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Prime time super seven: football rankings for Pasco County

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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)

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Flag Football

Sydney Stout reaches 100 touchdown passes — this season

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Robinson quarterback Sydney Stout reached an impressive milestone with her 100th touchdown pass on Monday.   

That is not a career mark.

Stout reached that total this season.

The senior already had shattered the flag football single-season state record of 79 touchdown passes and entered the Class 2A region final needing just three touchdowns to hit triple digits. 

No problem. 

Stout threw four touchdown passes — in the first half. 

She added another in the second half to give her 102, a number that will continue to grow. 

After all, the Knights beat Lecanto 34-0 in the region final. Robinson, which has won state titles in five of the past six seasons (the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic), advances to the state semifinals on Friday. Stout could end up playing in two more games if the Knights keep their state title streak intact. 

And there’s a good chance of that happening considering Robinson has outscored foes by a combined 816-50 this year.  

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College Football

Former PHU/UCF star Jacob Harris goes to Rams in 4th round

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Jacob Harris, a former star at Palm Harbor University and Central Florida, was taken in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Rams.

Harris, a former soccer standout who did not start playing organized football until senior year at Palm Harbor University, has gone through a meteoric rise to become a sleeper pick in this year’s draft.

He started off as a walk-on at Western Kentucky before transferring to UCF. For the past two seasons, Harris was a dependable receiver for the Knights. As a senior, he had 30 catches for 539 yards and eight touchdowns.

Harris’ most memorable game came against USF this past season when he had five catches for 110 yards and three touchdowns.

With the Rams, Harris will join former East Lake star Tyler Higbee in a group of tight ends that features plenty of locals.  

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College Football

The local list of potential NFL picks

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The NFL Draft concludes Saturday. Plenty of locals have the potential to be picked. Below is the list of former area stars who could hear their name called. All were either on mock drafts or were selected to an all-star game or NFL Combine. 

Photos courtesy of UCF Athletics

TE Jacob Harris, Palm Harbor University/UCF

Harris, a former soccer standout who did not start playing organized football until senior year at Palm Harbor University, has gone through a meteoric rise to become a sleeper pick in this year’s draft. He started off as a walk-on at Western Kentucky before transferring to UCF. For the past two seasons, Harris was a dependable receiver for the Knights. As a senior, he had 30 catches for 539 yards and eight touchdowns. Harris’ most memorable game came against USF this past season when he had five catches for 110 yards and three touchdowns. 

OL Shane McGough, Gaither/Florida International

The younger brother of former Gaither and FIU quarterback Alex McGough redshirted as a freshman before becoming a consistent starter on the Panthers’ offensive line. He was an all-Conference USA honorable mention selection in 2018 and 2020. This past season, McGough started in four of FIU’s five games as a center.  

WR Antonio Nunn, Jefferson/Buffalo

Nunn, a dynamic deep threat at Jefferson, redshirted his first season at Buffalo before rocketing up the depth chart. He started every game the past two seasons, finishing with a combined 86 catches for 1,271 yards and eight touchdowns. Nunn was a third-team all-MAC selection in 2019 and second-team selection this past season. 

Photo courtesy of Indiana University Athletics

WR Whop Philyor, Plant/Indiana

A first-team, all-state selection at Plant, Philyor became Indiana’s most dependable receiving target during his college career. He finished with 2,316 all-purpose yards (2,067 receiving, 134 rushing, 66 kick return, 49 punt return) in 38 games (22 starts).Philyor also is the Hoosiers’ s all-time leader in double-digit catch games (7), ranks fourth in receptions (180), fourth in 100-yard games (7), ninth in yardage (2,067) and is tied for 16th in touchdowns (12). He capped off his career by setting a Big Ten bowl and Outback Bowl record with 18 receptions for 81 yards. 

DL Justus Reed, CCC/Virginia Tech

A first-team, all-state selection, Reed led Clearwater Central Catholic to its only state final appearance as a senior in 2013. He started out at Florida before spending three seasons at Youngstown State. This past season, Reed transferred to Virginia Tech as a graduate student. He started in 10 of the Hokies’ 11 games, finishing with 28 tackles and 6.5 sacks.  

Photo courtesy of USF Athletics

DB K.J. Sails, East Bay/USF

A highly touted high school recruit, Sails spent his first three years in college at North Carolina before transferring to USF. As a junior, he led the Bulls in interceptions with three and recorded 22 tackles this past season. Sails gained notoriety this past summer when he organized a unity walk during the social justice movement that was attended by about 400 teammates, coaches, administrators and community members.  

Oregon's Jordon Scott/Photo credit: Oregon Athletics
Photo courtesy of Oregon Athletics

DL Jordon Scott, Pinellas Park/Oregon

The three-star high school prospect originally committed to Florida before signing with Oregon. He immediately became a force on the Ducks’ defensive line, earning FWAA freshman all-America honors in 2017. Scott opted to return to Oregon as a senior rather than turn pro and helped the Ducks reach the Pac-12 title game for the second straight season. 

Photo courtesy of TCU Athletics Communications

TE Pro Wells, Hollins/Texas Christian

As a senior at Hollins, Wells had a breakout season, finishing with 31 catches for 952 yards and five touchdowns. He played at Milford Academy and Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he became the No. 4 JUCO tight end in the nation. After redshirting in 2018 at Texas Christian, Wells turned a reliable red-zone target and led the team in touchdown receptions each of the past two seasons. 

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