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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

HOMETEAM PICK-EM: Ketchum adds another win, and Haggard moves to top of list

Ketchum if you can.

For the second time this season, picker Tom Ketchum fiishes atop the Pick-Em weekly standings, joined by Real Raider Fan and David C, as all three folks better a group of 93 contestants with a sterling 18-2 record.

Ketchum was the only one in the top 3 to take Northeast (Ryan Davis gets a Christmas card this year!), but Real Raider Fan was the only one who took Dunedin to beat Gibbs. But Real Raider Fan also went against the odds and took Carrollwood Day and River Ridge, costing him an outright victory.

And hey, David C and RRF, you need to email me ([email protected]) your real names, because you are qualified for the Grand Daddy of them all, the HomeTeam Playoff Extravaganza. I can keep you anonymous, if you want, but you can't compete in the World Championships of High School Football Picking -- where the big money or if I'm lucky at all, some cool prizes -- will be won. But I need to know who you are.  …

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A must-read, feel-good cross country story from Memphis

It’s easy to focus on the bad news in high school sports – the scandals and the injuries and questionable sportsmanship.

So here’s a feel-good story on a sunny Friday, from the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

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Seven juniors on ESPN's 2014 recruiting watch list

 ESPN provided more evidence that, as good as Tampa Bay’s 2013 recruiting class is, next year’s is might be just as good.

Seven area players made the watch list for ESPN’s top 300 players in 2014. They are...

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Jay Fulmer and the Gulf-Ridgewood series

Friday’s Gulf-Ridgewood game is one of the North Suncoast’s most intriguing matchups, not just because the teams are evenly matched and both looking for their first win.

Rams coach Jay Fulmer will return to Gulf, where he used to coach until the district suspended him for alleged recruiting violations.
Before Fulmer took over Gulf in 2005, the Bucs had lost three of their last five games to Ridgewood. Since then, the Rams have won only once against Gulf.
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Too early for Player of the Year thinking? Yes! Did that stop me? No!

Inspired by our weekly Monday night chat, in which we debated Player of the Year leaders -- it should be noted that most agreed it might be too early, but I just called them killjoys and moved forward on it -- here is Player of the Power Poll, or POPP!!!!!

These are the guys, if I was voting TODAY, would be my Player of the Year for Tampa Bay. If No. 1 wasn’t available, I’d take No. 2, and if No. 2 wasn’t available, I’d take 3, and so on.

Let the debate begin.



1. Alvin Bailey, WR, Armwood

Still the man. Our 2011 Player of the Year already has caught nine touchdown passes, and that’s just on 18 receptions. If my math is correct, he takes 50 percent of his catches to the house. Also, Bailey now has had a hand in at least TWO touchdowns -- via rush, reception or pass thrown -- in seven straight games. That’s cash dollars.

2. Juwan Brown, QB, Largo

Has emerged as the star we always said he was. If I’m picking a Pinellas County Player of the Year, he’s my choice.

3. Ryan Davis, QB, Northeast

Clearly no one is carrying his team more than Davis. He’s that good.

4. Robert Davis, RB, Carrollwood Day …

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Is being undersized overrated?

I've often argued that being undersized is overrated, especially with quarterbacks. Rivals agrees.

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HomeTeam Pick-Em Week 5: East Lake or Largo, who ya got?

 HomeTeam Pick-Em, Week 5. On a toughness scale, I'd rate this week a B. 

Here's our previous winners and automatic qualifiers into the HomeTeam Pick-Em Playoff Extravaganza:

Week 1: Tom Ketchum
Week 2: Tom Watson
Week 3: Neutral Observer and Mary Krause.
Week 4: GATA-SON!

Get some.



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Is this principal going to far? Or should she be applauded?

You know those little ceremonies Under Armour and the U.S. Army games have to present the participants of their All-Star events with jerseys? You know, the events that are either to honor the kids' selection or just a chance to get lots of free press coverage and advertising for the game?

Well, a principal in Santa Monica has taken the view that it's big companies taking advantage of kids to make money.

The player is USC verbal commitment Sebastian LaRue of Santa Monica High, and in an email to his mother principal Laurel Fretz wrote:

That's a stinging rebuke to ESPN and Under Armour, in this case. LaRue and his family may have to look elsewhere for a place to host the jersey presentation.

Not everyone in Santa Monica agrees with the stance taken. How about you?

