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Prep Football Preview: Week 2

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Published:   |   Updated: September 6, 2013 at 04:45 PM

Springstead at Weeki Wachee, 7:30 p.m.

With Weeki Wachee playing a full county schedule this season, the Hornets are engaging several local rivals for the first time.

Such will be the case when they host Springstead tonight in the first official meeting between the two teams.

"I like it. I think the kids like it, too," Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee said. "They know a lot of the guys on that team. I sat in an office with (Springstead head coach) Mike Garofano for two years. I like going up against him."

Lee was referring to his stint as a Springstead assistant coach from 2007-08, when Garofano was the Eagles' defensive coordinator under Bill Vonada.

These squads have met on the varsity level once before, two springs ago with Springstead cruising to a 30-7 exhibition victory.

The Hornets have certainly progressed since then, now into their second varsity campaign, and Garofano pointed to a short battle between the teams over the summer.

"We played them a little bit, about 15 minutes at the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) camp at Stetson," Garofano said. "I think the guys took them lightly then and they took it to us. I think that opened (the Eagles') eyes."

"We did have some success, but our kids also know they didn't have some guys who will be playing this Friday," Lee countered. "Knowing Mike, he was vanilla as can be going against us. We know he has his team geared up and ready to go. We hope we can get up to the level to compete."

Weeki Wachee can actually boast a bit of momentum, as it comes in riding something of a three-game winning streak.

Technically victories over Gulf in the spring, 50-49 in overtime, and Lecanto in the preseason, 16-15, don't count.

But last Friday's season-opening triumph at Interlachen, 28-6, certainly does.

"The kids did well," Lee said. "They actually covered for me. I didn't do a very good job in the second quarter. We were running the ball well and the quarterback in me made me throw the ball more than we needed to do, and that's when they got back in the game.

"The defense did an unbelievable job. They've grown leaps and bounds from the spring to now.

"They're not going to get big heads and they really don't know what momentum is. They've never been in that position on the varsity level. But the kids are confident. We're looking forward to going up against Springstead."

Fullback Devon Dupuis, who rushed 10 times for 75 yards and a touchdown last week, is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

Versatile junior Marcus Allen, the Hornets' top offensive weapon last year, will sit out the first half, due to what Lee termed a "coach's decision." Allen likewise was held out against Lecanto then played last week, notching 40 yards on 11 carries and completing his only pass attempt for 41 yards.

Springstead enters this game smarting from a 42-14 loss at Citrus last Friday.

Considering the Eagles are a 2012 district champion sporting several returning starters, it's difficult tell if they played that poorly or simply ran into a tremendous opponent.

"We're learning from our mistakes from Friday. It was a good teaching tool," Garofano said. "I'm looking for us to bounce back.

"They're (Citrus) a very good team, but a lot of it is fundamentals. Blocking, tackling, we've got to get back to basics."

The Hurricanes forced typically sound Springstead into uncharacteristic errors, including four turnovers and seven penalties for 90 yards.

They also limited the Eagles' triple option to a modest 113 yards on 39 rushes, something Weeki Wachee will be pressed to duplicate.

"We'll have to do our responsibilities. We have to play assignment football and do it well," Lee said. "You can never get a good look at an offense like that unless you run it. We run some option, but not the type of offense Springstead runs."

Two valuable threats for the Eagles, running back Daniel Wright and wide receiver Latavious Hannah, were banged up against Citrus but should be available.

According to Garofano, don't expect Springstead to hold anything back in the first chapter of this all-time series.

"A lot of those guys have had 3-4 years in the same system and they're a good team," Garofano said. "They're athletic, well-coached. On both sides of the ball they pose problems for opposing teams. We'll have our hands full, but we need to come to play.

"We want to be rolling and peaking when we head into district play in a few weeks, so I think there's a major emphasis on winning this week."

Jacksonville-Bishop Kenny at Hernando, 7:30 p.m.

Having turned in a respectable performance against a well-established team from Jacksonville last week, Hernando hosts another opponent from Duval County.

Bishop Kenny doesn't quite have the credentials of Jacksonville-Bolles, a reigning state runner-up ranked third in Class 4A. But the Crusaders have reached the playoffs four straight years, and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2012.

Though not ranked in 5A, Bishop Kenny continued to receive votes in the Associated Press state poll following a wild 47-43 win over Bartram Trail to open the season.

The Leopards are 0-1 thanks to a 35-22 defeat at the hands of Bolles, yet certainly didn't embarrass themselves against one of the state's traditional powers.

Hernando, which had its preseason game canceled due to forecasts of inclement weather, actually thinks it should have pulled out a win.

"The team is feeling good, but we're upset because we feel that we gave them the game," Hernando head coach Dwayne Mobley said. "The punt team gave up two blocked punts. The kickoff team gave up a kickoff return (for a touchdown). The two blocked punts put the ball on like the 19-yard line. That's three touchdowns right there.

"We played hard, but it was mental mistakes, stuff we would have worked out that first game that hurt us. I think we'll be more focused and hopefully do what we need to do."

This week the Leopards will contend with a distinctly different style from what they usually see around these parts. As Mobley said, the Crusaders "pass, pass, pass."

Against Bartram Trail, Bishop Kenny opened up a 21-0 lead only to yield 40 unanswered points.

The Crusaders stormed back behind quarterback John Wolford, who completed 24-of-42 passes for 407 yards, and also rushed for 135 yards and had a hand in five touchdowns.

It was his 11-yard toss to Anthony Farmand with 20 seconds left that put Bishop Kenny in front for good, marking the third lead change of the fourth quarter.

Mobley said the Crusaders run a spread offense, employing both four- and five-receiver sets.

"We'll do our best," Mobley said. "It's more running around here than passing. But if we want to get better, we've got to be able to cover the pass.

"When we get to the state (playoff) level, those guys run and pass. It'll be a good test for us to go against a team that passes."

Right tackle Connor Foradas is questionable after hurting his leg in Tuesday's practice. Cornerback Bryce Mobley is out with an ankle injury.

"We don't want to go 0-2," Coach Mobley said. "I think if we come out and play hard, and do what we're supposed to do and eliminate the mistakes we had last week, we should have a pretty good game."

This game will be carried live on WWJB 1450 AM and 103.9 FM, and streamed live at wwjb.com, beginning with the pregame show at 6:45 p.m.

The Villages at Central, 7:30 p.m.

On one hand, Central showed significant positive signs in last week's opener against Hudson.

Unfortunately for the Bears, they still had to shake off a loss, 32-23, in a game they led at halftime, 17-12.

Senior running back Robbie Bradley turned in a career performance, rushing 23 times for 210 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Cole Teater added 101 yards on the ground, plus ran in a score of his own.

The Villages enter 0-1 behind a 42-27 loss to Belleview. A Sweet 16 team in 2011, the Buffaloes stumbled to 0-10 last year, and have jumped from 1A to 4A.

cbernhardt@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5288

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