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PTP 3: Football rankings for Hernando County

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No more waiting. After weeks of staying idle, nearly every Hernando County public school kicks off their season. Here are the top three teams heading into the opening week. 

1. Hernando

Last season: 5-5

Up next: vs. Crystal River

Former Hillsborough defensive coordinator Earl Garcia III, son of the longtime Terriers coach, took over the Leopards this summer. Garcia III, who replaced Rob Kazmier, inherited a talented roster that includes running back Kev’on Williams, linebackers Shawn Bingham Jr and Sam Sternberger and defensive backs James Perkins and Jordan Williams. Hernando also was bolstered with the additions of running Contae Cason, tight end Jaylon Hall and lineman CJ Tolbert, who all transferred from Central. Cason, who rushed more than 1,700 yards last season, will team with K’von Williams for one of the best backfields in the area. 

2. Nature Coast

Last season: 6-6

Up next: vs. Central

The Sharks bid farewell to some productive players, particularly on offense. Quarterback Fabian Burnet, running back Lenkel Smith and linemen  Andreas Pantouvakis, Andre Dillard, and Michael Marotta all graduated. Still, Nature Coast has some dynamic left. The running load likely will be shared by Issac Edwards, Dedric Hall and Kenyatta Morgan. Hall, who had 924 yards receiving last season, also is the top deep threat in the passing game. Austin Alliota and Dante Hester anchor the line. The Sharks will get a lot of value out of Hall and Morgan, who wll both be counted to lead a young defense. Hall had a team-high six interceptions and Morgan recorded 100 tackles last season. 

3. Springstead

Last season: 9-2 (lost in region quarterfinals)

Up next: vs. Weeki Wachee (Oct. 9)

The Eagles, who had the best record in the county last season, are trying to rebound after what has been a rough start to the season. Springstead already went into practice having to replace its top five leading rushers, as well as its top four leading tacklers. That process was made even more difficult when the Eagles found out they had to quarantine for the next two weeks because of COVID-related issues. It also meant the first two games of the season had to be postponed. When Springstead does return on Oct. 9 to host Weeki Wachee, it will lean on the offensive and defensive lines, which should be a strength. 

One the bubble

Central, Weeki Wachee

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Football: Friday night rewind

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Scoreboard

Thursday (Oct. 14)

Seffner Christian 49, St. Petersburg Catholic 0

Gibbs 38, Tarpon Springs 7

Clearwater 61, Anclote 6

Pinellas Park 49, Hollins 6

Friday (Oct. 15)

Lakewood 56, Hardee 21

Dunedin 32, Gulf 31

Zephyrhills Christian 52, North Florida Educational Institute 12

Boca Ciega 21, Northeast 13

Geneva Classical 50, Hernando Christian 31

Lakeside Christian 64, World of Knowledge 6

Shorecrest 61, Academy at the Lakes 7

Alonso 46, Palm Harbor University 39

Steinbrenner 24, East Lake 14

Indian Rocks Christian 35, Sarasota Out-of-Door 21

Northside Christian 56, Keswick Christian 7

Oasis 21, Bishop McLaughlin 18

Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 27, Cambridge Christian 7

River Ridge 57, Fivay 14

Plant 35, Riverview 16

Tampa Bay Tech 34, Wiregrass Ranch 12

Chamberlain 42, Robinson 14

Berkeley Prep 30, Lakeland Victory Christian 0

Armwood 19, Bloomingdale 8

Sumner 64, Brandon 0

Braden River 32, Clearwater Central Catholic 29

Jesuit 24, Jefferson 0

Seminole 24, St. Petersburg 21

Wharton 42, Strawberry Crest 6

Gaither 37, Sickles 0

Largo 35, Mitchell 28

Tampa Catholic 58, Land O’ Lakes 21

Springstead 48, Central 0

Bradenton Manatee 34, Lennard 26

Durant 29, Plant City 6

Zephyrhills 44, Cypress Creek 3

Hillsborough 78, Blake 0

Belleview 58, Pasco 6

Palmetto 19, East Bay 13

Sunlake 44, Freedom 26

Nature Coast 64, Hudson 57

Wesley Chapel 35, Weeki Wachee 0

Middleton 44, King 7

Bradenton Southeast 39, Spoto 0

Lakeland Kathleen 24, Hernando 0

Prime time performers

LB/TE Justin Anderson, Sr., Hillsborough: Had three tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble on defense and scored once on offense in a win over Blake.

