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Citrus County football from A to Z

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2002


A: ATTITUDE -- Image isn't everything, confidence is. Crystal River has walked with a swagger for years. And now, Lecanto is starting to have one. That leaves Citrus. The Hurricanes appear to have more talent than last season, but they'll have to believe in themselves to find results. If Citrus can upset Central in Week 1, it could surprise people.

A: ATTITUDE -- Image isn't everything, confidence is. Crystal River has walked with a swagger for years. And now, Lecanto is starting to have one. That leaves Citrus. The Hurricanes appear to have more talent than last season, but they'll have to believe in themselves to find results. If Citrus can upset Central in Week 1, it could surprise people.

B: BISHOP BROTHERS -- Larry is the head coach and defensive coordinator for Citrus. Younger brother Jonny runs the offense. Both played at Citrus in the 1980s.

C: CLAYTON TRENARY -- The four-year Crystal River starter is gone. Finally. Trenary could beat an opponent at quarterback or safety. He also punted and returned kicks. He went 32-7 as a starting QB. Replacing him won't be easy.

D: DICK SLACK -- The longtime Lecanto coach led the Panthers to their first winning season last year. The school opened in 1984.

E: EARL EVERETT -- A South Sumter linebacker and one of the country's most sought-after players, Everett has scholarship offers from Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami and Tennessee. He's 6-foot-3, 210 pounds. You can get a glimpse of him on Sept. 6 when South Sumter visits Crystal River.

F: FAVORABLE SCHEDULE -- The nod goes to Lecanto, which plays six home games (including the first four).

G: GAME OF THE YEAR -- Take your pick between South Sumter at Crystal River, Lecanto at Crystal River (Oct. 4) and Crystal River at North Marion (Oct. 25).

H: HERNANDO COUNTY -- Expect our neighbors to the South (Central, Hernando and Springstead) to have formidable squads. Citrus teams went 6-3 against Hernando foes in 2001.

I: INTERIOR PLAY -- County teams have no shortage of skill players, but games will be won and lost in the trenches. Lecanto returns more linemen than any local squad and that could bode well.

J: JARVIS PATTERSON -- The Lecanto senior has a chance to rush for more than 1,000 yards for the second straight season. He averaged 9.4 yards a carry last year.

K: KEITH ZIGLER -- The Citrus senior, who can boom punts and consistently make mid-range field goals, has the county's best leg. Don't be surprised if he ends up playing in college.

L: LUCK -- A little of this never hurts. A turnover at the right time or a crucial call by an official here or there can make a season. Even the best teams need a break every now and then.

M: MIND CONTROL -- Teams have feared Crystal River in recent years, but because the Pirates graduated so many players from 2001, the intimidation factor might be gone. One word of advice, though, for Crystal River opponents: These guys still have plenty of talent.

N: NORTH MARION -- We predicted North Marion would make a splash in 2001 and the Colts didn't disappoint, earning wins over Citrus, Crystal River, Dunnellon and Lecanto to capture the Class 3A, District 3 title. This year they'll be good again. All-purpose threat Mike West has scholarship offers from Central Florida, South Florida and Southern Miss.

O: ODDS OF WINNING THE DISTRICT (3A-3) -- One man's opinion ... North Marion 5-4, Crystal River 6-2, Dunnellon 15-1, Lecanto 20-1, Citrus 30-1.

P: PROSPECT -- The county player most likely to earn a college scholarship, in our estimation, is Lecanto quarterback/safety Phil Reed. He's big, strong and fast. His future is at defensive back.

Q: QUARTERBACK -- Each county team has a good one, but keep an eye on Citrus' Casey Snyder, who had an excellent spring and shined during summer workouts.

R: RYAN McNALLY -- The Crystal River running back rushed for a county-best 1,637 yards in 2001 and scored 26 touchdowns.

S: STATE CHAMPIONSHIP -- Although neighbor Dunnellon owns two titles, no county team has one in 11-man football. Maybe we can claim South Sumter, which is poised for a run in Class 2A.

T: TOUGHEST SCHEDULE -- Hands down, this belongs to Crystal River, which plays Central, Dunnellon, Lecanto and South Sumter at home and travels to Dixie County, North Marion and Springstead.

U: UNDERRATED -- How about Crystal River coach Jere DeFoor? He's 20-4 with two playoff appearances in two seasons. During the same stretch, Citrus and Lecanto are a combined 11-29.

V: VISION -- The thing that separates good running backs from average ones. Who has the county's best pair of eyes? Hard to argue against McNally, who finds the hole about as well as any back around.

W: WINNING STREAK -- Only one county team closed 2001 with a win -- Lecanto.

X: X-FACTOR -- The greatest unknown quantity in the county is the play of Crystal River's newcomers. The Pirates have first-year starters at almost every position. Many of those looked good in the spring, but it's a whole new ballgame in September.

Y: YARDAGE LEADERS -- Look for Citrus' Snyder to lead the county in passing. He's got a lively arm and his team throws more than most. On the ground, expect a tightly contested battle between Crystal River's McNally and Lecanto's Patterson. In receiving, Citrus's Isaiah Webb gets the nod.

Z: ZERO -- Number of times an opponent held Lecanto scoreless in 2001. That hadn't happened since 1993.

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