Prime time super seven: football rankings for Pasco County

With no kickoff classics, the opening week of the season was the first time coaches were able to evaluate where their programs stood in a game situation since last season. Some were still figuring out quarterback competitions. Others are still trying to put the right pieces in place. It is still a work in progress. But we also have a better understanding of how dominant some teams can be. Here are the rankings after the first week.

1. Mitchell (0-0)

Up next: vs. Pinellas Park 

Last spot: No. 1

The Mustangs were supposed to start their season against Land O’ Lakes. That did not happen. The Gators were dealing with COVID-related issues and had to quarantine their junior varsity and varsity teams. Mitchell tried finding another game on short notice but had no luck. Instead, the Mustangs used the extra time to prepare for Friday’s game against Pinellas Park. There’s plenty of motivation, too, especially after the Patriots handed Mitchell its only Class 7A, District 9 loss a year ago.  Ezra Brennaen threw for 205 and a touchdown in that last meeting. The biggest key will be how well the Mustangs do in stopping the run, particularly after the Patriots racked up more than 400 yards on the ground last season.  

2. Wiregrass Ranch (1-0)

Up next: vs. CCC

Last spot: No. 2 

Kenneth Walker rushed for 135 yards and scored twice on just carries in a 50-10 rout over St. Petersburg in the opener. In all, six players reached the end zone. The defense also did its part, registering five sacks (two each by Nate Kidd and Steven Prevaux) and picking off three passes. The Bulls were able to add a game against Clearwater Central Catholic this week, the team they have faced in the kickoff classic the past three seasons. 

3. River Ridge (1-0)

Up next: Tarpon Springs 

Last spot: No. 3

The Royal Knights opened with their season with a 13-0 win over Fivay. In the last three meetings, River Ridge has outscored the Falcons by a combined 113-0. Not only was it  the third straight shutout in the series, but it marked the 14th time since 2017 the Royal Knights have blanked an opponent. That trend could continue against Tarpon Springs. After all the Royal Knights won last year’s meeting 58-0. 

4. Wesley Chapel (1-0)

Up next: vs. Anclote (Oct. 2)

Last spot: Unranked

The Wildcats beat Sunlake 20-13 in the opener, snapping a two-game losing streak in the series. Nehemiah Morgan did a little bit of everything for Wesley Chapel, finishing with 70 yards receiving, 67 passing and coming up with an interception on defense that helped seal the win. This week, the Wildcats were supposed to play Zephyrhills but the game was cancelled after a Bulldogs player tested positive for coronavirus. Now, Wesley Chapel has three weeks to prepare for its next game against Anclote on Oct. 2.

5. Zephyrhills (0-0)

Up next: vs. Tampa Catholic (Sept. 25)

Last spot: No. 5

The Bulldogs are currently playing the waiting game after a player tested for coronavirus two weeks ago. The bulk of the players on varsity are quarantining due to guidelines put in place by the CDC and the county health department. That meant Zephyrhills had to cancel its first two games. The Bulldogs will now open their season on Sept. 25 against Tampa Catholic.

6. Pasco (0-1)

Up next: at Cypress Creek 

Last spot: No. 4

The Pirates had a rough start to the season, losing 33-0 to Auburndale. One bright spot for Pasco was the play of linebacker Gabriel Barnes, who had a team-high 11 tackles and recorded two of the Pirates’ five sacks. Pasco will try to bounce back this week against Cypress Creek.   

7. Cypress Creek (1-0)

Up next: vs. Pasco

Last spot: Unranked

The Coyotes, who made the playoffs for the first time a year ago, continued their success with a 28-17 win over Osceola in the season opener. Owen Walls was efficient at quarterback, completing 13 of his 21 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, Joseph Wilhelm came up with the big plays, picking off two passes. 

On the bubble

Hudson (1-0), Fivay (0-1), Zephyrhills Christian (1-1), Sunlake (0-1)