QB Jake Bechtel, Jr., East Lake: Threw for 243 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Steinbrenner. 

CB Michael Boone, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech: Returned the opening kickoff of the second half 75 yards for a touchdown in a win over Wiregrass Ranch. 

DL Keyon Clark, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech: Recorded two sacks in a win over Wiregrass Ranch. 

QB Anthony Colandrea, Sr., Lakewood: Threw for 430 yards and six touchdowns in a win over Hardee. 

DB Jayden Cornelius, Fr., Durant: Picked off two passes in a win over Plant City. 

RB Christian Cromer, So., Nature Coast: Ran for 379 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries in a win over Hudson.

QB Ethan Fahey, Sr., Nature Coast: Ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries and threw for 100 and another score in a win over Hudson.

LB Niko Ferrero, So., Mitchell: Recorded seven tackles and had a sack and a fumble recovery in a loss to Largo.

ATH Chris Ferrini, Sr., Mitchell: Ran for 62 yards and two touchdowns on offense and had nine tackles on defense in a loss to Largo.

DL/LB MJ Harrell, Sr., Boca Ciega: Returned an interception for a touchdown in the second half that gave the Pirates the cushion they needed to beat previously undefeated Northeast. 

QB Gavin Henley, Sr., Lennard: Threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another 79 and a score in a loss to Bradenton Manatee.

WR/CB Michael Jelks, So., Dunedin: Had four catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Gulf. 

ATH Nate Johnson, Jr., Clearwater Central Catholic: Had two long touchdown runs in a loss to Braden River. 

QB Luke Knight, So., Jesuit: Threw for two touchdowns in a win over Jefferson. 

QB Jack Lennon, Sr., Plant: Threw for 146 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 55 in a win over Riverview.

WR Colin MacLean, Sr., East Lake: Hauled in a 64 yard pass for a touchdown in a loss to Steinbrenner. 

QB Aidan MacLean, Sr., Clearwater: Completed all six of his passes for 156 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Anclote. 

RB Mario Mayo, Jr., Tampa Catholic: Ran for 215 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in a win over Land O’ Lakes. 

RB Lance Miller, Sr., Dunedin: Ran for 149 yards on 19 carries in a win over Gulf. 

WR Ha’Keem Monoe, Sr., Lennard: Had five catches for 57 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Bradenton Manatee.

RB Markese Norfleet, Jr., Northeast: Ran for more than 100 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Boca Ciega. 

QB Rickeem Parks, Sr., Wharton: Ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in a win over Strawberry Crest. 

RB Chris Perkins, Sr., Plant: Ran for 91 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries in a win over Riverview.

DE/RB Deondre Randall, Sr., Largo: Recorded three sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered one that was returned for a touchdown on defense and scored two rushing touchdowns on offense in a win over Mitchell. 

QB Brady Shaffer, So., Palm Harbor University: Threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Alonso.

QB Parker Stirnkorb, Jr., Dunedin: Threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Gulf. 

DB RJ Stroud, Jr., Armwood: Returned an interception for a touchdown that helped clinch a win over Bloomingdale. 

RB Jaylin Thomas, Sr., Zephyrhills: Ran for 145 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries added another score on a reception, all in the first quarter, of a win over Cypress Creek.

P Griffin Wiltse, Sr., Steinbrenner: Averaged 47 yards on his three punts in a win over East Lake.

RB Luke Yoder, Jr., Palm Harbor University: Ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in a loss to Alonso.

QB Hunter Young, Sr., Hudson: Accounted for eight touchdowns (five passing, three rushing), as well as a 2-point conversion, in a loss to Nature Coast.

