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October 25, 2013
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PLAYERS TO WATCH:
THE OUTLOOK Gainesville (6-1, 3-0) lost its opener at Columbia, but it has won six in a row since. The Purple Hurricanes are in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Meanwhile, the 'visiting' Hurricanes (7-0, 2-0) are three wins away from their first 10-0 season since 1987.
Citrus is going to run the football. They gashed Vanguard for 358 yards on the ground and they had 368 yards rushing in their county win over Lecanto last week. Pouncey leads the way with 631 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. The senior is averaging 8.53 yards per carry. He is one of five backs that averages 5.2 yards per carry or more. Moore is a dual-threat quarterback with four touchdowns on the ground and 11 touchdowns through the air, including zero interceptions. How well they run the football will likely determine whether or not they can reach their average of 38 points per game.
Gainesville is led by James, an Oregon commit, and an improving defense. Last week, James ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns, while the 'Canes defense held Vanguard's high-octane offense (averaging 38 points and 404 total yards per game) to just six points and almost 100 total yards below their average in a 35-6 playoff-clinching win. Young, who has 29 college offers, can stretch the field, while wingback Dontarian Evans provides a homerun burst of speed to compliment James' combination of speed and power. Giberti anchors the defensive line with his 6.5 sacks and 21 solo tackles.
Special teams could be big. In its win against Vanguard on Oct. 4, Citrus blocked two punts and an extra point. Last week, junior Desmond Franklin returned a punt 97 yards for a touchdown. He had a 55-yard punt return for a score called back because of a penalty. Gainesville will have to be disciplined because Citrus doesn't beat itself. GHS had a mid-season stretch where they committed 34 penalties in a two-game swing. They were fortunate to come away with a win in both of those games but can't afford those types of mistakes against an unbeaten team.