It's final walk-through time. Fall Kickoff Classics are coming to area football stadiums all over Pinellas County Thursday and Friday nights, offering coaching staffs and communities, alike, a glimpse of what's the next three months have in store. While the final scores still won't have any bearing on official win-loss records, a solid portion of each game will show starting units on both sides of the ball trying to sync up during live-action situations. Because of some aggressive scheduling, four North Pinellas squads will get in gear against playoff squads from last season.
East Lake's Friday night trip to Manatee highlights the lot. Both the Eagles and Hurricanes are considered contenders for a run to the state final four in their respective classifications. Palm Harbor University High is the only one of the five northernmost public schools in Pinellas County not to be taking on a 2012 playoff contender, but essentially by a technicality. The Hurricanes travel to Tampa to meet the perennially competitive Jesuit High for a Thursday night tilt at 7 p.m. against a Tigers team that finished 7-3 last year. Dunedin High, coming off last year's spirited 6-4 campaign, gives its new-look roster an immediate test Friday night when the Falcons welcome Largo High. The other North Pinellas program playing host Friday is Tarpon Springs. The Spongers welcome Pasco County foe Anclote High south of the river a year after the Sharks made their first-ever postseason appearance. Rounding out Friday night's slate is Countryside heading to Clearwater Central Catholic at 7:30. Be sure to check into www.SuncoastNews.com for game coverage of this week's Kickoff Classics. Recaps, interviews and photos from Thursday night's PHU-Jesuit game and Friday night's Anclote-Tarpon Springs matchup will be posted following the action on the field. firstname.lastname@example.org (727) 815-1071