Up next

Thursday (Oct. 21)

Springstead at Lecanto, 7

Friday (Oct. 22)

Lakeside Christian at Foundation Christian, 4

Osceola at St. Petersburg, 7

Keswick Christian at Mount Dora Christian, 7

Clearwater Central Catholic at Kissimmee Gateway, 7

Pinellas Park at Palm Harbor University, 7

Sunlake at Countryside, 7

St. Petersburg Catholic at Bishop McLaughlin, 7

Tarpon Springs at Clearwater, 7

Academy at the Lakes at Ocala St. John Lutheran, 7

Legacy Charter at Indian Rocks Christian, 7

Seffner Christian at St. Joseph Academy, 7

Calvary Chapel Academy at Canterbury, 7

Cambridge Christian at Carrollwood Day, 7

Seminole at Boca Ciega, 7

Hollins at Northeast, 7

Lakeland Christian at Calvary Christian, 7

Winter Haven at Tampa Catholic, 7

Lennard at Jefferson, 7:30

Blake at Jesuit, 7:30

Middleton at Durant, 7:30

Sickles at Largo, 7:30

Hillsborough at King, 7:30

Gulf at Gibbs, 7:30

Dunedin at Anclote, 7:30

Hudson at Wesley Chapel, 7:30

Wiregrass Ranch at Armwood, 7:30

Gaither at Leto, 7:30

Zephyrhills Christian at Bradenton Christian, 7:30

Land O’ Lakes at Pasco, 7:30

Riverview at Newsome, 7:30

Chamberlain at Steinbrenner, 7:30

Gainesville Christian Community at Hernando Christian, 7:30

Tampa Bay Tech at Wharton, 7:30

Plant at Plant City, 7:30

East Bay at Bradenton Manatee, 7:30

Sumner at Braden River, 7:30

Brandon at Spoto, 7:30

Freedom at Fivay, 7:30

Cypress Creek at Weeki Wachee, 7:30

Zephyrhills at Nature Coast, 7:30

Robinson at Alonso, 7:30

Palmetto at Bloomingdale, 7:30

Berkeley Prep at New Orleans Newman, 7

Clearwater Academy at McCallie (Tenn.), 7:30

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Friday night scoreboard

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Final Lakewood 56, Hardee 21

Final Dunedin 32, Gulf 31

Final Zephyrhills Christian 52, North Florida Educational Institute 12

Final Boca Ciega 21, Northeast 13

Final Alonso 46, Palm Harbor University 39

Final Steinbrenner 24, East Lake 14

Final Indian Rocks Christian 35, Sarasota Out-of-Door 21

Final Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 27, Cambridge Christian 7

Final River Ridge 57, Fivay 14

Final Plant 35, Riverview 16

Final Tampa Bay Tech 34, Wiregrass Ranch 12

Final Chamberlain 42, Robinson 14

Final Berkeley Prep 30, Lakeland Victory Christian 0

Final Armwood 19, Bloomingdale 8

Final Sumner 64, Brandon 0

Final Braden River 32, Clearwater Central Catholic 29

Final Jesuit 24, Jefferson 0

Final Seminole 24, St. Petersburg 21

Final Wharton 42, Strawberry Crest 6

Final Gaither 37, Sickles 0

Final Largo 35, Mitchell 28

Final Tampa Catholic 58, Land O’ Lakes 21

Final Bradenton Manatee 34, Lennard 26

Final Durant 29, Plant City 6

Final Zephyrhills 44, Cypress Creek 3

Final Hillsborough 78, Blake 0

Final Belleview 58, Pasco 6

Final Palmetto 19, East Bay 13

Final Sunlake 44, Freedom 26

Final Nature Coast 64, Hudson 57

Final Wesley Chapel 35, Weeki Wachee 0

Final Middleton 44, King 7

Final Bradenton Southeast 39, Spoto 0

Final Lakeland Kathleen 24, Hernando 0

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Friday night football forecast

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Must-see matchups

Northeast (6-0) at Boca Ciega (4-2), 7

A win would all but clinch the Class 6A, District 11 title for the Vikings. That could be tough considering Northeast is dealing with some injuries. 

