Central High had three volleyball matches over the past seven days against county foes and came out on the losing end of all three.
Central played Hernando twice, once in each team's gym, and also faced Springstead on Monday. Yet the Bears (3-5 overall, 2-4 in the Gulf Coast Conference) did show signs of life in Tuesday's three-game loss to Hernando.
"I hate losing as bad as any coach," said Central's Wayne Miller. "But you don't mind so much if you're getting better."
Central did keep the second Hernando match closer than the first one, but still dropped a 12-15, 15-6, 15-12 decision. Debbie Mills on the front line and Lee Anne Duval on defense keyed the Bears Tuesday.
"We were more aggressive and less tentative (Tuesday)," Miller said. Central lost its Oct. 1 match against the Leopards 15-9, 13-15, 15-5, then lost to Springstead 15-2, 16-14 on Monday after losing a 14-8 lead in the second game.
As for Hernando (10-3 overall, 6-0 GCC), the Central matches showcased a lot of young talent that is making fewer mistakes as the season goes along.
"They showed they have the talent," Hernando coach Thurman Chambers said. "As young as they are, they've matured quite a bit."
For example, Hernando, along with its other weapons (including hitter Angie Barrington and setter Lisa Miller) has gotten production of late from junior Melanie Ramsey.
"She's hitting the ball about as well as anybody out there right now," Chambers said.
As for playing Central twice in less than a week, the rivalry didn't faze the Leopards, according to Chambers.
"I think anytime we play Central or Springstead, the girls are going to be up for the match," he said. "We could have an average team and play them tough or they could have an average team and play us tough."
Both teams are scheduled to travel together to play Lakeland-Lake Gibson in an Oct. 29 doubleheader, the regular-season finale for both.
Cross country: Former Springstead High standout Eric Cummings is now the No. 1 runner for the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg, an NCAA Division II program.
Last Saturday, Cummings won the 5-mile Armstrong State College Invitational in Savannah, Ga. He finished in 27 minutes, 48 seconds, easily winning by 26 seconds.
All of the Peach Belt Athletic Conference teams participated, making Cummings the league's No. 1-ranked preseason runner.
Cummings began his college career by placing 26th in a 200-runner field, and first among his own conference's runners, with a 5-mile time of 27:35 at the Pembroke (N.C.) State University Invitational.
He later ran in a pair of 5.5-mile races involving teams from smaller and larger NCAA size classifications, finishing 41st in 29:10 at the Winthrop (S.C.) College Invitational and 19th in 29:35 at the West Georgia College Invitational.
Cummings was the No. 1 runner at Springstead, which he led to back-to-back runner-up finishes in Class 3A state meets.
Football: Springstead High senior Stefan Perea set a school record for tackles with 19 in the Eagles' 3-0 overtime victory over Gulf High last Friday.
Perea, a 205-pound inside linebacker who also is Springstead's quarterback, made four solo tackles and assisted on 15 others.
The old mark was 18, set by linebacker B.J. Kufner against Orlando Edgewater in 1988.
Springstead (2-2) is idle this week, as is Central (2-2). Hernando County's only team to play Friday night is Hernando High (2-2), which is host to Crystal River (2-2).