rematch coming up against Fivay, Willie Williams (200 yards last outing) and the Bulldogs will be ready to play.
3. Expect a battle in Hernando County. Hernando blew out Nature Coast last season, but don't expect a similar result this time. The Sharks have shrugged off a sluggish start and are clicking on both sides of the ball, while Hernando has slugged its way to close wins but must come back from its fourth loss. The winner will likely earn the runnerup spot in Class 6A, District 6.
In case you missed it
Because Pasco got a boost with the return of the North Suncoast's top talent, Janarion Grant, it's easy to overlook Fivay's strong performance in the 54-20 loss.
The Falcons racked up 360 yards on Pasco, the most the Pirates have given up all season and more than they had allowed in the four previous games combined (347).
Tyler Degen's first-quarter touchdown pass to Andrew Meyer was the first score Pasco's first-team offense had allowed all season. Degen's TD pass to Kevin Faulkner moments later gave the Pirates their first deficit of the year. Pasco hadn't trailed in the regular season since the first quarter of last October's 57-12 romp over Wesley Chapel.
RB Davion Sutton finished with 83 yards to push him past the 1,000-yard mark for his junior season.