Number 1. In the beginning we had Plant. In the end we had Armwood. In between, the sun rose and the birds chirped and it rained in the afternoon and kids practiced and we spent our Friday nights watching it all unwind to get here, as usual.
This is the final HomeTeam25 of the regular season. Once again, it was the closest-to-perfect rankings in the land. We traded our hits (Sickles in the preseason Top 10, Pinellas Park at 12, Tampa Catholic at 13) for some misses (Tampa Bay Tech, Pasco, Alonso), but at the end of the day, we knew as long as we kept Plant and Armwood near the top, all would be well.
1. Armwood (10-0)
Last week: No. 1, beat Strawberry Crest 40-6.
Cotey says: If the Armwood defense was a major-league pitcher, and points allowed were like earned runs, the Hawks would have been 66th in the MLB.
2. East Lake (10-0)
Last week: No. 2, beat St. Petersburg 54-0.
Cotey says: Apopka set the state scoring record with 529 points, but the Eagles aren't too far behind at 472.
3. Plant (8-1-1)
Last week: No. 3, DNP.
Cotey says: Panthers had the week off to prepare for a team they clobbered last year in the playoffs. And you cannot spell "clobber in playoffs" without C-O-L-B-Y. Just sayin'.
4. Jefferson (9-1)
Last week: No. 5, beat Steinbrenner 31-9.
Cotey says: I'm not saying the Jefferson-Largo playoff game has lost its luster, but I am glad I saved the receipt on my tickets.
5. Largo (8-2)
Last week: No. 6, beat Countryside 42-14.
Cotey says: Still Big Bank.
6. Sickles (9-1)
Last week: No. 7, beat Alonso 34-30.
A few more games to play, a few more records for Ray Ray McCloud III to set.
7. Springstead (9-1)
Last week: No. 8, beat Hernando 41-20.
Cotey says: We'll find out this week how much difference 10 weeks can make as the Eagles get a chance to avenge their only loss.
8. Lakewood (7-3)
Last week: No. 9, beat Northeast 51-7.
Lakewood Spartans totally crushed the Northeast Vikings last week. Did the coaches have a side bet, too? Loser leaves town? Or no?
9. Clearwater Central Catholic (8-2)
Last week: No. 10, beat Anclote 37-14.
Cotey says: Marauders closed out regular season with what might have been their best win of the season.
10. Plant City (8-2)
Last week: No. 11, beat Gaither 28-20.
Cotey says: Leading receiver T.J. Chase is back, and that has me thinking the Raiders might be able to do a little something in the playoffs.
11. Sunlake (9-1)
Last week: No. 12, beat Zephyrhills 19-14.
Cotey says: Sunlake let the Bulldogs score twice, which is quite generous considering they only let two other teams do that all season.
12. Pinellas Park (9-1)
Last week: No. 13, beat Dunedin 52-0.
Cotey says: The Patriots we're 8-0 against teams with losing records, and 1-1 against teams over .500. They will only be playing the latter from here on out.
13. Jesuit (7-3)
Last week: No. 15, beat Tampa Catholic 13-9.
Cotey says: The Tigers won their sixth straight game Friday night, their 14th straight over Tampa Catholic and snapped the Crusaders' eight-game win streak. The only streak missing was one across the field by a Blue Tide member, and thanks guys for sparing us that.
14. Tampa Catholic (8-2)
No. 4, lost to Jesuit 13-9.
The Crusaders need to pretend Friday never happened. You know, that game against that team and...heck, I think I've already forgotten.
15. Wharton (7-3)
No. 14, NP.
Spent the bye week trying to figure out how not to end its season in Orlando for the third straight season, and if so, how much would Disney tickets be on Saturday?
16. Pasco (7-3)
Last week: No. 16, beat River Ridge 49-30.
Cotey says: The Pirates put up their second-highest point total of the season, which is good news as the struggling offense heads to North Marion.
17. Hillsborough (7-3)
Last week: No. 18, beat Tampa Bay Tech 23-20.
Cotey says: Beating Tampa Bay Tech is a pretty sweet way for the young Terriers to wrap up a rebuilding season.
18. Indian Rocks Christian (8-2)
Last week: No. 21, beat Calvary Christian 34-14.
Cotey says: Has quitely emerged as a state semifinalist possibility.
19. Land O'Lakes (8-2)
20. East Bay (7-3)
Last week: No. 20, beat Lecanto 38-35 in OT.
Cotey says: Gators lost the two games they had to win, but a surprisingly good season for the Gators.
Last week: No. 24, DNP.
I hear Indians coach Frank LaRose spent the bye week cutting the sleeves off some new shirts to get ready for the postseason. Look out, world!
21. St. Petersburg Catholic (7-3)
22. Zephyrhills (7-3)
Last week: Unranked, beat Northside Christian 51-7.
Cotey says: Averaging 50 points during its four-game win streak. Rematch with CCC, anyone?
No. 21, lost to Sunlake 19-14.
Ended the season with two losses by 13 points, one of which eliminated them from the playoffs. That will leave a mark.
24. Gaither (5-5)
Last week: No. 22, lost to CCC 37-14.
Cotey says: Trent Crawford is just 5 yards short of joining teammate Willie Barrett in the 1,000-yard club.
No. 25, lost to Plant City 28-20.
Which Cowboy team will show up for playoffs?
25. Tampa Bay Tech (6-4)
Last week: No. 17, lost to Hillsborough 23-20.
Cotey says: When you figure out what happened with the Titans, shoot me an email, okay?