Hurricane Dorian had little impact on the Citrus County weather, but it did cause some upheaval in the local sports schedule.
With no school on Monday for Labor Day and Tuesday in case the storm hit, some football teams had to ditch their typical practice routines. One game even got pushed back, but no cancelations were necessary in the final week before district play begins.
Crystal River at Dunnellon, Saturday, 6 p.m.
On Thursday, Dunnellon head coach Price Harris saw his players for the first time in exactly a week.
The Tigers (2-0) beat West Port last Thursday, 37-10, in a game moved up a day because of concerns Marion County schools would be needed as shelters.
Then on Monday, with the eastern portion of Marion County under a tropical storm warning, school was canceled for the entire week as some campuses were opened up as shelters.
However, with Dorian having passed and only a minimal amount of residents using those shelters, Marion County reversed its decision and school was back in session on Thursday.
All of that has led to the Pirates (1-1) traveling to Dunnellon one night later than planned, while the Tigers try cram a week’s worth of preparation into two days.
"The longer I do this, the more I realize things are not always going to go your way and that’s life," Dunnellon head coach Price Harris said. "We’ll role with the punches and be ready to go."
Though this is considered a major rivalry for this area, it had been one-sided for the past two decades until Crystal River ended a 16-game skid in the series with last year’s 20-13 triumph.
"That motivated us last year," Harris said. "Having that team beat us motivated us to re-evaluate how we practice, what we were doing, how we were preparing, all that stuff. That helped us grow up and get better as we went.
"We never like to lose to our rivals. It puts a little more emphasis on the game. When you play that much football against each other and it’s that close in proximity, of course there will be some animosity."
Crystal River was still able to practice fully this week, and comes off a refreshing 46-0 win over Lecanto.
"If you don’t get to practice it might give your legs a chance to get fresh again," Crystal River head coach Cliff Lohrey said. "If anything players are resilient. It’s coaches who struggle without having a routine. I don’t think it’s an advantage for either team.
"When you come off a performance where all three facets of the team have a chance to contribute, it creates energy. It creates momentum. But each week is a new challenge in itself. Going against Dunnellon doesn’t allow us to have any hangover."
Trinity Prep at Citrus, 7 p.m.
Yes, Citrus had gotten off a 2-0 start under new head coach Robert O’Brien. And yes, he has gotten asked about it plenty.
"I talked to our kids about it the other day. We don’t feel anything about it. Our focus is not being 2-0, our focus is going 1-0," O’Brien said. "We focus on going 1-0 every week, taking care of business that week and getting better that week. Everything else will take care of itself.
"A lot of kids are buying into what we’re doing. They’ve had a bunch of different coaches the last few years and it’s a difficult process to get kids to buy in. But the kids are buying in and realizing it’s a process."
Trinity Prep (1-1), a 3A school, is coached by Mike Kruczek, who was Terry Bradshaw’s backup at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late ‘70s and was head coach at UCF from 1998-2003.
"They have a very good offense, very good athletes," O’Brien said. "They have a big offensive line and they spread the ball out a lot. It’s a tough matchup for us.
"We don’t see a lot of teams go empty (backfield). … We don’t ever go empty in practice. You just don’t see enough of that around here."
Weeki Wachee at Lecanto, 7 p.m.
For the second week in a row, Lecanto finds itself in a matchup for teams seeking to rebound from a lopsided loss.
Last week the Panthers (0-2) failed to reverse their fortunes against Crystal River, but hope they can do so against Weeki Wachee (0-2).
Lecanto has given up a combined 88 points over their first two games, while the Hornets have been yet to score a point this season. So something has to give.
"They’ve played two tough teams," Lecanto head coach Greg Harper said of Weeki Wachee. "Their defense played really well. Offensively we’ve got our work cut out for us. Their defense is stout, offensively they’re fast. They’ve driven the ball, they just can’t finish drives. I’m sure they’re licking their chops watching our film, seeing the struggles we’ve had."
Harper said senior quarterback Ryan Rogers should be good to go after suffering a knee injury against Crystal River. The Panthers held only voluntary practices on Monday and Tuesday, and it’s still been a crazy week, according to Harper.
"We went back to basics," Harper said. "Obviously the last two weeks we haven’t been able to block and tackle well, and that’s what we went back to. We’re trying to do things better to get off this slide.
"We haven’t had a lot of time of mope around. It’s still early in the season. That’s our concentration right now. Things haven’t gone our way but that doesn’t mean they won’t finish our way."
Seven Rivers Christian at Keswick Christian, 7 p.m.
Seven Rivers finally got to open its season last week with a 47-28 loss to Legacy Charter. So if nothing else, the Warriors finally had some game film to study.
"The guys did a good job of responding," Seven Rivers head coach Monty Vann said. "I know the score looked back, but that game our guys know we should have won. We didn’t get beat, we beat ourselves. I think the attitude in practice has been if we don’t beat ourselves, if we execute and do our jobs, good things will happen."
Keswick Christian comes in 1-1, and Vann praised the work of the Crusaders head coach Phil Hayford.
"You’ve got to stop their running game," Vann said. "They run a single wing. Single-wing teams always give teams issue because it’s not a traditional set offense."