The poll awards points for each place voted on by five panelists — coreespondents Mike Camunas, Kenny Sanders and Andy Villamarzo, high school sports Doug Jacobs and staff writer Nick Williams — with 10 points for a first-place vote, eight points for second place, six for third, etc. First-place votes appear in parenthesis following team record.
1. Land O’ Lakes (4) 48
After a sluggish start by senior QB James Pensyl and playing without some starters who were suspended for the first half Friday, Land O’ Lakes, led by three touchdowns from Ethan Weilant, looked like a team ready for its first district title since 2008.
2. Pasco (1) 42
The Pirates offense, led by QB Grant Starling’s two touchdowns, got past a talented Ridgewood team that lacks depth. Coach Tom McHugh and company showed they’ve found the right personnel on defense to keep them in the Class 5A-District 6 race, especially if Pasco can score early and their strong defense keep opponents at bay.
3. Sunlake 24
The Seahawks didn’t show much in their preseason loss to Steinbrenner, as coach Bill Browning called it a “good practice” with “growing pains.” The team is still looking for all the puzzle pieces to a new defense, and on offense, expect senior RB Nathan Johnson to carry the workload for Sunlake to make the postseason again.
4. Zephyrhills 18
The Bulldogs couldn’t hold a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, however, coach Reggie Roberts and crew showed it has a deep, talented and athletic team that will turn heads this fall. Led by senior running back Jaylen Pickett and senior QB Ty Tanner, the Bulldogs want to end their postseason drought that goes back to 2006.
5. River Ridge 6
The Royal Knights finished 2013 at 3-7, however, that record may be different this season. Coach Ryan Benjamin has a talented squad, especially on offense that had RB Chris Schwartz and QB Patrick Mathieson lead a last-minute comeback on a vastly improved Brooksville Hernando team last week.
5. Wiregrass Ranch 6
On its second coach in as many years, the Bulls are laden with talent, including Division I recruits. Coach Arturo Meza has an offense led by QB Shane Bucenell and WRs Jaye Miner and Mark Hutchinson, but the defense will need to make stops if Wiregrass expects to get its first 7A-7 win in four seasons.
Also receiving votes: Anclote, Hudson