The second Friday night of the prep football season features a shortened slate, with Citrus on a bye and Lecanto having played on Thursday night.
One coach knows plenty about the opponent; the other knows nothing at all. Both local squads in action encounter matchups that are interesting for very different reasons.
Crystal River at The Villages, 7 p.m.
The Pirates faced a tall task opening the season with South Sumter last week, and now they have to hit the road to face The Villages this week.
Last time the Buffaloes lost a regular season game was at South Sumter — on Oct. 11, 2019. The Villages have won 10 straight in the regular season and 25 of 27 since the start of 2018. That includes a 42-7 victory over Lecanto last week.
“We set the schedule up intentionally,” Crystal River head coach Cliff Lohrey said. “We’re going on the road to face a team that has not lost a lot of regular-season games. We played them two years ago tough at our place
(28-18 loss). They’re coming off an impressive victory over a team in our county. It’s a challenge the Pirates are looking forward to.
“… Coach (Richard) Pettus has been there a long period of time. They always had a great program but 3-4 years ago they took that next step. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call them one of the best teams in our area. It’s a great challenge. I think we can go in and compete and come out with a victory.”
Crystal River will have to stop senior Ed Williams, who rushed 14 times for 146 yards and ran in two touchdowns against the Panthers. Quarterback Brandon Kennard threw for two touchdowns, and the defense accounted for five sacks and three turnovers.
The Pirates, who have struggled offensively the past couple seasons, showed promise a week ago as three players combined for four rushing touchdowns. Two of those were by Issac Edwards, who carried the ball just twice for 50 yards. Joel Velazquez totaled 11 carries, 91 yards and reached the end zone once, and David Paulen had the other score while tallying 70 yards on only two rushes.
“The game could have easily gotten away from us. But the guys bowed their necks and rallied the troops, and we were able to finish with pride,” Lohrey said. “To play with great body language and pride I think we can build on that for Week 2.”
Cornerstone Charter Academy at Seven Rivers Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Head coach Monty Vann and his staff have faced an unusual task as they’ve prepared the Warriors for this week’s opponent.
“I know nothing,” Vann said. “I don’t know personnel. I don’t know what we’re going to see. I heard they were a single wing team so that’s what we’re preparing for. Offensively, we’re preparing for a 3-4 team.
“It makes it tough when you have no idea what their personnel and schemes are, but it is what it is.”
The Ducks made a late coaching hire when they tabbed Lake Nona defensive coordinator Alan Lambert and didn’t play a spring game. Then they missed the preseason and Week 1 due to COVID-19 issues. So this marks their first game of any kind under Lambert.
Vann has been watching video of Lake Nona to try to get some sort of idea on Lambert’s tendencies, but for the most part Seven Rivers goes into this one blind.
“It’ll be good for us as coaches, can we adjust to something really quick?” Vann said. “Let’s get after this team, play a good game and adjust on the fly.”
A season-opening 41-6 win over Trinity Christian gave the Warriors plenty to feel good about, but also much to work on in several areas.
“It was a good win for us,” Vann said. “There are a lot of things that needed to be fixed. Going back to the film, it’s not as pretty as you thought it was. “We’ve got some key injuries we’ve got to work through. We’ve got to move people around.”
Seven Rivers will be missing three offensive linemen due to injury, including senior center Logan Alford (dislocated shoulder) but also left guard Kamryn Johnson and Hayden Thomas, an important depth piece up front.
Carmelo Cordero returns from missing out last week to bolster both the run game and secondary, however wide receiver Aiden Bergstrom (ankle) remains limited to spot duty.
“We’ve laid a good foundation,” Vann said. “We want to continue to build and build properly. I think it’s really important to keep the momentum going.”