Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Sports

North Suncoast: Sunday morning quarterback

RECOMMENDED READING


North Suncoast Super 7

1. Pasco (3-0): Through three games last season, the Pirates outscored opponents 146-33. Through three games this fall, Pasco has won its games by a total of 173-7.

2. Mitchell (4-0): Forget the run game. Behind QB Trey Drury, Mitchell threw four passes Friday, and the Mustangs scored on three of them.

3. Springstead (4-0): Beating a Sunlake team that won a playoff game last fall is a statement-making victory for an Eagles team that looks ready to compete for a district title.

4. Hernando (1-3): Coach Dwayne Mobley earned his first regular-season win behind a great defense, but the offense will have to play better if the Leopards want a third consecutive playoff trip.

5. Fivay (2-1): The Falcons bounced back from a loss to Springstead with an offensive explosion against Anclote.

6. Nature Coast (2-2): Regardless of the opponent, a 33-point first quarter on a stormy night is impressive. A matchup against reeling River Ridge looms.

7. Zephyrhills (1-2): The Bulldogs showed big-play potential with five TDs of 15 yards or longer in a 42-19 win over Wesley Chapel.

Offensive MVPs

Matt Breida, Nature Coast: If only the Sharks running back could play Central every game. A year after setting a school record with 355 yards, he rushed for 257 and four touchdowns in the first half of a 47-0 win over the Bears.

Willie Williams, Zephyrhills: The running back rushed for a career-high 214 yards and two TDs in a win over Wesley Chapel.

Defense/special teams MVPs

Nate Binder, Hudson: His 22-yard field goal in overtime lifted the Cobras to a 27-24 victory over Ridgewood. He also booted a 27-yarder in the fourth quarter and hit the extra point to force overtime.

Robert Hill Bronson, Hernando: The senior pass rusher blocked one punt in the first quarter and another in the fourth. He returned the second block 33 yards for the winning touchdown — the first score of his career — in a 14-13 win over Land O'Lakes.

In case you missed it

• Pasco RB David Emmanuel averaged 33.5 yards a carry, finishing with 134 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over Gulf.

• Bishop McLaughlin blanked Merritt Island Christian 17-0 in the rain. It was the Hurricanes' first shutout win since a 66-0 blowout over Hernando Christian in October 2010.

• Land O'Lakes QB Ethan Weilant ended a Hernando drive in Gators territory with a third-quarter interception. He's at least the second North Suncoast quarterback to make an interception, after Hernando's Tyrail Hawkins.

Five things we learned in Week 4

1. Mitchell is a legitimate playoff contender. The Mustangs are 4-0 and have a 36.5-point average margin of victory. A 46-3 win over River Ridge, a sleeper playoff pick, in a rivalry game is impossible to discount.

2. The rest of Class 6A, District 6 is clearer, too. Hernando proved it can win close games with a 14-13 win over Land O'Lakes. If the Gators' defense plays as it did against Hernando, allowing only one TD, Land O'Lakes can compete, too. Springstead solidified itself as a contender by gutting out a 13-7 win over Sunlake, a playoff team from last year.

3. Fivay and Zephyrhills remain second and third in 5A-6. The Falcons found offensive triplets against Anclote with QB Tyler Degen (293 passing yards), RB Davion Sutton (196 rushing yards) and Andrew Meyer (231 receiving yards). The Bulldogs defense forced six turnovers against Wesley Chapel. Expect the runnerup spot to come down to these two.

4. Anclote is close. The Sharks hung with Springstead in Week 3 and made things interesting in a 41-31 loss to Fivay. Anclote has talented juniors, including Shymere Carter (two TD catches), and could become a playoff contender next season.

5. Pasco's special teams still shine. Despite the loss of ATH Trey Dudley-Giles to graduation, the Pirates are still dominant on special teams. Malik Johns has returned a punt for a score in each of Pasco's first three games, and freshman Nate Craig-Myers returned a kickoff for a TD against Gulf.

