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HERE COMES FUN

The fish in the pond just keep getting smaller. Central beat Citrus. Citrus beat Crystal River, and now the Pirates must play Central. Need we say more? Lecanto coach Bob LeCours is staying positive, but it doesn't look good for the Panthers, who can't seem to get an elusive win after 11 consecutive losses, including last week's 70-13 setback. Citrus is coming off an ego-boosting 28-0 win over Crystal River but faces a larger, more experienced Spruce Creek team. Both are 1-1.

THE NUMBERS

39: Crystal River's total offensive yards last week in Citrus' 28-0 pummeling.

28: Number of points Citrus scored against scoreless Pirates.

2: Number of touchdowns senior running back Willie Miller scored for Citrus.

58: Number of points Lecanto lost by to South Sumter.

THE QUOTE

"We never gave up. Looking at the score, kids of lesser character would have, but we didn't."

_ BOB LECOURS, Lecanto head coach.

TONIGHT'S GAMES

SPRINGSTEAD (2-0) AT LECANTO (0-2)

WHEN: 7:30.

LAST YEAR: Springstead 43, Lecanto 7.

THE SKINNY: Lecanto has lost 11 consecutive games, including a 70-13 setback against highly-skilled South Sumter, which leads the district. The Springstead tandem of Tim Dow and Ian Wald, who racked up 175 of the 273 total rushing yards in a 27-20 win at Central last week, should be key.

OUR PICK: Springstead.

CENTRAL (1-1) AT CRYSTAL RIVER (0-1)

WHEN: 7:30.

LAST YEAR: Crystal River 23, Central 20.

THE SKINNY: Central won 14-2 against Citrus. It happened to be Hurricanes rookie quarterback Walter Howard's first game. Citrus won 28-0 and held Crystal River's offense to 39 yards. With that loss, the Pirates gave up their 16-game win streak against county rivals and began what likely will be a long season. The season started late with a new coach. A new offense implemented just a week before school started and slower backs put the Pirates at a loss. Central is coming off a 27-20 defeat to Springstead last week and wants another win. Passing usually is not part of Central's attack, but quarterback Shane Collard threw 24 times last week.

OUR PICK: Central.

SPRUCE CREEK (1-1) AT CITRUS (1-1)

WHEN: 7:30.

LAST YEAR: Spruce Creek 29, Citrus 6.

THE SKINNY: Citrus is much improved over last season and coming off its biggest victory in eight years, but Spruce Creek is a 5A school and likely to have the 'Canes outmanned and outmatched. Last week, Citrus' defense held Crystal River to only 39 yards in a 28-0 victory. After not playing last season, quarterback Walter Howard, who was a back-up cornerback and receiver as a freshman on junior varsity, is showing promise. "All he has to do is drive the car and not get hurt," coach Rik Haines said last week. The engine that drives the offense is made up of R.J. Cobb, who rushed for 124 yards on 19 carries and scored on a 61-yard punt return; and Willie Miller, who had two touchdowns against the Pirates. Coming off such a huge win usually results in overconfidence.

OUR PICK: Spruce Creek.

THE DISTRICT

CLASS 3A-8

Team Dist. Overall

S. Sumter 1-0 2-0

Citrus 1-0 1-1

Crystal River 0-1 0-1

Lecanto 0-1 0-2

Hernando 0-0 1-2

HAVE A QUESTION ON YOUR TEAM?

Times high school sports writers are taking reader questions about the upcoming football season and other fall sports. Go to ww.sptimes.com/talkback to ask a question.

_ DAWN REISS, Times staff writer.

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