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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Pinellas Game of the Week: Countryside at Tarpon Springs

WHEN: Tonight, 7:30

WHERE: Sponger Stadium, Tarpon Springs

Countryside's offense on a roll

In the 49-0 win against Clearwater, Countryside coach Jared Davis used nine different players at running back, with no one having more than five carries. The nine ball carriers amassed 235 yards, while Robby Hicks and Trent Chmelik combined to throw for 107 yards. Two weeks ago, the Cougars rolled against Northeast, 45-0, led by Dante Satcher's 100 yards rushing. Satcher leads the team with 290 yards on 44 carries this season. Countryside is averaging 148 rushing yards and 156 yards passing.

Ford's running a key for Tarpon Springs

After missing two weeks because of a shoulder injury, Tarpon Springs running back Michael Ford had 83 yards against East Lake, and 153 yards and two touchdowns last week against Gibbs. “He's a physical back that just wears you down,” Tarpon Springs coach Ron Hawn said. “It might seem like teams are stopping him early on, but after a while, when it starts getting up there around 20, 25 carries, having to step up and make a tackle on him starts to get tougher and tougher on defensive players. By the third quarter, those 4-yard runs start to become 10-yard gains and then some.”

Tune-up for district play

It's rivalry week, so most of the games in Pinellas County are non-district matchups. Countryside enters its game with a two-game winning streak in which the Cougars have scored 94 straight points. Countryside has three straight district contests looming, featuring East Lake (6-0, 2-0) next at home, on the road against Seminole (1-5, 0-2) and another road contest vs. Pinellas Park (6-0, 2-0). Then, the Cougars finish the regular season with Largo. Tarpon Springs is coming off three straight road games (district wins against Dunedin and Gibbs and a loss to highly ranked East Lake). With district foe Lakewood (4-2, 2-0) next week, this is a great test for the Spongers, who finish the season with four consecutive home games. “We've had some good out-of-district competition so far this year that I think has prepared us well, like Tampa Catholic and East Lake,” Hawn said. “Those teams have been athletic and talented, and Gibbs had some athletic talent as well. Going up against a team like Countryside will present some difficulties, as well, and a game like this will only help when we face Lakewood.”

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