HomeTeam 25: Football rankings, Week 7
1. Armwood (5-0)
This week’s opponent: at Tampa Bay Tech
Scoop: The Hawks haven’t given up a touchdown since a Sept. 11 game against Bloomingdale, so the defense is in good shape to take on a Tampa Bay Tech squad this week that is averaging nearly 23 points per game. By the looks of the rest of Armwood’s schedule, the Hawks’ likely won’t be giving up their top spot in the rankings any time soon.
2. Sickles (6-0)
This week’s opponent: at Plant
Scoop: Just how good is Sickles? We’ll find out this week when the Gryphons take on Plant, their toughest opponent yet. The Sickles’ defense — which is giving up just 2.3 points per game — will definitely be challenged more than it ever has this season, but we’re confident this year’s matchup will be closer than last year’s 54-6 decision in favor of the Panthers.
3. Clearwater Central Catholic (6-0)
This week’s opponent: vs. Ocala Trinity Catholic
Scoop: The rivalry game against St. Petersburg Catholic used to be closely contested. Not anymore. The Marauders won their 10th straight in the annual grudge match, including the past two by a combined 99-0. The win put CCC on top of the standings in Class 3A, District 6. That should not come as a surprise considering the Marauders are the only team in the district with a winning record. Up next is a game against 1-5 Trinity Catholic, which got its first win last week.
4. Plant (4-2)
This week’s opponent: vs. Sickles
Scoop: Plant rebounded nicely last week by handing Wharton its first loss of the season, and it did so handily, as Tykese Keaton-Baldwin rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Panthers to a 40-17 victory. The offense will need to be in tip-top form this week though to have a chance at snapping Sickles’ win streak and holding on to theirs in the district.
5. Clearwater (5-0)
This week’s opponent: vs. Gibbs
Scoop: After being held to 226 yards and scoring just three touchdowns in the first three games, Clearwater running back Adarius Lemons has gone on a tear, with a combined 489 yards rushing and five touchdowns in wins against Dunedin and Northeast the past two weeks. The Tornadoes are 5-0 for the first time since 1999 and have already surpassed the win total from the program’s previous two years combined.
6. Jesuit (6-0)
This week’s opponent: at Sarasota
Scoop: Jesuit has had one of the most dynamic offenses in Tampa Bay so far, averaging nearly five touchdowns per game, and Malik Davis is back to his old self after returning from injury, putting up 161 yards per contest. The Tigers’ next three opponents don’t have winning records, so we expect Jesuit’s dominance to continue.
7. River Ridge (4-0)
This week’s opponent: vs. Ridgewood, Monday; at Gulf, Friday
Scoop: The officials did not show up Friday so the Royal Knights play rival Ridgewood on Monday in a key Class 5A, District 8 contest. The game also features two of the best backs in the area, River Ridge’s Chris Schwarz and the Rams’ Glass Wilson. Then its another district game Friday vs. the winless Bucs.
8. Sunlake (6-0)
This week’s opponent: Idle
Scoop: The Seahawks are 6-0 for the second time in school history and are in position to make the playoffs for the third straight year after snapping a three-game losing streak to nemesis Springstead last week. Justin Hall has thrown for 13 touchdown passes and has a quarterback rating of 122.1
9. Lennard (5-0)
This week’s opponent: at East Bay
Scoop: Lennard had a close call against Strawberry Crest last week but managed to rally for a 28-21 win thanks to running back Jahryn Bailey’s four touchdowns. Next up is Lennard’s No. 1 rival East Bay, a matchup that will be even more heated this time around considering the two are in the same district for the first time.
10. Durant (5-1)
This week’s opponent: at Strawberry Crest
Scoop: Following their first loss of the season, the Cougars bounced back last week against Bloomingdale for a district win. They’ll have another chance to build up the momentum against winless Strawberry Crest before its most important stretch of the season — back-to-back games against Plant City and Tampa Bay Tech, which will have huge playoff implications.
11. Tampa Catholic (4-1)
This week’s opponent: vs. Land O’Lakes
Scoop: Tampa Catholic proved last week against district foe Berkeley Prep that its offense still can’t be stopped. That’ll likely continue this week against a Land O’Lakes team that has given up 61 points in the past two weeks.
12. Countryside (5-1)
This week’s opponent: vs. Largo
Scoop: Last week was the first time quarterback Trent Chmelik did not throw a touchdown pass in a game this season. The senior more than made up for that by rushing for three scores, including the tying touchdown that forced overtime in a 31-30 win over Pinellas Park. It was the first time since 2012 that Countryside had beaten the Patriots. Now comes another nemesis in Largo, which has won three straight against the Cougars.
