Citrus county football sidelineBy Times staff reports
© St. Petersburg Times,
COUNTY TEAMS AT A GLANCE
Crystal River (8-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat Citrus 62-0.
THIS WEEK: Home vs. Hernando.
WHO'S HOT? Chianta Smith. The sophomore running back rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns against Citrus. He had a season-best 67-yard run to open the third quarter.
WHO'S NOT? Nobody (see last week's score).
THE SKINNY: Crystal River rebounded nicely from its Week-8 loss to North Marion with one of its most impressive wins of the season. The Pirates dominated Citrus from start to finish in every phase of the game and probably will have it easy against Hernando (3-6) in their finale. The Leopards gave up a school-record 65 points in a loss to Lecanto this year and struggled to beat Citrus. Crystal River's biggest challenge will be to remain healthy for the first round of the playoffs.
QUOTABLE: "We've got to go out and execute fundamentally," Pirates coach Jere DeFoor said. "We've got to tackle and not give up easy yardage. Staying healthy is big, but we have a ballgame to play too."
LAST WEEK: Lost to North Marion 74-14.
THIS WEEK: Home vs. Eustis.
WHO'S HOT? Jeff Yearwood. The senior running back rushed for 76 yards on nine carries against North Marion.
WHO'S NOT? The defense. The Panthers gave up 19 plays of 10 or more yards as North Marion set a school record for points and gained 500-plus yards.
THE SKINNY: Last week's loss wasn't pretty. Lecanto was outclassed on both sides of the football, burned for big plays on special teams, had four turnovers and committed more than a few costly penalties. The result was one of the most humbling losses in its history. The Panthers gained 13 yards on their first play, then waited about 18 minutes to get another first down against North Marion's vaunted defense. By then, Lecanto was out of it. The Panthers don't have time to dwell on the defeat, as bad it was. This week's game is one of the most important to date even though it has no playoff implications. If Lecanto wins, it will post the program's first winning season. No Panthers team has done better than 5-5.
QUOTABLE: "They know how important (this game) is," Panthers coach Dick Slack said. "There's only one group that can be the first to do something. I've told them not to forget about (loss to North Marion), but don't dwell on it."
LAST WEEK: Lost to Crystal River 62-0.
THIS WEEK: Home vs. Ocala Forest.
WHO'S HOT? Chad Webb. The sophomore led the Hurricanes in rushing last week with 43 yards on 12 carries.
WHO'S NOT? The offense, defense and special teams. When you lose 62-0, the blame should be shared by all.
THE SKINNY: It's almost impossible to illustrate the divide between Crystal River and Citrus, but last week's score is as good an indicator as any. After a loss like that, Ocala Forest isn't the team you want to face. The Wildcats are 8-1 and have crushed several teams. Adding to the mix is that Forest (1-9 last season) was beaten by arch-rival Ocala Vanguard last week, so it should be hungry to earn a win and regain some momentum as it heads into the playoffs. Citrus' closing schedule is among the toughest in Class 3A. The Hurricanes' four final opponents are a combined 29-6.
QUOTABLE: "We knew at the beginning of the season that our last four games would be tough," Hurricanes coach Larry Bishop said. "Forest has done a great job of turning it around. The last couple of years they were really young, and now they've come together and coach (Wayne Yancey) has done a great job."
-- CAREY FREEMAN, KEITH NIEBUHR
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