TIME AND SITE: 7:30, Bears Den Stadium.
LAST WEEK: Crystal River rolled over Dunnellon 47-6. Central beat Hudson 24-14.
LAST MEETING: Central's Chris Henderson kicked two field goals in the last minutes of the game to lift the Bears to a 9-7 win. The Bears controlled the ball in the first half and led 3-0 at the half.
KEY POINTS: Central has been making a run of late, literally. Eric Coon is still the Bears' main ball carrier, but has been getting help from his supporting cast in the backfield. In a losing effort against Crystal River, running back Darrell Scott rushed 12 times for 102 yards. Coon managed 90 on 13 carries. Dunnellon matches Central's running game on the shoulders of one of the fastest running backs in the area, Willie Watts. His 875 yards on the year lead the team, and Watts was the only player to score a touchdown against Crystal River last week while running for 108 yards. Dunnellon managed to move the ball well against the Pirates, but had trouble punching the ball in from inside the 20-yard line.
SPRINGSTEAD (5-2) AT PASCO (6-1)
TIME AND SITE: 7:30, W.F. Edwards Stadium.
RADIO: WDCF-AM 1350 in Dade City.
LAST YEAR: Pasco dealt Springstead its only regular-season loss, ending a streak of seven Eagles victories and earning the Sunshine Athletic Conference title with a 39-29 victory. Senior tailback Cleo Stinyard paced the Pirates with 169 yards and 3 TDs.
LAST WEEK: Springstead defeated Gulf 42-0; Pasco was off.
KEY POINTS: If it wasn't for that pesky contest between two top-five Class 4A teams (Hernando at Crystal River), this would be the top showdown on the North Suncoast this week. Springstead has won four straight, albeit all against west Pasco teams with losing records. Pasco counts the same four in its win total, and though it was not been as dominant as the Eagles in those games, also pulled out a close win over then state-ranked South Sumter. Both teams have solid athletes on both sides of the ball and boast one amazingly fast back. Springstead's Anthony Owens is the top rusher on the North Suncoast (and the first to break four digits) with 1,043 yards (6.7 avg.) and 11 TDs. Pasco responds with Norman Graham, who has 11 TDs of his own and 709 yards (6.7 avg.). Both also have capable secondary backs: Pasco's Ron Croson has 565 yards and 5 TDs, Springstead's Ryan Angelo 495 yards and 5 TDs. Quarterbacks Tim Maher (Springstead) and Frank Craig (Pasco) are similar, each connecting about 50 percent of the time. Springstead's defense might be a touch stronger, but Pasco boasts more speed in receivers Breon Davis and Eric Reed.
ZEPHYRHILLS (7-1) at LAND O'LAKES (4-3)
TIME and SITE: 7:30, Gators Stadium, Land O'Lakes.
RADIO: WZHR-AM 1400.
LAST YEAR: In one of the ugliest games in the county in years, the Bulldogs prevailed 6-0.
KEY POINTS: After losing a hard-fought and crucial district game at Hernando last week, the Bulldogs are at the most challenging point in the season. The big question is, how will they respond? The injured ankle of wide receiver Boo Boo McKay, the sore knee of quarterback Jaimie Sullivan and the recovering hernia of Terry Allen seem to make the Bulldogs even more vulnerable. But alas, this team is not the best in the county by fluke. The Gators have played some of their best ball in years this season and will give Zephyrhills all it can take, but it should not be enough. The Bulldogs have to get back on track and the Gators are in the way. Not a good position to be in on homecoming night.
MOUNT DORA (4-3) AT LECANTO (2-6)
TIME AND SITE: 7:30, Panthers Stadium.
LAST YEAR: Did not play.
KEY POINTS: Lecanto is coming off its second win of the season, a 42-34 decision over Lake Weir. With its playoff hopes and a chance for finishing at .500 both gone, the Panthers are playing for pride. Quarterback Jeff Furniss leads the offense, while Joey Courter and Cedric Joyner carry most of the running back load. Mount Dora senior quarterback Desmond Wesley is the second-leading passer in Lake County with 886 yards. His top receivers are Gene Johnson and Kelvin Parker. The Bulldogs' leading rushers are Brian Charles and Josh Reed. Mount Dora is on a three-game winning streak.
CITRUS (4-3) AT LEESBURG (1-6)
TIME AND SITE: 7:30, Hubert Dabney Stadium, Leesburg.
LAST YEAR: Leesburg won 21-17 at the Citrus Bowl.
KEY POINTS: Citrus was on a four-game winning streak before its 30-0 loss to South Sumter last week. This might be a nice chance for the Citrus defense, which had been its strong suit until last Friday, to regain its old form. Leesburg is a young team being led by first-year head coach Bud O'Hara. The Yellow Jackets beat Lake Weir three weeks ago for their only win of the season. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Stewart will be playing only his second varsity game, having moved up from the junior varsity squad last week. His debut was against powerhouse Union County, but Stewart threw for more than 100 yards in the loss. Running back Toris Carter also just moved up from JV, but he's aided by senior Anthony Walker, who has more than 400 rushing yards. Seth O'Hara leads the Central Florida area with 143 tackles in seven games.