Injury updates

• Weeki Wachee QB David Tinch went to the hospital after a hit in a 38-15 loss to Umatilla. His father said in a text message that Tinch tore a muscle, and his playing status was unclear for next week.

• Gulf RB/LB Uly Velez is okay after a hit sent him to the hospital and ended the Buccaneers' loss to Pasco. Coach Tom Carter said Saturday that Velez was sore.

Four thoughts on Week 5

1. Mitchell should be favored to beat Sunlake. Who would have thought that would happen after the Seahawks won a playoff game last year and the Mustangs slumped to 2-5 in district play?

2. Tampa Bay's best under-the-radar game will be Gulf-Ridgewood. The Buccaneers have learned from tough competition, while the Rams are seeking revenge on behalf of coach Jay Fulmer, the former head man at Gulf. Don't be surprised if the Bucs pick up their first win.

3. Pasco shouldn't have any trouble against Anclote. The question is whether the Pirates can continue their streak of back-to-back shutouts.

4. Wiregrass Ranch has shown improvement. After losing to Pasco, Sunlake and Gaither by a combined 128-0 last year, the Bulls have fallen to those teams by 108-19 this season. Don't expect Wiregrass to beat TBT this week, but it should be closer than last year's 46-7 defeat.

The last word

Mark Kantor inherited one of the toughest coaching jobs in Tampa Bay when he took over at Hudson. He has already done something his predecessor couldn't: earn a win. Kantor's Cobras got revenge against Ridgewood after last year's fourth-quarter defeat with a comeback of their own. Hudson (1-2) rallied from 18 down to force overtime and kicked a 22-yard field goal to end a 24-game losing streak. The Cobras still have a long way to go before they're ready to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009, but they're getting closer.

Comments

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Updated: 1 hour ago

Giants are NFL’s most disappointing team this season, but Broncos are close

The New York Giants made the playoffs for the first time in four years last season under the guidance of coach Ben McAdoo, setting high expectations for the 2017 campaign. They pushed those expectations even higher with the addition in free agency of...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

TAMPA — For Cambridge Christian, last Friday’s Class 2A region final against Indian Rocks Christian represented a hurdle that the Lancers couldn’t quite clear a year ago. For one Lancer in particular, it was the Golden Eagles themselves that brought ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

TAMPA — Third and long, normally an ideal situation for an NFL defense, continues to be a problem as the Bucs try to get opposing offenses off the field.In the second half of Sunday’s game, the Dolphins converted six third downs when they needed 8 ya...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Browns welcome Gordon to practice

Browns welcome Gordon to practice

CLEVELAND — Every day he stays committed and sober, Josh Gordon takes another step toward playing again in the NFL. The long walk and wait are nearly over. The wide receiver, who squandered millions in potential earnings and derailed a promising care...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

TAMPA — The Bucs face the defending NFC champions twice in their final six games. As they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn is enjoying quite a two-week run.Clayborn, 29, had six sacks Nov. 12 in a ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

TAMPA — It’s the biggest football game in USF history.It’s two days and 90 miles away. USF at UCF. The 9-1 Bulls against the 10-0 Knights. It’s USF coach Charlie Strong against UCF/Florida/Nebraska coach Scott Frost. It’s the best these two programs ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Lane Kiffin knows speculation about his future grows with each victory

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin already knows what profession he will choose once his coaching career ends.Kiffin, in his first season at Florida Atlantic, thinks he is destined to join the sports-media ranks. It will provide him opportunity to switch roles...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Strong’s slip about UCF’s Griffin seen as motivation for Knights

Strong’s slip about UCF’s Griffin seen as motivation for Knights

TAMPA — While saying nothing to purposely fan the flames of the USF-UCF rivalry during his weekly news conference Tuesday, Bulls coach Charlie Strong provided fuel for the Knights’ best player.He used the H-word when discussing Knights senior outside...
Updated: 2 hours ago