Cotey: Come see what's in the Football Grab Bag this week!



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Wed. September 14, 2011 | John C. Cotey | Email

Cotey: Come see what's in the Football Grab Bag this week!

Sigh. So two of my upset picks, St. Pete over Palm Harbor University and Strawberry Crest over Bloomingdale, were off. And I had Cambridge winning 51-50, but Canterbury won 44-43, so I think I deserve a half-point. And of course, I got East Lake wrong. But 8-4 is better than you did, even if you won't admit it.

And awaaaayyyyyyyyyyy we go:

Top 12 games of the week
1. #5 Countryside at #6 Largo
I'm very bitter I can't see this game. Verrrrrry bitter. That is all. Largo wins 34-20.

2. #14 Tarpon Springs at #13 East Lake
Spongers get their first stiff test of the season. The Eagles have spent all week licking their clipped wings, but I think they fly again this week, 38-28.

3. #4 Jesuit at #9 Robinson
I liked this game better last year, when it, WITHOUT A DOUBT, decided the 1-2 spot in the district. With Lakewood and Gibbs in the mix, not sure that's true, but let's pretend shall we? Jesuit is your winner by the way, 28-24.

4. #10 TBT at #1 Armwood
I actually think Tampa Bay Tech has a chance to pull off the upset here. It's a slim one, though, and not one I'd bet on. Armwood takes it 30-13.

5. #21 Gibbs at #19 Spoto
I think Gibbs has an answer for Spoto's athletic bunch of wide receivers in defensive back Gary Simon, who may be the best player in Tampa Bay through two weeks. However, I'm not sure Spoto has an answer for wide receiver Gary Simon. Gibbs 23-21.

6. #12 Hillsborough at #26 Newsome
Terriers' passing game has struggled mightily, but I think the defense and rushing attack carries the ball…and the day, 17-14.

7. #23 Admiral Farragut at Canterbury
Last year Canterbury battled the Blue Jackets with about eight players, two rolls of tape and three cardboard cutouts of Ray Lewis. They are deeper this year, but not deep enough as Farragut rolls 37-20.

8. Dixie Hollins at #25 Pinellas Park
The Patriots had high hopes entering the season, and they were dimmed a bit by last week's loss to Largo. How they bounce back against a Dixie Hollins team that might be better than people think with 70 points in two games will tell us a whole bunch. It will tell us Pinellas Park will be just fine, with a 28-21 win.

9. Riverview at Leto
Oh, it's just too cruel to make up some bowl nickname for this, so I'm going to be nice this week. Well, nice to Riverview, anyway, who I'm picking to win 18-16.

10. #37 Northeast at #34 Boca Ciega
I think Bogie's aggressive defense gets the best of the upstart Vikings, 27-10.

11. #40 Steinbrenner vs Strawberry Crest
This budding rivalry won't be much of one. Steinbrenner wins 23-6.

12. Dunedin at #38 Blake
I'm throwing this game in here because I happen to think this might be Dunedin's last chance for a victory this season. Which makes picking Blake 35-14 a little sadder.

Picks to click
Last week I said East Lake's Tyler Lane would score twice, and he did. I said Lakewood's Rodney Adams would score three times, he scored twice. I said Tommy Eveld would throw four TD passes, and he didn't even start (but did throw a TD), and Louis Pappas did not get to 300 yards passing, but he could have (I should have picked King's Greg Windham, who did go over 300.)
This week's picks: Admiral Farragut's Cortavious Givens gets his first 100-yard game, Bogie's Elijiah McClendon scores his second defensive touchdown of the year, Largo's Derrick Doss scores two rushing touchdowns and Jesuit's Travis Johnson breaks out with 100 yards and two scores.

Looks like Middleton will be starting Division I-A wide receiver recruit Richard Benjamin at quarterback this week. Benjamin brings some much needed athleticism and quickness to the position in the Tiger'; new pistol offense.

Century club
Alonso has had a different 100-yard rusher each of its first two games: Ish Witter (101 yards, Week 1) and Brandon Holloway (106 yards, Week 2).

Meaningless stat of the week
Greg Windham (188) has rushed for more yards than Lakewood, Clearwater, Steinbrenner, Northeast, Gibbs, Boca Ciega and St. Petersburg Catholic.

I'm impressed with…
The patience Admiral Farragut coach Chris Miller is showing. His team has outmanned opponents, but Miller isn't unleashing his team's full force just yet. Rusher Cortavious Givens only has nine carries, Todd Macon is the only back with more than 100 yards on the season (with 107), there's no receiver with 100 yards yet and the Blue Jackets have only thrown 23 passes. Pretty scary for a team that has still managed to score 93 points in two games.

Good hands people
1. Chris Murray, King: 7 catches for 246 yards, two TDs last week.
2. Kenyatta Merriex, Tarpon Springs: nine catches, 229 yards, two TDs in Week 1.

Multi-tasker of the week
Offensively, TBT's Cludner Lacount is off to a terrific start. He had 95 yards rushing and 88 receiving in last week's win over King, and for the season has 461 yards from scrimmage.

Defensively, Nature Coast linebacker Richard Hart had 12 tackles, two sacks, recovered a fumble and punted eight times for a 37.3 average against Fleming Island.

