Tarpon Springs High (3-1) at East Lake High (4-0)
LAST MEETING: Aug. 14, 2012 at Tarpon Springs – Eagles 20, Spongers 14
*** Suncoast News Game of the Week ***
*** Full coverage and photos after the game at www.SuncoastNews.com ***
Even though East Lake comes into this game as a hands-down favorite, rivalry games tend to bring out both teams’ best.
The Spongers hung tough last year before dropping a close 20-14 decision. They’ll need an equally inspired performance to do the same Friday night. Tarpon Springs’ first head-to-head challenge with a highly regarded opponent this year ended with a thud, losing 27-3 to Tampa Catholic.
The Spongers may be outmatched in terms of overall depth, but have plenty of talented playmakers on both sides of the ball. If they come out playing together as a unit for 48 minutes, this will be East Lake’s toughest test since Week 2’s 22-0 victory over Largo.
Tarpon Springs will have to show an early ability to stop East Lake’s ground attack or the Eagles and coach Bob Hudson will continue doing what works and run down the Spongers all night.
Dunedin High (1-3) at Osceola High (2-2)
LAST MEETING: Aug. 19, 2008 at Dunedin – Falcons 56, Warriors 7
After eking out a 42-41 overtime win against Dixie Hollins to open the season, Dunedin’s endured three-straight tough losses and been outscored 122-7.
The Falcons have another tough task ahead Friday night at Osceola. The Warriors are by no means a county power, but coach George Palmer has a quality team that pounds the ball on the ground offensively and plays tough defense.
The Falcons played last week with freshman Janero Crankfield under center because of an injury to starter Givanni Gonzalez. Crankfield displayed nice athleticism and poise for his first varsity start, but this is a thin year all around for Dunedin.
Seminole High (2-1) at Palm Harbor University High (0-3)
LAST MEETING: Aug. 14, 2012 at PHU – Hurricanes 34, Warhawks 0
Palm Harbor University is coming off a bye and gets to host Seminole before arguably its biggest game of the season next week at St. Petersburg.
This is a game PHU needs to win convincingly; not because of district implications, but for confidence. The ‘Canes have won two straight since getting blown out at home by rival East Lake to open the season.
Due to transfers after last season, PHU knew it would encounter some difficulties this year. The Hurricanes are low on numbers but still field a competitive club. Handling their business Friday against Seminole will help build momentum into the Class 8A District 7 clash with St. Pete.
(BYE WEEK: Countryside)