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Friday Night Previews: North Pinellas

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Tarpon Springs High (2-1) at Dunedin High (1-2)

LAST MEETING: Aug. 31, 2012 at Dunedin – Spongers 24, Falcons 7

*** Suncoast News Game of the Week ***

*** Full coverage and photos after the game at www.SuncoastNews.com ***

These are the ones that count.

The Spongers and Falcons, both coming off lopsided losses last week, will square off Friday night for a Class 5A District 8 game at Dunedin.

It’s the first league game of the season for two teams essentially vying for the district’s second seed. Lakewood, one of the county’s top squads, is a heavy favorite to run the table in league play. What remains up in the air is where the other five teams will settle in at when it all shakes out.

Tarpon Springs (2-1) is the frontrunner to take second and Dunedin (1-2) may represent their toughest challenge outside of Lakewood. Gibbs and Boca Ciega are a combined 1-5 right now.

Though the Spongers will go to Dunedin as a favorite, it will be interesting to see how the team bounces back after its first run-in with adversity. Tampa Catholic came to Tarpon Springs last Thursday and ran away with a 27-3 win. Last year’s 2-0 start ended with a 3-7 finish, so a good showing Friday can keep bad memories of 2012 from creeping back in the minds of players.

East Lake High (3-0) at Clearwater High (0-3)

LAST MEETING: Nov. 9, 2012 at PHU – Eagles 41, Tornadoes 29

Well, right now the score’s still 0-0.

After 7:30 Friday night, that’s probably going to change quite a few times – primarily in East Lake’s favor.

First-year Clearwater coach Donnie Abraham, a former NFLer, assistant coach at East Lake and father of Eagles’ star DB Devin Abraham, will have his hands full trying to pull off what would be an astounding upset.

The Eagles haven’t surrendered a single point this season (See article at: http://suncoastnews.com/su/list/suncoast-news-sports/east-lake-defenses-continues-blanking-opposition-20130919/), having pitched three-straight shutouts while outscoring opponents 119-0.

Eagles coach Bob Hudson said during an interview Monday that although his boys are amped up to run the streak as long as they can, he doesn’t plan on leaving starters in during a blowout situation just to preserve it.

This one should be over by halftime, but the shutout streak makes it worth keeping an eye on.

Countryside High (2-1) at Northeast High (0-3)

LAST MEETING: Oct. 5, 2012 at Countryside – Forfeit: Northeast Win

If last week showed anything, it’s that Countryside is still trying to find itself after losing a boatload of starters from 2012.

The Cougars got worked over at home by Palmetto High, 27-0, after jumping out to a 2-0 start that included a season-opening upset victory over Lakewood.

C-Side should be able to take some frustration out on Northeast this Friday. The Vikings have begun the 2013 season streaking just like East Lake, though in a much less fortunate way. Whereas East Lake has yet to give up a point, Northeast has yet to score a point. Vikings opponents have outscored them 82-0 through three games.

The Cougars’ running game was completely bottled up last Friday against Palmetto, picking up just 6 yards on 24 attempts. Also uncertain is the quarterback situation. Starter Robby Hicks went 11 of 17 for 129 yards and an interception, but backup sophomore Trent Chmelik was given a look and completed 5 of 6 passes for 46 yards.

[OFF: Palm Harbor University]

ehorchy@suncoastnews.com

(727) 815-1071

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