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Friday night recap

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Final scores

Jesuit 28, Bishop Verot 21

Carrollwood Day 37, Northside Christian 6

Tampa Catholic 43, IMG White 7

Cambridge Christian 43, St. Petersburg Catholic 7

Zephyrhills Christian 34, Central Florida Christian 21

Gainesville Oak Hall 30, Lakeside Christian 24.

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Stellar quarterbacking debuts

Quarterbacks had the spotlight Friday night. After all, six area programs had new ones under center. Nearly all of them performed well.

Jesuit’s Joe Pesansky, who moved from Virginia, emerged from a crowded summer competition to be the leader to replace Kiael Kelly, now at Gaither.

Pesansky opened some eyes, throwing for three touchdowns — two to deep threat Jaydn Girard and another to tight end Mikey Leonardo — to lead the Tigers in a 28-21 road win over Bishop Verot.

Tampa Catholic’s Xavione Washington is taking over as a full-time starter and ran for three scores and threw for two more to help the Crusaders cruise to a 43-7 win over IMG White.

Cambridge Christian’s Chris Stephenson, who split time with three other quarterbacks last season, took over full-time duties and did most of his damage with his feet. The dual-threat dynamo scored three rushing touchdowns as the Lancers routed St. Petersburg Catholic 43-7.

Zephyrhills Christian’s Nick Novo, who was at Zephyrhills High two years ago before moving to California, started his senior season by throwing for a pair of touchdown passes to Hezekiah Langley in a 34-21 win over Central Florida Christian.

Plethora of playmakers

Carrollwood Day, bolstered by the addition of several skill players via transfers, showed off their revamped passing game against Northside Christian.

Tight ends Michael Trigg and Tony Livingston, who both came over from Seffner Christian, each caught touchdown passes. Bredell Richardson, a sensational freshman who has an offer from Penn State, also hauled in a touchdown pass.

Winning start for Walker

Cambridge Christian’s Chad Walker was the only coach making his debut with a new program Friday night. Walker, who came from Land O’ Lakes, got off to great start with a resounding win over the Barons.

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The Hernando County Football Player of the Week

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FB/LB Zack Buzze, Sr., Central

This season has been challenging for the winless Bears. 

Outscored 325-22 in eight games, Central tries to accentuate the positives to build upon next season.  

Zack Buzze is one of the bright spots. The linebacker leads the team in tackles with 44. 

Against Gulf two weeks ago, Buzze recorded a team-high 13 tackles. 

That got the attention of fans. Buzze received 49 percent of the votes (699) in the Hernando County football player of the week poll to beat out Hernando’s Jordan Williams, who had 44 percent (628 votes).

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The Pasco County Football Player of the Week

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Hunter McFarland, Sr., Mitchell

After losing 26 players to graduation, Mitchell needed to fill plenty of voids to make the playoffs for the eighth straight season. 

Hunter McFarland has stepped up on defense. 

The senior is enjoying the best season of his high school career. He has 53 tackles, more than he had in his previous two seasons combined. 

McFarland also a nose for the ball — and the quarterback. He has forced three fumbles, recorded 3 ½ sacks and recovered two fumbles. 

Against Hudson two weeks ago, McFarland finished with five tackles, two fumble recoveries, a sack and forced fumble to lead the Mustangs to a victory. 

Fans were impressed. McFarland ended up with 52 percent of the votes (1,462) in the Pasco County football player of the week poll to beat out Zephyrhills Christian’s Jayce Nixon, who had 34 percent (955 votes).  

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The Pinellas County Football Player of the Week

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LB Garrick Ponder, Sr., Pinellas Park

A transfer from Seminole, Garrick Ponder wasted no time making an impact. 

The senior not only became a starter but also turned into one of the area’s defensive stars.

Ponder leads the Patriots in tackles (72), sacks, (six), forced fumbles (three) and fumble recoveries (two). Those numbers are a big reason the Patriots are 6-1 and currently tied with Northeast for second place in Class 6A, District 11. 

Against St,. Petersburg, Ponder had one of his best performances, finishing with 14 tackles and a sack. 

Fans were impressed. Ponder received 40 percent of the votes (812) in the Pinellas County football player of the week poll to beat out Keswick Christian’s Caleb Morris, who had 32 percent (646).   

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