Dear Lakewood, Land O'Lakes, Newsome and Leto -- Thanks. Thanks a lot. Sigh. Okay, fine, I forgive you. Time to put last week's 8-4 record in the rear view mirror and move on.
The Dandy Dozen
1. Plant at Armwood
Some think the Hawks slipped up last week and showed vulnerability. I think Hillsborough merely delivered a nice slap to the face that woke them up. Armwood win 26-7.
2. Lakewood at Robinson
The Spartans got lucky last year when Blake had to forfeit a game, letting them into the playoffs. No luck required this year. They must win. And do, 29-24.
3. Pinellas Park at Countryside
The Patriots are looking to join the Pinellas County elite. Are they ready? Not quite. Countryside holds on 28-14.
4. Lakewood Ranch at Largo
The Packers haven't lost a district game since 2005. That streak continues, 19-14.
5. Nature Coast Tech at Hernando.
The Battle of Brooksville goes to the hot team that still has something to play for as Leopards roll 24-14.
6. Brandon at Plant City
Have the past two weeks been wakeup calls for the Raiders? I think so. Plant City 33-14.
7. East Bay at Durant
One of these teams could be a sleeper in the postseason. Durant, I'm guessing. It wins 33-21.
8. Zephyrhills at Fivay
The Bulldogs have been quietly winning five straight by an average score of 45-9. It won't be that east this week, but gimme the Bulldogs 21-20.
9. Carrollwood Day School at Indian Rocks Christian
Both teams are out of the playoffs and have nothing to play for except stats. Should be fun. Indian Rocks wins 49-45.
10. King at Hillsborough
The Lions have to beat Hillsborough and Armwood to make the playoffs. That's not a thorn in their paw, it's an ice pick. Hillsborough wins 38-14.
11. Tarpon Springs at Boca Ciega
Remember when this game was going to be for the runnerup spot in 6A-7? Yeah, good times, good times. Tarpon finds a way, 30-20.
12. Sunlake at River Ridge
While everyone was in a tizzy over Land O'Lakes' playoff streak ending, River Ridge was plotting a run through that part of town and into the postseason. But, alas….Sunlake, 24-21.
What has happened to the Upset Special? Such a great start, such a slump down the stretch. This week, though, Tampa Catholic upsetting Alonso is a gimme, right? The Crusaders are on a mission, Alonso is in the dumps. Perfect storm.
Picks to Click
I'm going way off the grid to say that Darryl Richardson makes an impact, Bennie Coney tosses four touchdown passes, Hillsborough has two running backs go over 100 and Jordan Sherit has three sacks, IRC's Casey Woods passes 30 touchdown passes on the season, and yeah, Pasco gets 50, again. In the first half.
Unsung Player of the Week
Wharton's Darius Page is rarely, if ever, mentioned in the same breath with the county's best running backs, but he should be. Last week, Page rushed for a career-high 263 yards, his fourth 100-yard game of the season, and scored three times in a must-win over Bloomingdale. The past two weeks, Page is averaging 216 yards a game with four scores, and had a six-catch, 139-yard game against Plant as the Wildcats make a playoff push.
Largo had to hold off a stiff district challenge from Sickles the past two years, and this year with realignment the new headache for the Packers is Lakewood Ranch. The Packers haven't lost a district game since Sept. 30, 2005, against Gibbs. In that time, they have won 27 straight league games and six district titles. Lakewood Ranch and Largo are 3-0 in the district, and while Friday's game merely decides the home and away teams for the upcoming playoffs, the Packers' district pride is on the line, too.
Cause for Concern?
Plant City allowed 39 points in winning its first six games. After escaping an upset try by Alonso, the Raiders gave up 36 last week to East Bay.
Resurgent air attack
What's gotten into East Lake's Pete DiNovo and Artavis Scott the past few weeks? The dangerous duo have been relatively quiet this season, but seem to finally be in synch. Scott has had seven catches in each of the past two games, for 174 and 219 yards, and DiNovo is 26-for-36 for 529 yards and five scores, including his first 300-yard game. In fact, DiNovo has set career highs in passing in three of the past four weeks. Good timing for the Eagles.
Speaking of Heatin' Up
In his first six games, Jesuit's Travis Johnson had 18 catches for 215 yards. In his last two: 16 for 281 yards.
