Cotey: Football top 25, Week 8



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Mon. October 14, 2013 | John C. Cotey | Email

Cotey: Football top 25, Week 8

A special playoff primer edition of the HomeTeam 25. According to our view, all but three of the top 25 teams are still hanging on to postseason dreams. The next two weeks will probably whittle that list in half. Here's how it might shake out:

1. Armwood (6-0)
Last week: No. 1, beat Leto 74-0.
Playoff snapshot: The Hawks are supposed to cruise to the district title, though we suspect King will give them a game for a bit. But otherwise, nothing is slowing down the Hawks.

2. East Lake (6-0)
Last week: No. 2, did not play.
Playoff snapshot: The next three weeks will decide things, as the Eagles, Pinellas Park and Countryside (all 2-0 in 7A-9) do battle. Each is 2-0 after beating the district's weaker teams, so it's about to get, as they say, real.

3. Largo (5-1)
Last week: No. 4, did not play.
Playoff snapshot: The Packers visit Venice this week, and their streak of nine straight district titles is in peril. The Indians are 6-1 and 1-0 in 6A-7, and averaging 40 points a game the past four weeks. Peril, we say. But the Packers will go to the playoffs regardless.
4. Tampa Bay Tech (5-1)
Last week: No. 5, beat Plant City 38-21.
Playoff snapshot: Freedom, Gaither and Sickles the next three weeks, and 7A-7 will be sorted out. We still think by the Nov. 1 game at Sickles, the playoff spots will have been decided, and who gets to play at home for the first round will be the big prize.

5. Plant (5-1-1)
Last week: No. 7, beat Sickles 24-20.
Playoff snapshot: It's easy to point to the Oct. 25 game at Wharton as the de facto district championship, but the Panthers were wobbly against Bloomingdale so it might be too soon to dismiss remaining district games against Newsome (this week) and Alonso (Nov. 1).
6. Tampa Catholic (5-1)
Last week: No. 6, did not play.
Playoff snapshot: Crusaders and Lakeland Christian (they play Oct. 25) are the only undefeated teams in 3A-4 at 2-0, but a desperate Berkeley Prep team cannot be overlooked this week. The Bucs have the slightest of playoff hopes, but the only way to keep them alive is with the big upset.
7. Pinellas Park (6-0)
Last week: No. 9, did not play.
Playoff snapshot: The Patriots and East Lake will be undefeated when they play Oct. 25 for, what we think, will be the district championship. But the bigger game might be the Nov. 1 game against Countryside. We think that will be a do-or-die for both teams.
8. Clearwater Central Catholic (5-1)
Last week: No. 9, did not play.
Playoff snapshot: The Marauders are the only unbeaten (2-0) team in 3A-5, but still HAVE to beat Calvary Christian this week and Admiral Farragut the next. If the Blue Jackets can stun CCC, it would create a three-way tiebreaker.

9. Jefferson (5-1)
Last week: No. 10, beat Lennard 55-13.
Playoff snapshot: We don't think anyone can hang with the Dragons, who have scored 104 points in two games since losing to Armwood, but like we said about the Hawks, King might be the most able to slow them down.

10. Sickles (5-1)
Last week: No. 3, lost to Plant 24-20.
Playoff snapshot: The Gryphons are in a dangerous spot, coming off a disappointing loss and playing Gaither. A few weeks ago, we would have predicted a rout. But if the Gryphons can't put the Plant game behind them, a loss to the Cowboys all but eliminates them from the postseason.

11. Wharton (6-1)

Last week: No. 12, beat Steinbrenner 45-28.
Playoff snapshot:: #prayforsean. #keepwinning. It's that simple for the Wildcats, who have to fight their way through the distractions this week against a dangerous Alonso team that will be officially eliminted from the playoff chase with a loss.
12. Lakewood (4-2)
Last week: No. 13, did not play.
Playoff snapshot: Lakewood will clinch a playoff spot with a win over Dunedin this week. With a win the following week over Tarpon Springs, the Spartans will be district champs.
13. Springstead (6-1)
Last week: No. 14, beat Central 37-0.
Playoff snapshot: The Eagles have a week off and if Land O'Lakes beats Sunlake on Friday, Springstead can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Mitchell on Oct. 25.

