Weather affected several bay area games Friday, including a postponement of Wiregrass Ranch-Zephyrhills. That means Monday night football in Pasco County! That aside, a hierarchy is beginning to take shape in terms of playoff contenders and pretenders. It's clear the best playoff battle will be in Class 3A, District 7 with teams such as Pasco, Gulf and Land O'Lakes. And in 4A-6, it appears Hudson or Wiregrass Ranch will have the best shot at battling Tarpon Springs to win the district. In 3A-6, Nature Coast should bang heads with the likes of Dunnellon, Leesburg and Tavares. And the likelihood of Springstead or Central being in the mix for the 4A-5 title at this point appears remote. But there's still plenty of football left, plenty of time to prove the prognosticators wrong.
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1. Nature Coast (2-0): Sharks look sloppy in 11th consecutive win but hand coach Mark Lee a victory against his former Springstead Eagles.
2. Pasco (1-0): The Pirates have established themselves as a passing powerhouse, arguably one of the bay area's best.
3. Land O'Lakes (1-0): The Gators had a talent show and a week off with coaches stationed at the Pasco game.
4. Gulf (2-0): The Buccaneers won big but now attention turns to Leon Orr's injury.
5. Wiregrass Ranch (1-0): Weather postponed the Bulls' game against Zephyrhills until Monday night at 7. That means two games in five days. Ouch.
6. Mitchell (2-0): Mitchell is undefeated under first-year coach Brian Wachtel. Could it be the year of the Mustang?
7. Hudson (1-1): Cobras quarterback Zack Wynn went off in a win against Wesley Chapel. Went off. Big time.
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QB Zack Wynn, Hudson
Completed 24 of 37 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns, and scored on a 6-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Wesley Chapel. Not good enough? He also kicked an extra point.
RB Tevin Drake, Nature Coast
The senior tailback ran for 226 yards on only 16 carries with four touchdowns against Springstead. Drake now has exactly 60 touchdowns on the ground for his career. He also had runs of 73 and 46 yards called back on illegal formation penalties.
QB D.J. Clower, Pasco
Threw for 273 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in Pasco's 27-22 win over Plantation American Heritage.
QB Matt Michaels, Mitchell In his second week replacing Cody Van De Boe, he completed 5 of 6 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown in a win against Ridgewood. Also rushed for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
RB Ricky Trinidad, Mitchell Had 23 carries for 172 yards. What? No touchdowns?
QB Madison Burr, Gulf
The senior passed for 135 yards and three scores while rushing for 99 yards and two more in a win over River Ridge.
WR/DB David Ramirez, Gulf
The senior caught five passes for 82 yards and a TD. He also intercepted a pass.
QB Kenny Toce, River Ridge
In loss to Gulf, Toce passed for 114 yards and scored on a 9-yard run. RB Devean Huff, Springstead After going for only 6 yards rushing in the first half, Huff finished with 134 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in a loss to Nature Coast. The senior scored the lone Eagles touchdown on the first drive of the second half.
K Brennan Allen, Pasco
Hit kicks of 50 and 49 yards in a 27-22 win against Plantation American Heritage despite a twisted ankle. WR Janarian Grant, Pasco Just two receptions, but both went for touchdowns (56 and 62 yards) for his breakout game as a freshman.
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Paddling without an Orr?
When Gulf standout Leon Orr, arguably the region's best player, landed awkwardly after attempting to catch a pass over the middle Friday against River Ridge, the crowd went quiet. After three minutes, Orr, who has orally committed to Florida, walked off the field. Later, however, he was taken to the locker room on a cart.The verdict: Orr has a high left ankle sprain.
"He'll be fine," coach Jay Fulmer insisted.
Fulmer said he would know more about Orr's injury tonight. Gulf plays Ridgewood next week. "If we have to sit him, we will," Fulmer said. "It's not a district game."
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Yes, it's only two games, but Mitchell's defense has stepped up to the challenge.
In two games, Mitchell has allowed a mere 9.5 points per game. Last season, the defense allowed an average of 19.5 points per game. Coach Brian Wachtel attributes the defense's hunger to position battles.
"We have six quality linebackers for five spots," Wachtel said. "There's always an odd man out.
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Sharks QB battle
Nature Coast quarterback C.J. Baker (sprained left knee) rotated under center with backup Ja'Juan Story. Baker threw one touchdown, going 1-for-3 for 16 yards, and Story rushed for 113 yards on only eight carries. "We just want C.J. healthy for district play," coach Mark Lee said. "Right now, he is about 85 percent. It's more important for us to be focused on down the line. Everyone on this team is looking forward to playing 15 games and winning a state title." Stay tuned.
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"River Ridge is a much better team this year. They're much more physical. They're going to give people some problems."
Jay Fulmer, Gulf coach
"Our mentality as a team is just different. The kids go out to win. They want to compete. They love it."
Brian Wachtel, Mitchell coach
Times correspondents Derek J. LaRiviere and Chris Wagenheim contributed to this report.