Friday Night Previews: North Pinellas
East Lake High (1-0) at Largo High (1-0)
LAST MEETING: Sept. 28, 2012 at East Lake – Packers 40, Eagles 10
*** Suncoast News Game of the Week ***
*** Full coverage and photos after the game at SuncoastNews.com ***
The best game in Pinellas County will take place Friday night at Largo High.
East Lake traditionally has struggled to take down the Packers, going 1-6 overall in head-to-head matchups over the past six years. Returning Eagles players don’t need to look back too far to find a source of extra motivation. Largo went to East Lake and blew the doors off of last year’s meeting, racing away with a 40-10 victory.
Although this game doesn’t affect district standings, it does give both an early season opportunity to play against an opponent projected to make a run through the postseason.
Similar to last year, both teams again feature top-end talent at numerous positions and Friday has the potential to be as exciting as it is competitive. East Lake coach Bob Hudson said his offense will likely have to mix it up a little more than it did during the Eagles’ 49-0 dismantling of Palm Harbor University. East Lake relied on the legs of RB Weston Fordham and WR Artavis Scott to stake it out to a big early lead. More balance will mean QB Jake Hudson’s first regular-season opportunity to showcase his abilities.
Boca Ciega High (0-1) at Palm Harbor University High (0-1)
LAST MEETING: Sept. 8, 2006 at PHU – Hurricanes 17, Pirates 7
Both enter Friday looking for win No. 1 after suffering blowout defeats last week.
Boca Ciega got drilled by Pinellas Park, 35-0, and PHU was dropped by East Lake, 49-0.
These teams haven’t met since 2006 – a 17-7 PHU home win – and the Hurricanes likely come into this one as a favorite again.
Quarterback play will factor in heavily Friday night, with PHU’s Tyler Kaminski and Bogie’s Saivion Smith the teams’ top offensive weapons.
Seminole High (0-1) at Dunedin High (1-0)
LAST MEETING: Sept. 12, 2008 at Dunedin – Falcons 38 Warhawks 0
The Falcons, under new coach Denis Gillen, pulled off an exciting 42-41 overtime win to open its season on the road at Dixie Hollins.
After starting the past four seasons 0-2 or worse, Dunedin has a chance to begin 2-0 for the first time since 2008. That Week 2 win also represented the Falcons’ last meeting with Seminole High – this week’s opponent.
The Warhawks have a new man at the helm, with Chris Miller taking over for longtime coach Sam Roper. Seminole played Osceola tough last week but eventually fell to the Warriors, 23-15.
The Falcons attacked Dixie Hollins will the type of balance not seen at Dunedin for years. QB Givanni Gonzalez threw for over 200 yards and a mix of running backs rushed for about 250.
Tarpon Springs High (1-0) at Osceola High (1-0)
LAST MEETING: Oct. 19, 2012 at Osceola – Warriors 35 Spongers 25
The Spongers get their first quality test of the season when they travel to Osceola for a battle of teams trying to stay unbeaten.
Tarpon Springs went to Clearwater and did what they should have done: dominate a lesser opponent from whistle to whistle. That resulted in a 58-0 stomping of the Tornadoes.
Osceola, while not exactly an upper-echelon Pinellas County team, will certainly push back harder.
Combined with a commanding Kickoff Classic win over Anclote, the Spongers appear talented enough to compete each week on both sides of the ball.
If the Tarpon Springs defense is able to contain Osceola’s run-heavy attack and force the Warriors into passing situations, a second straight 2-0 start may be in the Spongers’ future.
Countryside High (1-0) at Bradenton Southeast High (0-1)
Countryside pulled off the stunner of the week with its 15-13 victory over Lakewood High.
This week, people will get to see how C-Side’s new faces deal with an opponent they’re supposed to beat. The Cougars travel south to take on Bradenton Southeast, a 55-34 loser to Bradenton Lakewood Ranch in Week 1.
C-Side’s win over Lakewood was primarily fueled by a big-time defensive performance. Mekhi Reynolds and Dante Satcher combined for 168 yards on the ground, but the Cougar passing attack essentially got grounded. Countryside and QB Robby Hicks should find much more success this week at Southeast.