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Rain hindered some, helped others

If you listened very hard Friday night, you could hear the sound of coaches throwing their headphones down, players cursing and high-powered offensive machines grinding to a halt.

In case you hadn't guessed already, or were out of town, it rained. A lot. For some teams that was bad. For some it was good.

It was bad for teams that like to throw the ball. Gibbs High, possessing the county's most prolific passing offense, gained 35 yards in the air in a 7-0 loss to St. Petersburg. Dunedin, the second most productive throwing team, gained 31 in a 15-6 loss to Osceola.

But sometimes nothing suits a ball-control offense like a wet field. East Lake had 384 yards rushing, Dixie Hollins had 158. Osceola's Mike Sandy had 123. And the most salient point was the effect the weather had on some key district games.

Like Osceola-Dunedin, won by Osceola, which is currently undefeated in 4A-10. Heading in, Osceola knew it was facing a two-pronged Dunedin speed attack. By gametime that was down to one prong, and even it was dulled slightly.

"I knew when I woke up this morning and saw the (weather) forecast that we had a good chance," Osceola coach George Palmer said.

In the fourth period, with the score 15-0, the weather conditions worsened, virtually shutting down Dunedin's veer ground game. They did put together a 13-play touchdown drive in the final minutes, but Osceola's Nick Spataro stuck running back Jevon Scott on the two-point effort to ice the game for the Warriors.

"We're not a mud team," Dunedin coach Mike Anderson said.

The Warriors win sets up a district showdown with Boca Ciega, also undefeated in the district, in two weeks. The offensive showdown between Sandy and the Pirates' Termaine Burton and Dwan Brown may not mateialize, after both suffered late-game injuries in Bogie's 18-8 win over Largo.

Burton is out indefinitely with strained knee ligaments; Brown, who rushed for 134 yards on 22 carries, suffered a separated right shoulder and will possibly miss 4-5 weeks.

"First I got tackled and somebody fell on me and drove my shoulder in the ground," Brown said. "Then I got tackled from behind and I fell on the same shoulder. Then one of their players caught me on the same shoulder with his helmet."

Boca Ciega's ground attack was in force against Largo, rolling up 238 yards. The Packers, who beat Countryside with speed (otherwise known as David Crawford), big plays and special teams two weeks ago, bowed under the Pirates ball-control attack.

Largo, meanwhile is "done" in the words of coach Pat Mahoney. "I don't see us having any shot. But what happens in life is you reset your goals. We have plenty of things to play for, like pride and a great season."

Meanwhile: The 4A-8 race continued to get curiouser and curiouser, as Land O'Lakes, shockingly, handed Tarpon Springs its second straight district loss, 26-14. The Gators' offensive line opened the way for the ground game, which rumbled off 283 yards and four touchdowns. Land O'Lakes is now tied for first with East Lake with a 2-0 record (4-0 overall) while Tarpon fell to a last-place tie with Gulf at 0-2, 2-2. The Spongers, who hadn't lost a 4A district game in eight years heading into this season, have another tough game next week when they meet non-district foe Clearwater at home.

After holding Tarpons Springs to four downs on its first drive, Land O'Lakes scored in four plays. Middleton's 15-yard run put Land O'Lakes up 6-0 less than five minutes into the game. A conversion attempt on a fake kick failed.

Parkees Harris led Tarpon Springs in rushing with 86 yards on 17 carries.

In the other half of the 4A-8 race, East Lake remained undefeated with a 33-8 win over Ridgewood. Pete Apostolou, with 192 yards and three touchdowns, was the big gun for the Eagles.

With the score 19-0 in the second half, East Lake surprised Ridgewood with an onside kick and recovered at the Rams' 43. East Lake moved to the 4 in six plays, and Apostolou finished the drive standing up. The Rams had obviously seen the films of the Eagles' 13-10 win over Tarpon Springs, in which 215-pound fullback Jay J. Martin rumbled for 110 yards.

"They were looking for Jay J. to get the ball, so the openings were there for Pete," East Lake coach Rob Jenkins said. "We had confidence he could run it, and Jay J. did a great job of blocking for him."

Milestone: Dixie Hollins' senior tailback Serrell Rollins gained 127 yards on 27 carries and went over the 2,000-yard mark for his career in the Rebels' 7-0 win over Countryside. After failing on its final drive, Countryside still had a chance to get the ball back with just over a minute remaining and Dixie Hollins deep in its own territory. But the Cougars Ryan Eichler was called for roughing Dixie punter Antron Killens. That penalty gave the ball back to the Rebels with 55 seconds left. Angered, Countryside coach Bob Stephens walked his team off the field with 25 seconds still left in the game. Stephens had no comment after the game.

Oddity of the week: Watching Clearwater and Seminole take state-mandated water breaks in the middle of a downpour. The state has mandated that each team take a water break halfway through each quarter, through the first five weeks of the season. With the weather like it was on Friday, that was like setting up an air conditioning business in Siberia.

Friday's stars

East Lake tailback Pete Apostolou rushed for 192 yards and three touchdowns in his team's 33-8 victory over Ridgewood.

Boca Ciega quarterback Kojara Ransom scored two touchdowns, breaking a tackle on the second one, in the Pirates' 18-8 victory over Largo.

Dixie Hollins senior running back Serrell Rollins rushed for 122 yards on 27 carries, taking him over the 2,000-yard mark for his career as the Rebels shut out Countryside 7-0.

Osceola running back Mike Sandy scored 14 of his team's 15 points with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. He also rushed for 123 yards in Osceola's 15-6 win over Dunedin.

Clearwater High's defense held Seminole to three first downs and 54 yards total offense in the Tornadoes' 7-0 victory.

Northside Christian's Brian Clark and David York each scored two touchdowns in their team's 28-6 victory over Admiral Farragut.

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