Terrific triplets
Make an argument if you honestly think there's a better trio of players that is more important to their team than Pasco's Trey Dudley-Giles, Janarion Grant and David Emmanuel. Emmanuel had 270 total yards last week in his first game, Grant has 212 total yards and six touchdowns, as well a kickoff return for a touchdown, and Dudley-Giles has 165 total yards and three scores plus a punt return touchdown. Add it up, and the trio has 22 carries for 258 yards, 18 catches for 379 yards and 14 total touchdowns.

Brother act
Wesley Chapel has the only set of brothers who have each thrown touchdown passes this season -- Ty Tanner threw for one last week, and Keegan, the starting quarterback, has thrown for five.

Passing fancy
Speaking of Keegans, St. Petersburg quarterback Keegan Oberholzer has thrown 35 passes already, something last year's quarterback, David Jones, didn't do until the team's fifth game.

Top TD-to-INT ratios
Jacob Guy, Pasco: 8-0
Cameron Stoltz, Sunlake: 7-0
Deston Nichols, Berkeley Prep: 7-0
Casey Woods, Indian Rocks Christian: 6-0
Louis Pappas, Tarpon Springs: 7-1

Mr. Touchdown
All three of Tarpon Spring's Dondre Daley's catches last week were for touchdowns, and his only pass went for a touchdown as well.

Canterbury's Brent O'Neal had one of the best games of the week, rushing for more than 100 yards, returning a kickoff and interception for touchdowns and running in the winning two-point conversion in overtime of a 44-43 win over Cambridge. Factoring in his return yardage on kicks and interceptions, plus his rushing and receiving, O'Neal has 592 yards in two games. Wow.

Kicker of the week
St. Petersburg's Sean Covington is averaging 40 yards a punt and has put three of his five kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

Unsung hero of the week
Sickles isn't known for its passing attack, but last week 6-3, 170-pound junior wide receiver Bilal Salat showed the Gryphons might have a little something up their sleeves this season. Salat caught five passes for 157 yards from new quarterback Nate Mills, including two touchdown passes. That was the most for a Gryphons receiver since Chris Nahat had 10 catches for 188 yards in a loss to Durant on Oct. 16, 2009. Defensively, how about Matthew Williams of Gibbs? He had 12 tackles and recovered a fumble in the season opener, and in last week's win over Lennard had five more tackles and picked off a pass.

Who's going to stop big Indian Rocks Christian tight end Sean Culkin at the Class 2A level? So far, no one. The Division I-A recruit has 10 catches, five for touchdowns, and has also rushed three times for 55 yards.

Name of the week
Alex Muchnok, Tarpon Springs. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound defensive end has been doing much knocking (see what I did there?) of quarterbacks, with three sacks this season.

Sophomore sensations
For all the talk of the quarterback matchup last week in the East Lake-Countryside game, we ended up seeing two of the best up-and-coming sophomore defensive backs in Pinellas County: Eagle Devin Abraham and Cougar Mike Johnson, who both had two interceptions (and Johnson returned one of his for the key score in the game).

Tackle champ
St. Petersburg junior linebacker Thomas Bennett has 37 tackles in two games.

Best WR/DB combo?
How about Sunlake's Rashaud Daniels and Jamal Jones? Daniels has six catches for 142 yards and three TDs, and Jones has six catches, 160 yards and four TDs. Each guy also has an interception.

Matchup of the week
Countryside's Diomi Roberts is going for his 10th 100-yard rushing game this week against a Largo defense that has only giving up 227 yards (3 yards a carry) in two games.

Big numbers
Cambridge won the yardage battle 547-314 but lost the game 44-43 to Canterbury last week. And yes, that's 861 total yards put up in that game. Cambridge, by the way, is over 1,000 total passing and rushing yards on the season.

Sack attacks
Steinbrenner has eight sacks, led by 3 from Alex Vega and 2 by Nick Bosco. But Sunlake has eight sacks as well, only each one by a different player: Nick Morrison, Darren Bainbridge, Ray Busbee, Randy Silverwood, Ben Chin, Nick Hoffman, She'ron Wilkins and Kevin Lopez.

My two cents
I never know what to make of tackle stats. I'm pretty sure not everyone tallies them the same way. For example, last week, Fivay listed in its stats that the team had 89 tackles. But Springstead (corrected) only ran 59 rushing and passing plays. This isn't all that unusual, I'm just wondering if tackles aren't becoming like basketball assists or volleyball aces and kills: open to interpretation.

UPDATED NOTE: According to Springstead's stats (on MaxPreps) they threw 21 passes and ran 38 times. That's 59....and 6 of those passes were incomplete, so I'll assume there was no tackle on an incomplete pass, so technically we are now at 53 plays. The Eagles punted 4 times and kicked off 3 times. So, where are the 29 other plays (assuming there was a tackle on every one of those 60 other plays, which is doubtful)? Who knows.

I'm not criticizing tackles, or Fivay's way of scoring them, which technically was 60 tackles and 29 assists for 89 tackles. I was just pointing out that everyone seems to score them differently. For example, Fivay completed 9 passes and rushed 31 times for 40 plays, but Springstead only had 36 tackles (18 solo, 18 assists). Clearly, both teams scored differently.

Times preps columnist John C Cotey can be reached at cotey@sptimes.com, or on Twitter @JohnnyHometeam.


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