With 268 rushing yards and two touchdowns, Hernando High tailback Eric Riggins can't be accused of looking beyond Citrus last Friday night and ahead to this Friday's showdown with Pasco for the Class 4A, District 7 championship.
But with a 35-12 victory in hand, shoulder pads off and time to watch the subs finish the game, Riggins had time to ask about his stats and ponder the future.
"We better start thinking this week about them," Riggins said of the 1992 Class 3A state-champion Pirates, who are 8-1 overall and, like the 7-1 Leopards, 4-0 in the six-team district.
As for thoughts on the Hurricanes, Riggins was as surprised as anyone as he rolled up 231 yards and both of his TDs on nine carries in the first half alone.
"I came to play hard," he said, "but I didn't think it would this easy."
That has become a familiar refrain for Riggins, a junior who with his 767 yards on just 68 carries entered the game as the North Suncoast's third-leading rusher behind Pasco's Troy Hambrick (1,071 yards on 126 attempts before Friday) and Dwight Neil of Citrus (768 on 133 coming into the Hernando game).
In the rushing race Riggins will easily pull ahead of Neil, who was held to 23 yards on three carries before retiring with a broken finger.
It took Riggins only four carries, in fact, to surpass the 100-yard mark.
Two runs later he had his first touchdown, a 38-yard run on which he broke two tackles before scoring.
Riggins nearly broke his next carry, going 41 yards before being pulled to the ground when Brian Turner caught hold of his jersey. Two plays later, he scored from 22 yards out, this time breaking three tackles en route to the end zone.
Yet Riggins was hardly the only worry of Citrus.
When he wasn't breaking long ones, fullback Matt Deason was barreling up the middle for 63 yards and TDs of 1, 4 and 10 yards, or quarterback Shad Reese was helping himself to 110 yards while running an option offense the Hurricanes simply could not contain.
"Deason's been a thorn in my side for four years, going back to jayvee days," Citrus coach Ken Berry said. "Reese reads the option as well as anyone, and Riggins you can't control. They're all good."
Central puts one together
CRYSTAL RIVER _ Three runs for 28 yards by Tellis Roundtree and one by Marc Munford for 10 yards set up Elliot Coon's 30-yard touchdown run and an extra point by Jay Griffiths that gave Central a game-opening drive to lift the Bears past Crystal River 7-6.
But it was on the other side of the line where coach Barry Gardner found the difference for the 4-4 Bears.
"Our defense played a great ballgame. I think we stopped them cold," said Gardner, whose Bears lost 28-27 in overtime to Zephyrhills one week earlier. "We finally played an entire game. We played a half like this last week, but never a whole game."
_ JOANNE KORTH