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Eagles not belittled, forgotten

Okay, from the top:

We got a letter the other day complaining about our "suggestion" that the Springstead High football team is "not a county powerhouse." The author also said he "cannot comprehend your inadequate coverage of the Eagles."

All of which I found a bit odd, since nowhere in this paper have we ever said anything to the effect that "Springstead is not a county powerhouse." Not that we would ever call any team a "county powerhouse," since there are only three teams in the county.

Perhaps what the writer was referring to was a passage in one of my columns about Zephyrhills beating Springstead, noting the Eagles are "not bad, but (in) an off year."

I know the Eagles were 5-2 entering this weekend's scheduled game at Pasco. I also know all five teams Springstead defeated up to that point were losing programs.

This is not a knock on Springstead, far from it. I'm a Springstead graduate, and if anything, it's out of respect for the program that I consider this an off year. That's how far I think this program has come, that it can go 5-2 and still not be at its best.

As of this writing, Springstead has improved every week, and trust me, we know it. No matter what some people think, we have had a reporter at every Springstead game, and a story in the paper after each one. We will continue to follow the Eagles, and wish them well in their pursuit of another playoff spot.

In other news...

I wasn't at the Green Bay game, but I'm beginning to think the positive effect my presence has had on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has somehow reversed polarity.

I point this out because in a column last year, I noted that in the four Tampa Bay games I helped cover for the Times, the Bucs won all four. Considering how few victories they posted in those years, I was considering hiring myself out to Tony Dungy as a good-luck charm.

Well, that's over now.

I didn't attend any of Tampa Bay's five wins to date, nor its first loss: You can't pin that Green Bay loss on me. The Bucs played pretty well and were in position to win it late.

Now fast-forward to the Detroit game. I was at Houlihan's Stadium, happily stuffing my face in the press box, as Barry Sanders ran away with the game. Suddenly, I was bad juju, and the Bucs were 5-2.

Despite the loss, my Bucs-obsessed roommate persuaded me to see the Minnesota game with him. So I did, and what happens? The offense's worst game to date, and that says a lot after that Detroit debacle. The defense did fine, but somehow my mystic powers had turned Trent Dilfer into Heath Shuler.

I mean, this power I have is a gold mine. Anyone who still cares up in Indianapolis should give serious consideration to sending a private jet my way this morning, because if I can get there by kickoff, I think even the Colts could get a win today.

My karma has been turned from pro-Buc to anti-Buc. I don't know if my vibe worked better with orange and white than red and pewter, but something has gone horribly wrong. It's like I've been possessed by the spirit of ... Sam Wyche!

In other news...

I hear Akira Kurosawa will be filming a remake of Rashomon starring Jim Harbaugh and Jim Kelly. I'd suggest that Harbaugh is the only guy in the NFL who could break his hand striking thin air, but I'm afraid if he heard that he'd race to Hernando County and beat up the air immediately surrounding me.

Next week: The other guy shows up to make sense again. It's an unfortunate trend in rookie sports writers.

HOW TO REACH US: By phone _ Call 754-6117 or 848-1430. For general sports questions, and to report the results of varsity high school sports events, call (800) 333-7505, extension 8123. By fax _ Call 754-6133; send correspondence to the attention of Rick Gershman. By mail _ Write to Hernando Times, Sports/Rick Gershman, 161 E. Jefferson St., Brooksville, FL 34601; or to Carlos Frias, 3233 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606. By e-mail _ Send to gershmansptimes.com

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