After Pirates (2-2) blank Leopards, 7-0, Crystal River rolls into Booster Stadium


Eagles counter down two starters in Cabrera (shoulder), and Burgos (broken ankle)


SPRING HILL – Seventh-year F.W. Springstead skipper Mike Garofano would be the first to attest to any fan that you have to fortunate to meander your way to the post-season.

His Eagles are living proof.

Hernando County’s only unbeaten and untied team, Springstead, enters a crucial segment of its schedule this week.

After basically spending a month on the road, the Spring Hill crew returns home for the first of critical four home dates that will mold the remainder of SHS’ 44th campaign.

The Eagles, 3-0 overall, face Crystal River, Dade City-Pasco, archrival Hernando and Lecanto along its four-game home stand.

But as Coach Garofano would acknowledge, coaches must keep a keen eye at the wheel, or otherwise their landing craft veers off the road.

The Eagles feel fortunate to have escaped leaving Shark Tank Stadium two weeks ago, 30-19.

The win allowed the Mariner Boulevard crew to halt NCT’s four-year reign of terror to conclude locally.

But some will ask about the steep price tag.

Springstead High defenders Robert Carroll, Logan Blevens, 1, Adrian Cabrera and 25 Alex Peralta wrap up a Sunlake runner at Booster Stadium. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Springstead senior middle linebacker and backup fullback Adrian Cabrera, the county’s two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year, suffered a severe shoulder injury.

According to Garofano, the 6-foot, 200-pound Dominican dyano, has not practiced this week.

Adrian Cabrera
Makenxo Maysonet

Springstead’s other returning All-County defender, outside linebacker Mackenxo Maysonet, has been taking snaps at inside linebacker.

His backup, junior Nemo Pierre, has also trained this week to attempt to replace Cabrera, who has never missed a varsity game in four years.

But Eagles have other medical issues.

Starting sophomore cornerback Robert Burgos, who missed the Weeki Wachee game due to a jammed shoulder, returned against the Coast and turned in a four-tackle effort.

But in last week’s practice, he suffered a broken ankle.

Robert Burgos

The Eagles, one of the few Hernando County teams with three or less players going both ways, lost a critical piece of its pass coverage unit in the 5-foot-8, 135-pound Burgos, who will be lost for the remainder of the season.

Another first-year varsity player, sophomore Zeek Lewis-Baldwin, replaces Burgos at cornerback.

Fortunately, the injury report wasn’t all doom and gloom.

Senior quarterback Max O’Rourke, who had earlier suffered a shoulder injury and as a result did not start or play at Weeki Wachee, is at full strength.

Scott Lydting

Starting offensive tackle Scott Lydting, a 6-foot, 270-pounder, who was injured at NCT, practiced the entire week and showed no ill effects from the ankle injury.

For his part, Coach Garofano is leaning on his beefy offensive line to set the tone.

Mike Garofano

“Crystal River will be a great test,” pointed Garofano. “There were a a lot of things we had to clean up since NCT.

“…Those guys have played a tough schedule. They’re battle tested. It’s gonna boil down to who can control the other team’s offensive and defensive lines. Whoever does will have a leg up in this one.

“I hate losing someone like Burgos. We’d just seen the tip of the iceberg with him. He’s got a lot of natural ability. Hopefully, we can get him back for the playoffs.

“…Injuries are part of this game. You have to be lucky to make it to the playoffs without too many injuries,” added Garofano, who has never coached against CRHS.

“They‘ve a physical team. We can’t be in a panic mode to play them. We’ve worked a lot of cleaning up our assignments on offense and defense against them.” Garofano added,

By the Numbers:

Crystal River vs. Springstead

(Pirates lead series 9-3-0)

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Crystal River Pirates






L 0-20



L 6-14



L 5-34



L 3-10



L 6-25



L 0-35



L 16-42



L 6-39



L 12-20



W 34-10



W 21–14



W 42-7





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