First Time for Everything
Eric Moate, who is averaging a Nelson Agholor-esque 11.3 yards a carry, could become Spoto's first 1,000-yard rusher. Moate now has 851 yards, and seems a sure bet to top the 1K mark. Danny Taylor (964 yards in 2010) and Jamar Burns (787 yards in 2009) have come the closest.
Can You Name…
1. The only team with two 700-yard rushers? It's Durant, with quarterback Nick Fabirizio and running back Jamarlon Hamilton.
2. The three teams who are led in rushing by a quarterback? Greg Windham (King), Tajee Fullwood (East Bay) and Jamal Roberts (Zephyrhills).
3. The guy Countryside's Diomi Roberts threw his first touchdown pass to last week? Yeah, it was Gray Crow, who scored the first touchdown of his Cougar career with the 10-yard reception.
4. The quarterback with at least two touchdown passes in every game this season? Indian Rocks Christian's Casey Woods.
Best Season Ever?
Pasco's Jacob Guy is putting up numbers that rival the best passing season in North Suncoast history. In 2003, Land O'Lakes' Drew Weatherford completed 151 of 215 passes (70.2 percent) for 2,494 yards and a 37-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 12 games. Guy is on pace, for 12 games, to finish 124-for-184 (67.5 percent) for 2,364 yards and 43 touchdowns.
(We may be missing someone due to unreported stats, but here's the players with 1,000+ yards rushing and receiving)
1. Brent ONeal, Canterbury, 1,581
(1322 rushing plus 259 receiving)
2. Robert Davis, CDS 1,524
3. Matt Breida, Nature Coast 1,336
4. Darius Page, Wharton 1,315
5. Eugene Baker, Bloomingdale 1,259
6. Tyrail Hawkins, Hernando 1,118
7. David Emmanuel, Pasco 1,068
8. Diomi Roberts, Countryside 1,045
9. Tyrell Garner, Brandon 1,042
10. Toddrick Macon, Admiral Farragut 1,025
As bad as Chamberlain has been the past three seasons, the Chiefs still have Gaither's number. In 2008, Chamberlain's only win was against Gaither 13-6. In 2009, the Chiefs won twice, but one of those wins was against Gaither 17-15. In fact, the Chiefs haven't lost since 2000 to the Cowboys, who try Friday to end the jinx against the 1-6 Chiefs. Three of the last six meetings have been decided by two points or less.
By the Numbers
0 -- interceptions thrown this season by Berkeley Prep QB Destin Nichols
2 -- points, the margin of defeat suffered by IRC in both games against 2A-5's first- and second-place teams, Canterbury and Admiral Farragut.
3 -- games of 270 yards or more rushing for Carrollwood Day's Robert Davis
4 -- straight 200-yard passing games by Blake's Zain Gilmore
7 -- straight weeks with a sack or interception for Northeast LB Auggie Sanchez
10 -- straight postseason appearances for Armwood, longest current streak in Tampa Bay once Jefferson and Land O'Lakes are officially eliminated.
20 -- number of players who have scored for Armwood this season
47 -- yards Pasco is averaging per kickoff return.
Top comments on HomeTeam
1. I want to congratulate the Hurricanes for this feat. It is a special time to be a player at that school. Being the first ever to accomplish a feat in your school's history is something they will never forget. All it took was some heart, dedication, belief, a new
coach, and an easy district. Congrats boys! -- Skurdhidingid on PHU making playoffs for first time.
2. Paper Champions.... Too bad Robinson and Jesuit don't care that Lakewood is supposed to be good. -- Mike Vick in a Box on Lakewood's loss to Jesuit.
3. All we heard all week was how fast their running backs were. We knew if we could stop them that their QB had a weak arm, couldnt get the ball off quick and would take the sacks. Coach Ciao really exposed that last night. Great job Boys you made them look like a JV team -- bpbucs on Berkeley Prep's win over CCC.
4. Sunlake looks like a bona fide football team, nice going. If only Land O'Lakes coach had bigger biceps and more sculpted calves, his muscles could have inspired his team more. -- hasselhoff making fun of Cotey mentioning a coach's WWE biceps in an article.
5. I can almost hear Prince singing "this is what it sounds like, when Greeks cry." -- hasselhoff on Tarpon losing to Osceola, and I love me my Prince.
Bonus: . -- sandlot with a very deep thought.