Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sports

North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

North Suncoast Super 7

1. Springstead (5-1): The Eagles recovered two fumbles in a 34-0 win over Fivay. Expect low-scoring games for the next few matchups, at least until the Nov. 1 game against Land O'Lakes.

2. Land O'Lakes (5-0): The game against city rival Sunlake is two weeks away, so the Gators will have a chance to show off their strong defense against Hudson first.

3. Sunlake (5-1): The Seahawks will emerge from a bye week to face Wesley Chapel before the hyped Land O'Lakes game. Sunlake's defense could topple the high-scoring Gators.

4. Zephyrhills (4-1): Returning from a bye week, the Bulldogs' matchup against Nature Coast will continue this year's unpredictable narrative in District 5A-6.

5. Hernando (2-3): A 20-13 win against Nature Coast may have inspired the Leopards. Quarterback Tyler Kline threw for 88 yards and rushed for a touchdown.

6. Nature Coast (2-3): With leading rusher DeShawn Smith sidelined by a knee injury, the Sharks struggled to gain yards in a 20-13 loss. His health could alter Nature Coast's ability to mount a challenge against Zephyrhills.

7. Pasco (2-3): The Pirates' 38-14 loss to South Sumter drops them below .500 for the first time since October 2007 in a season no one expected.

Blind side

Three things we didn't see coming:

1. Class 5A District 6. Pasco, the defending district champion, has struggled for the first time in coach Tom McHugh's tenure. And Hernando, Zephyrhills and Nature Coast have surprised with unexpected wins. We have no idea who will make the playoffs.

2. We expected a Nature Coast win over low-scoring Hernando, and we were wrong. Tyler Kline's 32-yard pass to Tyquon Carr in the third quarter padded the Leopards' lead, so a fourth-quarter score by the Sharks wasn't enough.

3. Springstead's shutout of Fivay. The high-scoring Falcons have a balanced offense, with one of the county's best passers (Eric Vitale) and rushers (Davion Sutton). But the Eagles limited Fivay to only 142 yards of total offense.

By the numbers

2 District shutouts in a row for Anclote after the Sharks blanked River Ridge 13-0 to move atop Class 5A, District 7

21 Points Fivay's high-powered offense has scored (total) in three matchups against Springstead

40 Games in a row in which Hudson had failed to score 43 before Friday's 43-7 win over Gulf. The Cobras last scored that many in October 2009 in a win over River Ridge

2,172 Days since Pasco (2-3) last had a losing record. The Pirates started the 2007 season 2-4 but rallied to finish 6-5 and make the playoffs

Performances worth another mention

Wiregrass Ranch QB Shane Bucenell: He rushed for a touchdown and threw for another to help the Bulls take an early lead on Gaither before fading in a 34-14 loss.

Pasco ATH Malik Johns: The senior Division-I recruit rushed for 105 yards and a score, had 29 receiving yards and filled in at quarterback in a loss to South Sumter.

Hernando QB Tyler Kline: The 5-foot-11 junior ran for a touchdown and threw for another in a rivalry win over Nature Coast.

Hudson ATH Zack Russell: The Fivay transfer rushed for a touchdown and returned an interception 85 yards for a score in a win over Gulf.

Audible

"It's just one day, one week and one team at a time." — Trent Crawford, Anclote RB, on looking ahead to postseason play

Injury update

Pasco WR Nate Craig was on crutches Saturday after leaving Friday's loss to South Sumter with a right leg injury. Craig said in a text message that doctors don't want him to put pressure on his leg, but further information won't be available until he visits a specialist Monday. Craig is one of Florida's top prospects for the class of 2016 and holds scholarship offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami and Ohio State, among others.

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