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Pinellas: Sunday Morning Quarterback

Crow takes off for Cougars Countryside quarterback Gray Crow, right, takes a hit from Boca Ciega linebacker Antoine Benjamin but the Cougars prevail 35-17 as he throws for 236 yards.


Crow takes off for Cougars Countryside quarterback Gray Crow, right, takes a hit from Boca Ciega linebacker Antoine Benjamin but the Cougars prevail 35-17 as he throws for 236 yards.

This season was supposed to be about five teams — Admiral Farragut, Countryside, East Lake, Lakewood and Largo — that had a legitimate chance to make a deep a run in the playoffs. But if we learned anything from the results of the opening week, it is to expect the unexpected. The Packers started with a 21-13 loss to Bradenton Southeast. The Eagles were taken to overtime before pulling out a 23-20 win against Clearwater Central Catholic. The Spartans received a huge scare against Seminole, 28-21. The only teams that cruised were the Cougars (35-17) and the Blue Jackets (42-13). A recap of Week 1:

Super seven

1. Countryside (1-0)

QB Gray Crow shows off his big-strike capability in a convincing win over Boca Ciega.

2. East Lake (1-0)

After sweating it out 23-20 against CCC, the Eagles have to figure out how to sustain drives if they want to beat Countryside this week.

3. Largo (0-1)

Sure, the Packers lost, but they played tough against Bradenton Southeast, ranked No. 5 in 5A.

4. Lakewood (1-0)

What was supposed to be the biggest mismatch of the week turned out to be anything but as the Spartans had to rally with two fourth-quarter scores to beat Seminole.

5. Gibbs (1-0)

New coach Antonio Knox made his debut with win over St. Petersburg, which was riding a 14-game regular-season win streak that dated to 2009.

6. Tarpon Springs (1-0)

Much-needed 37-14 win for the beleaguered Spongers, who get huge production in the passing game against Dunedin.

7. Clearwater Central Cath. (0-1)

Though they lost, the Marauders gained a measure of respect by taking East Lake to overtime and having a chance to win.

Knocking on the door: Admiral Farragut (1-0), Palm Harbor University (1-0), Pinellas Park (1-0)

Coaching debuts

There were six coaches who made their debut at new schools this week. They fared quite well, going 4-2.

Steve Dudley, St. Petersburg Catholic: Playing on the road, the Barons struggle in a 35-21 loss to Sarasota Out-of-Door.

Mike Jalazo, Northeast: After not winning on the field last year as coach at Leto, Jalazo gets off to a better start with his new team as the Vikings withstand a rally to beat Dixie Hollins 24-23.

Bill Jones, Canterbury: The Crusaders play an overmatched opponent as RB Brent O'Neal runs wild in 51-22 victory over Temple Christian.

Antonio Knox, Gibbs: Had the biggest eye-opener with 12-5 win against neighboring rival St. Petersburg.

Matt Lepain, Palm Harbor University: Counting preseason games, Lepain still is undefeated as his Hurricanes roll in 26-14 victory over Clearwater.

Max Smith, Dunedin: Could be a long season for Smith, whose Falcons lost 37-14 to Tarpon Springs.

Performers of the week

RB Tramaine Batten, Dunedin: Batten averaged over 12 yards a carry in the Falcons' 37-14 loss to Tarpon Springs. The junior had 158 yards on 13 rushes and added three catches for 42 yards and a touchdown.

WR Vinny Capabianca, IRC: He got the Golden Eagles off to a fast start with kickoff return for a score, as well as two touchdown receptions, in 54-0 win against Zion Lutheran Christian.

QB Gray Crow, Countryside: Crow eclipsed the 200-yard passing mark, completing 10 of 20 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. The Miami commitment had scoring tosses of 69 and 55 yards in a 35-17 win over Boca Ciega.

QB Tracy Johnson, Lakewood: Johnson engineered the Spartans' 28-21 comeback effort against an upstart Seminole squad. The junior connected on three touchdown passes, threw for 212 yards and added a 5-yard TD run.

WR Kenyatta Merriex, Tarpon Springs: Merriex had perhaps his best night as a Sponger, catching nine passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-14 win over Dunedin.

RB Brent O'Neal, Canterbury: O'Neal touched the ball only 11 times but gained 170 yards and scored five touchdowns in the Crusaders' 51-22 victory over Temple Christian.

QB Billy Pavlock, Palm Harbor University: The senior accounted for three touchdowns in a 26-14 win over Clearwater. Pavlock was 6-for-11 with two touchdowns throwing and added a 20-yard run for a score.

RB Emmanuel Stewart, Gibbs: The junior had 150 yards rushing, including an 80-yard run for a touchdown in a 12-5 win over St. Petersburg.

RB Jarvis Stewart, Largo: The sophomore overcame a knee injury to rush for 165 yards and a touchdown in a 21-13 loss to Bradenton Southeast.

QB Robert Yarbrough, Clearwater: Yarbrough had 235 yards of total offense in the Tornadoes' 26-14 loss to PHU. He scored both of Clearwater's touchdowns – one rushing, one passing – and had 69 yards on the ground.

FB Ryan Yates, Countryside: Yates was instrumental in Countryside's 35-17 win over Boca Ciega. The junior had a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, caught a 55-yard touchdown pass in the third, then shook off multiple would-be tacklers on a 36-yard, fourth-down TD run in the fourth to seal it.

Offensive player of the week

QB Louis Pappas, Tarpon Springs: The senior was 14-for-20 passing and tossed three touchdowns in the Spongers' 23-point victory over Dunedin. Pappas threw a 47-yard scoring strike to Kenyatta Merriex in the second quarter to give the Spongers a 24-7 lead going into halftime. Pappas hooked up with Merriex again in the fourth quarter, this time for a 43-yard TD, and then he added a 21-yard TD pass to Dondre Daley. Pappas had 291 yards total through the air. On the ground, he gained 46 yards and scored from 4 yards out in the first quarter.

Defensive player of the week

LB Derek Sanson, Keswick Christian: The Crusaders only gave up one score defensively in a 17-14 victory over Landmark Christian, and Sanson, the son of coach Rick Sanson, highlighted their effort on that side of the ball. Sanson, a senior, recovered two fumbles and forced another to keep the Crusaders in front of Landmark the entire game. And when Landmark pulled to within three points on a returned fumble recovery for a touchdown and had a chance to win with one final drive, Sanson and the rest of his defensive mates prevented the Patriots from gaining even one first down to hold on.

Pinellas: Sunday Morning Quarterback 09/03/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 3, 2011 10:21pm]
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