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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Pinellas Game of the Week: Countryside at Pinellas Park

The past two games between Countryside and Pinellas Park have been close, with the Cougars prevailing each time.

WHEN: Tonight, 7:30

WHERE: Pinellas Park High


Pinellas Park’s secondary will be tested tonight, with Countryside potentially using two different quarterbacks under center throughout the contest. The Cougars have athletic senior Robby Hicks (60-of-110 passing, 769 yards), who will likely start the game. Countryside lately has been bringing in sophomore Trent Chmelik, who has been equally as impressive, throwing for 568 yards and completing 39 of 59 pass attempts on the season. Chmelik holds the edge in turning over the football less through the air, as the underclassman has thrown only one interception compared to Hicks’ three. Both quarterbacks will need to be wise about where they throw the ball against Pinellas Park’s secondary, which has registered 18 sacks and 11 interceptions. “Both quarterbacks are good football players,” Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford said. “We just have to be ready for either one to step in.”


Running the football effectively is every prep school’s primary goal, and both Countryside and Pinellas Park have accomplished that this season. The Cougars are averaging 173.4 yards per game, with a total of 1,387 yards and 16 touchdowns overall. Leading Countryside’s backfield is junior Dante Stacher, who has rushed for 485 yards and scored six TDs, and senior Mike Johnson (417 yards rushing, 3 TDs). On the other side is Pinellas Park’s rushing attack, which is clearly the focal point of the’ offense. The Patriots, despite last week’s output, are averaging more than 390 yards rushing per game and have four players with 360 yards or more for the season, including Donte Maxson and Pierre Johnson with more than 800. Pinellas Park rarely puts the ball in the air, averaging 67 yards passing. “We’re going to execute the game plan,” Crawford said. “Control the clock, play good defense is what we have to do to beat Countryside.”


The past two games between Countryside and Pinellas Park have been close, with the Cougars prevailing each time. Now, with a playoff spot on the line, Pinellas Park is faced with the immense pressure of winning at home and coming away with the district runner-up spot to East Lake, which basically locked up the Class 7A-District 9 title last week. “It’s a must-win game,” Crawford said. “Our backs are against the wall right now. It’s either win and look forward to playing in the playoffs or lose and have to get up for that last game of the season.” The rivalry between these teams has been growing, and it will culminate with one reaching the postseason and the other playing for pride on the last week of the regular season.

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