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  1. Sports

District spotlight on Pinellas Park

There was a time when Pinellas Park just wanted to win a few games. After that, the Patriots just wanted to make the playoffs. When that was accomplished, they wanted to topple mighty East Lake and win the district.

They can check off two of the three.

Pinellas Park lost big to the Eagles the past two seasons. Even though many of the districts statewide have changed, Pinellas Park and East Lake remain together in Class 7A-10. The rivalry continues, and the Patriots would like to at least make it competitive.

"In the past we would go into the season trying to upset East Lake, trying to spoil their season," coach Kenny Crawford said. "This season we go into it thinking that if we play well, we can win. It's like that with every team in our district. There is such parity from top to bottom."

Crawford said the Patriots don't have the East Lake game (Oct. 23) singled out. He believes every game in this district will be a tough one. But for the players who remember recent losses to the Eagles, beating them this year would be extra special.

"I want to beat East Lake," senior linebacker Nate Demint said. "We've never beaten them since I've been here."

Pinellas Park will again use a big offensive line and a trio of running backs on offense. Rodiez Newsome, Alonzo McCray and newcomer Dale Foster should get most of the carries. Crawford said they are awaiting results from a summer school class to find out if McCray will be eligible this season.

A defense led by lineman Jordon Scott will be the strength of the Patriots.

"I never look past the next game on the schedule," Crawford said. "But we have a very tough schedule this year. We're going to have to be ready to go every Friday and not worry about what's ahead of us."

Contact Rodney Page at rpage@tampabay.com. Follow @RodneyHomeTeam.

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