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Lecanto, Citrus putting it all two-gether

Citrus County is outdueling Hernando, boasting a pair

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2002

It has been more than just a long time since Lecanto and Citrus were undefeated after two weeks.

Try never for Lecanto, which earned that distinction Friday night. Citrus last started 2-0 in 1994.

That record is an accomplishment for coach Larry Bishop's Citrus team, which was 1-9 last year.

The Hurricanes' lone win in 2001 came against a mediocre Wildwood squad held scoreless in its first three games. This season's Citrus victories are over Central and Hernando, not exactly pushovers.

"A team of destiny, I don't know," Bishop said. "We've won two ballgames. But have we improved? Yes, immensely."

The 'Canes will see just how far they have come this Friday night in a tough road meeting with Lecanto. A year ago, Lecanto beat Citrus 36-14. The Panthers stayed unbeaten by turning back Central, 7-3 last year in a playoff season.

In fact, Lecanto and Citrus have more wins than Hernando County as a whole.

Hernando County's only victory was Hernando High's decision against Springstead in the opening week.

In the team huddle after dispatching Central, Lecanto coach Dick Slack told the Panthers that a win over Citrus would be a step closer to the coveted county championship.

The Hurricanes have impressed Lecanto.

"They run multiple formations similar to what we expected Central to do," Slack said. "They're doing a heck of a job on both sides of the football."

Lecanto and Citrus had major players return from last season.

Panthers running back Jarvis Patterson racked up 148 yards on 14 attempts, including touchdowns of 25 and 35 yards, in the 2001 meeting with the 'Canes. Lecanto's Phil Reed rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown in the lopsided win.

For Citrus, Casey Snyder produced one of its two touchdowns. The Panthers gave up just 10 first downs, and the Hurricanes faced a 22-0 second-quarter deficit before denting the scoreboard.

Citrus, which averaged just 12.3 points last year, is scoring 28 per game this season. The 'Canes are playing with a lot of confidence, Bishop said.

"We know we'll get the job done.

"Just believing -- that's what we lacked last year," he said. "Now we believe in what's going on. We're very pleased with that."

-- Staff writer Brant James contributed to this report.

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