Saturday, February 17, 2018
Sports

North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

Offensive MVP

David Emmanuel, Pasco: The senior running back rushed for 135 yards to spark the Pirates' offense early. He ran for two scores, broke up two passes and had two tackles for a loss, too.

Defensive MVP

Morgan Flournory, Pasco: Flournory was an impressive sidekick to Joey Ivie. He tallied four sacks on a dominant defensive line that stuffed Citra North Marion.

In case you missed it

•Anclote QB John Forgione's 179 passing yards were his second-best output this year and moved him past 1,000 for the season. He finished his senior year with 1,085 yards.

•Anclote LB Dimitri Grivas had two sacks in a 37-0 loss to Gainesville Eastside.

•Hernando ATH Tyrail Hawkins ripped off a 72-yard run against Gainesville. That was his second-longest carry of the season.

•Springstead LB Luke McLeod ended his career with a five-tackle, one-sack night, pushing his season total to 138 tackles.

•Pasco K Brandon Ray didn't boot another winner against North Marion. But he did have field goals of 39 and 40 yards, and he boomed a 50-plus-yard punt in the first quarter. The Colts muffed it, setting up Pasco's first scoring drive.

•Springstead RB Daniel Wright scored his team's only touchdown on a 3-yard run. It was the sophomore's 10th TD of the season.

•Hernando's 60-3 loss to Gainesville was the second-largest playoff defeat in North Suncoast history. Central lost 60-0 to Alachua Santa Fe in 1995.

Stat of the day

Ben Alford's announcement late Friday that he plans to resign as Wesley Chapel coach was lost in the playoff shuffle.

Consider this sign of coaching turnover in the North Suncoast: Alford took at Wesley Chapel before the 2010 season. Of the 19 North Suncoast football coaches, only eight are at the same program now as they were when Alford started with the Wildcats. That includes Weeki Wachee and Fivay, who weren't even playing varsity football three years ago.

Final thoughts

Hernando: The Leopards' final record took a step back this year at 6-5, even though the final result was the same: a trip to the playoffs and a first-round loss to Gainesville. Hernando weathered a late coaching change and an 0-3 start to make the playoffs in a district filled with parity. Although the Leopards will lose Tyrail Hawkins, standout pass rushers Darren Hambrick and Robert Hill Bronson and a strong senior class, they will have plenty returning. LB/RB Jeremiah Jackson already has an offer from Purdue, and QB Ra'shaad Hart improved this fall. A fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs is a realistic goal next year.

Springstead: The Eagles were one of Tampa Bay's biggest surprises. Few predicted Springstead would fare much better than last year's 4-6 finish (including one win via forfeit), let alone make it back to the playoffs and win the district championship. Coach Bill Vonada has quietly built a solid program that could be the best in Hernando County. He molded this year's team in his image and should be the favorite for coach of the year honors.

Anclote: The Sharks are the third young school in the last two years to make it to the playoffs, after Sunlake and Fivay. But the Falcons and Seahawks failed to make it back to the postseason this fall, proving that getting to the playoffs is hard, but sustained success is even harder. Coach Matt Wicks has a few reasons to be optimistic about next fall. RB Willie Barrett will be back after rushing for more than 1,400 yards as a junior. So will twins Tymere and Shymere Carter, who have sky-high potential after breakout junior seasons.

Looking ahead: Gainesville Eastside (6-5) at Pasco (11-0)

Pasco has a dynamic backfield with Janarion Grant, left, and David Emmanuel. But Anclote had a strong ground game, too, before rushing for minus-19 yards against Eastside in the Class 5A region quarterfinals. The Rams' fast front seven dominated the Sharks, and Anclote never recovered. Pasco's playmakers have speed, and it's hard to contain them both, as North Marion learned. But Eastside will be one of the toughest tests of the season for the Pirates offense.

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