The while story is right here. 


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GATA-SON! You go boy! Just one Hudson comeback from perfection.

 I would really like to praise Alejandro Tamayo, Bill Steele, @RonCanMultiTask, Big Blue, Coach Puskas, DTrain, joejoe, johnny and Ryan for their excellent work last week. I would like to crown them all champions, after a terrific week picking high school football games. I would like to officially present them with their ticket to the end of the season HomeTeam Pick-Em Playoff Challenge. After all, 18-2 is really, really good.

But I can't. Because y'all were merely runner-ups, bridemaids, losers if you will, to the nearly all-knowing, all-powerful GATA-SON!

Yep, dude (or dudette) went a sterling 19-1, missing only one game because Hudson's Noah Siegrist ran for over 180 yards and kicker Nathan Binder drilled a field goal right through the very heart and soul of GATA-SON. Okay, so that's a ittle melodramatic. But you get my point.

Of 112 entries, GATA-SON! was tops in a week I was sure there would be a tie at the top.

The big week also moved GATA-SON! into the top 20 overall standings, despite missing a week. Y'all bettah recogniiiiiize. …

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Should post-game handshakes be outlawed?

One more sportsmanship discussion, before we move on from the Wharton-Plant volleyball brouhaha and the Immokalee fight.

Duval County has apparently forbidden teams to shake hands after games, according to, the Rivals site which covers Florida high school sports.

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HomeTeam Pick-Em, Week 4: Who ya got, CCC or PHU?

Okay, I'm predicting a tough week for all you so-called experts, because some of the match-ups are cray cray. Or is it just cray?

Best match-up of the week? CCC-PHU. It's a toss-up. CCC is more talented, but PHU may be able to find some success with its power running game, ala East Lake. I'm still torn.

Past winners (and automaticlally entered in the Winner Only+Top 5 Overall Regular Season Finishers Playoff Spectacular (or WO+T5ORSFPS for short....memorize it):

Week 1: Tom Ketchum
Week 2: Tom Watson
Week 3: Neutral Observer and Mary Krause.

This week is right here, folks. get at it.


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HomeTeam Pick-Em Results, Week 3, better late than never, right?

I got an email this week from krausem1, whose name I will not reveal. She -- yes, she -- wanted me to make sure her picks were in. I checked. They were.

Good thing she checked. In her first week, krausem1 is a winner! She'll have to share top honors with longtime board contributor neutral observer, who used his years of playing and coaching Pinellas County football to be one of only 13 to pick Largo's upset of Countryside. But I'm more impressed by Mary being one of only 12 to pick Plant City's stunner over Gaither.

"I can’t believe it! I’ve been trying to read as much as I can on all the teams,'' Mary said via e-mail. "This is fun!"

In other words, Mary used the trasure trove of info I provide my fine readers to defeat me. That's kind of cold.

Both folks picked 17 of 20 games right. Very nice.

All weekly winners earn a spot in the Playoff Pick-Em Tournament. I just came up with that. Should be fun.

As for overall standings, well, say hello to our new leaders, Don Haggard and Tom Ketchum.

Haggard and Ketchum (a weekly winner) are both 40-15, and surged to the top by picking 15 games right last week.


RonCanMultiTask, hasselhoff and Hometeamer Matt Baker are right behind them at 39-16. …

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Delray Beach Atlantic and the ugliest uniforms ever

My eyes! They're burning!

That's the only feasible reaction to these new, hideous, neon uniforms at Delray Beach Atlantic, as noted by the Palm Beach Post. Check out the photo from the Post below, but please note that I'm not responsible for any damaged retinas the following picture causes:

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Immokalee fights after fans heckle own team

Forget Plant-Wharton volleyball. The Naples Daily News has a story on some unquestionably bad sportsmanship - from fans heckling their own team.

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Here's what being HomeTeam Hot Shot of the Week gets you

Remember our HomeTeam Hot Shots of the Week? Here’s Springstead LB Joe Predoehl modeling his stylish T-shirt after practice this week (and the one for Mitchell swimmer Taylor Anderson is en route). These T-shirts are guaranteed to make the ladies (or fellas) swoon in the hallways.*


Remember to nominate your top performers each week. We announce our athlete of the week contenders in Sunday’s paper (or online Saturday), and the winner is announced Monday evening.

* Not an actual guarantee

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