Hernando boys golf coach Pete Lahey has seen phenomenal starts founder before _ last season, in fact _ so he's not getting overly excited about the Leopards' 6-0 record.
That might change today at Sherman Hills if Hernando improves to 7-0 overall and in Class A, Region 3 with a win over Saddlebrook, whose reputation carries as much weight as its talent.
"I think this one will give us an idea where we're at," Lahey said. "Saddlebrook is usually very good."
Lahey, who is not emphasizing the match more than others with his players, said both a win and a loss could benefit his team.
"I think (a win) would pick up their spirits," Lahey said. "Some of the kids think we can do some good things and go quite far if everyone plays up to their ability. But in golf, you never know. A loss might give us the chance to work on and re-evaluate some things."
Hernando's first six matches have been more encouraging for Lahey because his freshmen have pressed his upperclassmen. Ninth-graders Fred Farmer and Keegan Ledford have led the team in scoring at least once, and juniors Matt Johnson and Chandler Beasley have done it once each.
Hernando beat Central 151-155 on Sept. 7 behind a season-low 35 from Farmer and blasted Citrus 155-182 behind Ledford's 37.
Johnson's 38 led Hernando to a 161-170-183 tri-match victory over Crystal River and Seven Rivers Christian, respectively, on Tuesday. Beasley was second with a 39.
Hernando concludes conference play Sept. 19 against Springstead and then concentrates on district matches preceding the A-3 tournament in November.
That's a long way away, however, and after watching the Leopards start 5-0 last fall and then collapse _ finishing below .500 and doing poorly at districts _ Lahey is focusing on the present.
"I'm kind of leery (of the record)," he said. "I think we've got a good group of kids, and they've been real good so far. And we've been fortunate enough to eke out a few wins."
HERNANDO GIRLS: Allison Frazier's team-leading 46 was not nearly enough Tuesday as Crystal River drubbed the Leopards (1-2) 189-224 at Sherman Hills.
Stephanie Freeman shot 50 for Hernando, followed by Emily Runge and Jen Cutlip (64).
"We've got some things to work on," Hernando coach Chief Chambers said.
HOLE-IN-ONE: Frank Kolmar used a 6-iron to hit a hole-in-one on Sept. 1 at the 137-yard fourth hole at Seven Hills Golfers Club.
HEATHER LADIES: Liz Gee shot 13 on Tuesday to win the first flight in the "Total 2 Longest Holes and Two Shortest Holes Less Handicap" competition in the Heather Ladies Golf League.
Marilyn Bunzel and Genevieve Beal (14) were second.
HEATHER MEN: The teams of Jack Rittner, Morris Hoyt, Garth Argue and Hap Siegel and Pete Morgero, Pete Cuccio, Glenn Malbone and Jim Foley fired 23 on Wednesday to win the "Four Men One Best Ball" event in the Heather Men's Golf League.
SHERMAN HILLS: The team of Bill Shropshire, Jared Sonne, Dave Fall and Gary Spaulding combined to shoot 152 to win the "Two Best Balls" event in the Sherman Hills Tuesday Men's League.
_ BRANT JAMES