Putnam’s prediction: Boca Ciega 21-20

Steinbrenner (3-4) at East Lake (2-5), 7

The winner becomes the overwhelming favorite to take the Class 8A, District 11 title. 

Putnam’s prediction: Steinbrenner 17-13

Armwood (4-2) at Bloomingdale (3-3), 7:30

The Hawks won both meetings in 2019. The Bulls won both meetings last season. The stakes are not as high this time around with neither team in the same district but still a riveting rivalry. 

Putnam’s prediction: Armwood 27-21

Nature Coast (4-2) at Hudson (5-1), 7:30

The Sharks already have a loss in Class 5A, District 9 play and cannot afford another if they want to stay within striking distance of the Cobras and Zephyrhills at the top of the standings. 

Putnam’s prediction: Nature Coast 24-21

Largo (2-4) at Mitchell (6-1), 7:30

This is a must-win for the Packers to have any shot at the Class 7A, District 9 title.

Putnam’s prediction: Mitchell 20-14

Tampa Bay Tech (6-0) at Wiregrass Ranch (4-1), 7:30

A Titans win would set up a showdown with Wharton next week to decide the Class 7A, District 10 title. This matchups features two differing styles on offense with Tampa Bay Tech’s ground attack going up against the Bulls’ aerial assault.  

Putnam’s prediction: Tampa Bay Tech 28-21

Plant City (4-2) at Durant (6-1), 7:30

The host Cougars already have a loss in Class 8A, District 10 and cannot afford another one to keep their title hopes alive. 

Putnam’s prediction: Durant 17-16

Tampa Catholic (3-2) at Land O’ Lakes (6-0), 7:30

This is the Gators’ toughest test so far this season, one that could end up derailing their perfect regular season. 

Putnam’s prediction: Tampa Catholic 34-28

East Bay (5-1) at Palmetto (2-3), 7:30

A pivotal Class 7A, District 11 matchup the visiting Indians need to keep their district title hopes alive. 

Putnam’s prediction: Palmetto 14-13 

Braden River (5-0) at Clearwater Central Catholic (4-2), 7:30

The tough schedule continues for the Marauders who face the undefeated the Pirates. 

Putnam’s prediction: Clearwater Central Catholic 21-16

The remaining schedule

Bishop McLaughlin at Oasis, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Bishop McLaughlin 21-19

Cambridge Christian at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 38-20

Berkeley Prep at Lakeland Victory Christian, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Berkeley Prep 34-7

Indian Rocks Christian at Sarasota Out-of-Door, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Indian Rocks Christian 21-14

Alonso at Palm Harbor University, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Palm Harbor University 16-14

Keswick Christian at Northside Christian, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Northside Christian 37-31

St. Petersburg at Seminole, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Seminole 28-7

Academy at the Lakes at Shorecrest, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Shorecrest 35-21

Zephyrhills Christian at North Florida Educational Institute, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Zephyrhills Christian 42-21

Hardee at Lakewood, 7

Putnam’s prediction: Lakewood 24-6

Central at Springstead, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Springstead 35-0

Bradenton Manatee at Lennard, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Lennard 35-21

Wharton at Strawberry Crest, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Wharton 35-0

Spoto at Bradenton Southeast, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Bradenton Southeast 20-14

Brandon at Sumner, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Sumner 41-7

Zephyrhills at Cypress Creek, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Zephyrhills 27-16

King at Middleton, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: King 28-20

Blake at Hillsborough, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Hillsborough 34-6

Plant at Riverview, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Plant 35-14

Robinson at Chamberlain, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Chamberlain 27-14

Gulf, at Dunedin 7

Putnam’s prediction: Dunedin 21-12

Jesuit at Jefferson, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Jesuit 31-7

Freedom at Sunlake, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Sunlake 21-6

Sickles at Gaither, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Gaither 28-27

Pasco at Belleview, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Belleview 35-0

Fivay at River Ridge, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: River Ridge 41-14

Wesley Chapel at Weeki Wachee, 7:30

Putnam’s prediction: Wesley Chapel 28-0

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