By IZZY GOULD | Times Staff Writer
For most teams, this marks the final week of football. Springstead's season was once promising, but an overtime loss at Tarpon Springs ended the dream of the Class 4A, District 8 title or a playoff berth. Four North Suncoast teams, however, earned playoff berths and Week 9 proved to be one of the season's best. Pasco won 21-20 against Gulf for the Class 3A, District 8 and Sunshine Athletic Conference titles. Gulf still made the playoffs as runnerup. If Hernando County had a conference, Nature Coast would have won it regardless of this week's outcome at Central. The Sharks already clinched the 3A-6 title. And Land O'Lakes earned its 12th consecutive postseason appearance after holding off Ridgewood 20-16 to claim the 4A-8 title.
North Suncoast Fab Five
1. Nature Coast (9-0). Sharks just keep on rolling.
2. Pasco (8-1). Pirates have the hardware and a home playoff game.
3. Gulf (8-1). Gulf lost by one — and should have gone for two.
4. Land O'Lakes (7-2). Gators back their way into a district title.
5. Springstead (6-3). A once-promising season ends shy of the playoffs.
• Land O'Lakes won the 4A-8 district title and will host Daytona Beach Seabreeze.
• Pasco won the 3A-8 district title and will host Orlando Bishop Moore.
• Nature Coast won the 3A-6 district title and will host Williston.
• Gulf is the 3A-8 runnerup and will travel to St. Cloud.
Gulf running back Adrian Golden rushed for 165 yards Friday in a 21-20 loss to Pasco to bring his season total to 1,989 yards and 29 touchdowns. The Bucs will play at least two more games this season, including Friday against East Lake.
Wiregrass Ranch got its second win in as many seasons, defeating Sunlake 30-26. The Bulls entered the game 1-16 in two varsity seasons. Wiregrass Ranch's other win? Against Sunlake, 40-20 in 2007.
Royal Knights are hot
River Ridge picked up its second win in three games with a 24-7 victory over Central. The Royal Knights had lost 15 straight dating to last season before knocking off Springstead 31-14 on Oct. 24.
Central lineman Sam Robinson went out in the third quarter with a concussion and was sent out in an ambulance. No further information was given on his condition after the game.
Times correspondents Andy Villamarzo and Derek J. LaRiviere contributed to this report.
|Josiah Johnson, RB, Wiregrass Ranch||The Bulls back led the way against Sunlake with 28 carries for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns.|
|Tyler Guy, QB, Zephyrhills||The Bulldogs offensive captain threw for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 10-for-15 passing in a big win over Hudson. He also ran for a score in the fourth quarter to put his squad up by two scores.|
|Ben Williams, DE, Zephyrhills||The most underrated part of the Bulldogs victory might have been the defense. Williams harassed Hudson quarterback Zack Wynn all night, collecting two and a half sacks and spending most of his time on the field in the Cobras backfield.|
|James Mahla, QB, Springstead||He had 13 carries for 113 yards, also 113 passing yards and two touchdowns.|
|Adrian Golden, RB, Gulf||The Bucs talented rusher had 17 carries for 165 yards and three touchdowns.|
|Jamall Haynes, RB, Pasco||He didn't score, but he still rushed 30 times for 148 yards and was a key piece of Pasco's 21-20 win against Gulf.|
|Stavros Arianas, RB, River Ridge||Rushed for 133 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown in a 24-7 victory over Central and helped River Ridge avoid the district cellar for the first time since 2004.|
|Sterling Ross, RB, Ridgewood||Helped the Rams come close to ruining Land O'Lakes' playoffs hopes but could not pull it off behind Ross' 172 yards on 23 carries and two scores.|