14. Land O'Lakes (6-0)
Last week: No. 15, beat Hudson 16-0.
Playoff snapshot: Lose Friday at Sunlake, and the Gators will have to beat Fivay and Springstead. But beat the Seahawks this week, and that all but seals a playoff berth.

15. Plant City (4-2)
Last week: No. 11, lost to Tampa Bay Tech 38-21.
Playoff snapshot: It wasn't too long ago that the Raiders were steamrolling towards the playoffs. But now, everything's a must win for Plant City. Either way, it will all come down to Oct. 25 against Strawberry Crest, regardless of what happens this week between the Chargers and Indians.

16. Hillsborough (3-2)
Last week: No. 16, beat King 28-27.
Playoff snapshot: The Terriers are pretty much eliminated from the playoff race, but with two last-minute, one-point wins the past two weeks, still making it fun for fans.

17. St. Petersburg (5-1)
Last week: No. 17, beat Seminole 35-7.
Playoff snapshot: The Green Devils host mighty Manatee this week, and a stunning upset combined with a PHU win over Sarasota Riverview would give them the 8A-7 championship. If not, the Green Devils have to beat Riverview on Nov. 1 for the runnerup spot.
18. Sunlake (6-1)
Last week: No. 18, beat Wesley Chapel 30-0.
Playoff snapshot: Beat Land O'Lakes this week and Fivay the next, hope Springstead wins out and go to the playoffs as the runnerup. Or, does Seahawk Nation pull for winning out, and hoping Land O'Lakes beats Springstead, forcing a high-risk, high-reward three-way tiebreaker? Hmmmm...
19. Countryside (5-1)
Last week: No. 19, beat Clearwater 49-0.
Playoff snapshot: Here's the good news: the Cougars' 94-0 scoring ratio in district games is tops in 7A-9. The bad news:  they haven't played East Lake or Pinellas Park yet. Win both, and you're champs. Split the games, and you should be in as the runnerup.

20. Zephyrhills (5-1)
Last week: No. 20, beat Nature Coast 37-16.
Playoff snapshot: The Bulldogs should beat Central this week (rare Thursday game!), and they can clinch the runnerup spot by beating Hernando the following week, if the Leopards eliminate Pasco on Friday.
21. Jesuit (4-3) 
Last week: No. 21, beat Ocala Trinity Prep 36-34.
Playoff snapshot: Well, at least the Tigers can rest assured they will be going to the playoffs with at least a .500 record after their current three-game win streak. Can't say they same for whoever gets the runnerup spot in this three-team district.

22. East Bay (5-2)
Last week: No. 22, beat Bloomingdale 13-12.
Playoff snapshot: Still a long ways to go for the Indians, but holding the tiebreaker over Plant City is huge. Beating Strawberry Crest Friday would be huger.

23. Strawberry Crest (4-2)
Last week:
 Unranked, beat Riverview 24-7
Playoff snapshot: The two biggest weeks in Charger history loom, with games Friday against East Bay and another the following week against Plant City. The Crest has to win at least one, which puts them at the playoff door with the key in hand.
24. King (5-2)
Last week:
Unranked, beat Robinson 24-0.
Playoff snapshot: No playoffs for King, but they could play spoiler with games left against Armwood and Jefferson. The Lions should be smarting from 28-27 and 14-0 district losses to Hillsborough and Chamberlain, but it probably wouldn't have mattered with the Hawks and Dragons hanging around.

25. Pasco (3-3)
Last week: 
Unranked, beat Weeki Wachee 46-7.
Playoff snapshot: Pirates have to win every remaining district game, and Friday's game against Hernando will not be easy. But if they get past the Leopards, Central awaits. Then it will all come down to Zephyrhills game Nov. 1.



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