By Chris Bernhardt Jr. | Hernando TodayWeeki Wachee at Anclote, 7:30 p.m.
Published: November 9, 2012
Published: November 9, 2012
With the other four county teams on a bye, the final week of the regular season belongs to Weeki Wachee.
The Hornets (3-6) will complete their first varsity campaign by taking a trip to Holiday for a matchup with Anclote (5-4).
"This is our playoff game," Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee said. "It's like a bowl game. You've got one game left, how do you want the season to end?
"Getting four wins would be awfully nice for our first year of varsity. We know we've definitely got our hands full."
Thanks to the first two-game winning streak in school history, the Hornets are riding high.
After a come-from-behind, overtime 29-22 victory at Interlachen for its first-ever district win, Weeki Wachee blasted another first-year program, Jacksonville-Duval Charter, 58-0 last Friday.
The case can be made that the Hornets have already surpassed expectations, and they've at least hung around in most every game they've played.
They have survived multiple injuries within their offensive backfield, including quarterback David Tinch, who has either missed time or been limited by both hip and back issues.
In his place, sophomore Marcus Allen has emerged as a versatile playmaker. Though he has only completed 27-of-62 passes this season for 560 yards, he has tossed eight touchdowns against six interceptions.
He has particularly picked up the pace over the past two contests, going a combined 10-of-18 passing for 371 yards and six scoring strikes, while throwing no picks.
Between his rushing and receiving, he has accounted for an additional 678 yards and four touchdowns on the year.
Others have emerged, such as junior Jon King with a combined 541 yards and eight scores via the ground or the air.
One injury they are still dealing with is the knee of fullback/linebacker Andrew Vreeland, who Lee said will be out.
While the Hornets have managed to capitalize on facing a couple of opponents on fairly equal footing, Anclote presents a considerably tougher challenge.
The Sharks, in their fourth year of existence, are playoff-bound for the first time behind Monday's Class 5A, District 6 three-way tiebreaker.
Anclote downed both Zephyrhills and host Fivay to claim the runner-up spot despite beginning the season with four straight losses.
"Anclote is playing very well right now," Lee said. "They're a lot better than a 5-4 football team. They've played a good schedule, lost some very close games.
"We want to go in and be competitive. That's what we've preached all year, to be competitive and give ourselves a chance to win."
Running back Willie Barrett has become a force for the Sharks, the 6-foot, 210-pound junior totaling 1,265 yards and 13 touchdown rushing.
But the Sharks are no slouches passing the ball. Senior John Forgione has completed 58-of-107 passes for 791 yards, with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
During its five-game win streak, Anclote has permitted an average of 10 points per game, and didn't give up anything in two quarters of play Monday night.
"He's (Barrett) a stud," Lee said. "He's a big boy, runs very well behind his pads. He's a tough guy to bring down. We've just got to be able to find a way to control their offense, which has been awfully tough.
"Defensively, they fly around and when they get to the ball, they'll hit you. They're a physically tough, intense defense. We've got to eliminate turnovers and take what they give to us."
Now the Sharks can build a six-game surge and assure themselves a winning record by taking care of business against Weeki Wachee.
But the Hornets have different ideas, and obviously would like to build on their newfound momentum with another triumph.
"It'll set the tone of this offseason," Lee said. "If we're able to play well enough to win, closing the season out with three straight wins, that'd be big for us."
This game will be carried live on WWJB 1450 AM and WXJB 99.9 FM, and streamed live at wwjb.com, beginning with the pregame show at 7 p.m.
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