13. Mitchell (4-1)
This week’s opponent: at Dunedin
Scoop: An opportunistic defense and a breakout performance from running back Mychael Hamilton were the difference in a 42-27 win over Pasco that keeps the Mustangs on top in Class 6A, District 6. During its four-game win streak, Mitchell is averaging 42 points on offense. That scoring trend should continue against winless Dunedin on Friday.
14. Nature Coast (5-0)
This week’s opponent: vs. Weeki Wachee
Scoop: All eyes will on running back DeShawn Smith to see what kind of eye-popping numbers he will post, especially after totaling 1,021 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns the past three games. Smith could have another big game against the Hornets, who gave up 61 points combined in games against two other top running backs, Ridgewood’s Glass Wilson and Central’s De’vonta Smith.
15. Pinellas Park (4-1)
This week’s opponent: at Lakewood
Scoop: Can the Patriots bounce back from an overtime loss to Countryside last week? Pinellas Park held the lead late but eventually lost by a point in overtime. Lakewood, on the other hand, handled Dunedin 57-0 on Friday. The Patriots must forget about last week and figure out how to deal with a team full of confidence.
16. Wharton (5-1)
This week’s opponent: at Wiregrass Ranch
Scoop: Wharton will likely be in a three-way battle for two playoff spots in Class 7A-8 with Plant and Sickles, and since the Wildcats have already lost to the Panthers, wins in their next two games — against Wiregrass Ranch and the Gryphons — are a must. Luckily for Wharton, it has an offense that has the capacity to be quite productive, having put up at least 30 points in four of its six games.
17. Plant City (5-1)
This week’s opponent: at Bloomingdale
Scoop: The Raiders showed just what their defense is actually made of by holding Tampa Bay Tech to three points in their 19-3 victory last week. That was a huge win for Plant City in terms of the district standings, and they’ll take on winless Bloomingdale before back-to-back tough games against rival Durant and Lennard.
18. Brandon (4-1)
This week’s opponent: vs. Spoto
Scoop: Brandon’s in the driver’s seat in terms of a playoff berth right now, but an Oct. 23 game against Hillsborough could be the ultimate decider. Until then, the Eagles — who are giving up just eight points per game — should rout the Spartans and could hold their own against Armwood.
19. Steinbrenner (5-1)
This week’s opponent: at Newsome
Scoop: The Warriors’ program-best win streak finally came to an end last week against district opponent Manatee, and they’ll have no time to rest with another big district matchup against the Wolves this week. Back-to-back district losses could put an end to Steinbrenner’s postseason dreams, so the Warriors will try to avoid that by leaning on a stingy defense that, until last week, was doing the trick.
20. Lakewood (4-2)
This week’s opponent: vs. Pinellas Park
Scoop: Dunedin was just what the Spartans needed. After two blowout losses and a slow start against Dixie Hollins, Lakewood won 57-0 over the Falcons. Lakewood used just about every player on the roster last week, including all three quarterbacks. Now the Spartans must deal with a physical offense and a defense with a chip on its shoulder.
21. Largo (5-1)
This week’s opponent: at Countryside
Scoop: The Packers have won four straight and are favored to make the playoffs for the 11th straight season. A big part of the recent streak has been the improved play of the defense. Since losing 28-25 to East Lake in Week 2, Largo has allowed just 16 points and has posted two shutouts. One of the biggest tests of the season comes this week against Countryside.
22. Zephyrhills (4-1)
This week’s opponent: at Ridgewood
Scoop: The Bulldogs average 46 points per game and have scored 69 and 52 points in their last two games. Ridgewood had to play River Ridge on Monday night, so the Rams will have to deal with the Zephyrhills offense on a short week. That’s a tough task, especially trying to stop running back Antwione Sims (924 yards, 13 touchdowns).
23. Northside Christian (5-0)
This week’s opponent: at Carrollwood Day
Scoop: Now the tough stretch begins for the Mustangs. After a bye week, Northside must travel to undefeated Carrollwood Day, which already beat Admiral Farragut in the season’s opening game. After that comes a district game against Indian Rocks Christian. We’ll see if the Mustangs got better during their week off.
24. Carrollwood Day (5-0)
This week’s opponent: vs. Northside Christian
Scoop: Carrollwood Day moves into the rankings this week as one of the few undefeated teams left in Hillsborough County. The Patriots will need all the positive energy they can get heading into a tough matchup with undefeated Northside Christian — a game that will knock one team off its perch.
25. Admiral Farragut (5-1)
This week’s opponent: at Landmark Christian
Scoop: The Blue Jackets literally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on Friday. Dontell Green yanked the ball out of Indian Rocks Christian’s Zeke McGaughy’s hands in the final minute, and AFA hung on for an overtime district win. Now comes a trip to winless Landmark Christian. The way the Blue Jackets are playing right now, this could be a running clock game.
Knocking on the door: Ridgewood (4-1), Palm Harbor University (3-1), East Lake (3-3).