SPRING HILL- There’s already been a few big games that have taken place in Hernando County this season but this one might be one of the gunner rivalries.
The Glory Days Burger Bowl always pits Hernando and Springstead, with a trophy being given to the winning team at the end of the game. What could be better than that, huh? Well, sure, a lot of other things but this game always makes for a lot of excitement especially with both teams playing good football right now in 2021.
When looking at this matchup on paper, both teams are stinging from losses the Friday previously. Hernando coming off a high in beating Nature Coast, traveled up to face The Villages and took one to the chin 42-15. Springstead played host to Belleview and the Rattlers defeated the Eagles 41-21. Each team is going to be hungry to bounce back from disappointing losses.
Hernando (3-2) relies on running the football effectively and playing really stingy defense. The Leopards are led in the ground game by Jordan Williams (47 carries, 276 yards) and Brian Lewis (32 carries, 266 yards). Quarterback Blake Smith hasn’t been too shabby either when it’s come to being a dual-threat player, passing for 301 yards and rushing for another 138.
On the Springstead (4-2) end of the spectrum on the offensive side of the ball, the Eagles have been much more efficient under the guidance of Bill Vonada’s playcalling. The Eagles have multiple players over 300 yards rushing in Cross Licht and Owen Andress. Quarterback Nick Centola has been steady as the signal caller for the club, passing for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
The defensive side of the ball for both teams is something they each place heavy emphasis on, as the Eagles are led by senior linebacker Jordan Novomestky, who leads the state in tackles at 85 and also has 12 tackles for loss. For Hernando, they are led in the front seven by linebacker Sam Sternberger, who leads the Leopards in tackles with 53. Each team plays very tough upfront and will need to in order to stop the opposing team’s rushing attack.
This will be a very hard-hitting, grind-it-out affair between the Eagles and Leopards. It always is. Neither team likes to throw the ball a whole ton and in order to win, it’ll be through running the ball and playing good defense. The question is who can do that better on Friday night?
PREDICTION: Hernando 20, Springstead 18