In the spirit of the day, we've chosen to pay a gridiron-themed homage to a pair of Halloween staples — Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — by assessing the North Suncoast's most schizophrenic programs. How does a team like, say, Hudson, hold Pasco to 10 points for 47 minutes, 50 seconds, only to surrender 39 the following week to Mitchell? Is it a matter of maturity? Quality of opponents? Are there statistical revelations that can explain it all away? Time to go knocking door to door (or in this case, cell phone to cell phone) in search of the answers.
Jekyll: Appeared poised to upset Pasco before the Pirates scored on a touchdown pass with 10.9 seconds to play to eke out a 17-15 victory.
Hyde: A week after the Pasco defeat, surrendered 229 yards to Mitchell sophomore Ricky Trinidad in a 39-36 loss.
The cause: "If I had the answer it wouldn't happen. I honestly don't know," Cobras coach Mark Nash said. Among his theories: veteran offensive and defensive lines that, for whatever reason, haven't played up to expectations. "One game, one (offensive lineman) plays above themselves. The next game they struggle," Nash said. "We can't get the five of them to play their best on a given night. … A lot of that's on me. For some reason I haven't been able to find the button."
Which team shows up tonight: Jekyll, for sure. What the Cobras lack in playoff hopes, they make up for with pride. Look for a big win against Sunlake.
Wesley Chapel (3-5)
Jekyll: The Wildcats suffered close losses to Pasco (21-20) and Wharton (28-21), games they certainly could have won.
Hyde: Again, a 28-0 loss to Zephyrhills was inexplicable and a 45-27 loss to Land O'Lakes at home was dreadful.
The cause: Turnovers and sacks. The Wildcats fumbled five times against the Gators, losing all five. The first three were converted into Land O'Lakes scores. And the Bulldogs used a relentless pass rush to get to Wesley Chapel quarterbacks six times, making it difficult to get any kind of offense going.
Jekyll: Totals 108 points in consecutive wins against Citrus, Ridgewood and Lecanto to improve to 3-2.
Hyde: Falls to Class 4A, District 8 foes Springstead and Land O'Lakes by a collective score of 87-13. Granted, the Bears weren't favored in either game, but a 49-0 loss to the Eagles?
The cause: Quality of opponent is the main reason; Citrus, Ridgewood and Lecanto are a combined 5-17. But coach Cliff Lohrey also speaks of the absolute necessity of being focused every Friday. "Our guys have got to come with the mentality that it doesn't matter what you did the prior week. It means nothing," he said. "What we did against Lecanto, it obviously didn't mean a thing the following week (against Springstead)."
Which team shows up tonight: Tough call; Tarpon Springs is the same caliber of the Eagles and Gators. We anticipate the Bears being more competitive tonight because: a) they remain in mathematical playoff contention, and b) River Ridge's upset last week of Springstead reaffirmed their hope that anything can still happen in this district. "River Ridge certainly gave us life," Lohrey said.
Jekyll: Had an excellent shot at taking down Land O'Lakes on the road, but ultimately fell 11-3. Then seemingly out of nowhere crushed Wesley Chapel 28-0.
Hyde: A week after the Wesley Chapel win, the Bulldogs laid an egg in a 24-0 loss at rival Pasco.
The cause: Missed opportunities, injuries and inexperience. The Bulldogs could not protect Tyler Guy in the Land O'Lakes loss, allowing six sacks. And there was the failure to turn a fumble into points just before halftime. The Bulldogs overcame a rash of injuries for a huge upset of Wesley Chapel. A week later in the biggest game of the year, the Bulldogs were shut out in Dade City.
which team shows up tonight: Jekyll. Zephyrhills is always tough at home and the Bulldogs have a big opportunity to pull off an upset. When they play district foes like Gulf and Pasco, anything's possible.