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I don't make too much of fall preseason classics. I attended one where a coach promised it would be vanilla, and promise kept.
I attended another where the junior varsity teams played in the first quarter. Sure, Pinellas Park's kiddies scored 34 points in that quarter, and I was almost tempted to rank a JV team for the first time ever, but I resisted.
The classics, however, do give us a glimpse into what we have missed or misdiagnosed in the offseason, so I felt it only appropriate to tweak my rankings a touch.
I felt good about them last week. Now, I feel great about them.
1. Plant (1)
Nothing happened to change my mind. Even missing some key pieces, the Panthers rolled.
2. Armwood (2)
Predictably rolled over Gibbs, but same Hawk style -- fast, hard-hitting and aggressive.
3. Countryside (3)
The Cougars would move up if the top two teams weren't Plant and Armwood. They took it to Lakewood, shutting down the Spartans' vaunted passing game.
4. Largo (4)
Juwan Brown will face a much better defense this week, but after watching highlights of the Largo-Bayshore game, wow.
5. East Lake (5)
Artavis Scott returned two punts for scores, prompting this quote from the Charlotte punter: “Maybe later on the season, once we figure things out, the coaches would tell me, ‘This dude’s fast, don’t kick it to him.’” Yeah, that's a good idea.
6. Jesuit (6)
No one put together a longer drive Friday than the Tigers, who finished the day with 985,600 yards. Unfortunately, those were all picked up while driving a bus back and forth from wet Miami.
7. Robinson (8)
The more I hear about how well Zain Gilmore is throwing the ball, the more I think a big-time playoff run looms in Robinson's future.
8. Tampa Bay Tech (9)
Said it last week, I'll say it again: Beware the Titans. They have all the pieces.
9. Pasco (6)
Yes, they were without Janarion Grant, their best player in Friday's loss to Hernando. And sure, it was only preseason. But maybe I haven't measured the loss of Jacob Guy adequately.
10. Hillsborough (11)
The Terriers surrendered five sacks, not a good sign when protecting a young quarterback. But the running game has been bolstered by the addition of Sickles' transfer Jakarius Crittenden.
11. Clearwater Central Catholic (12)
Remember the name Jordan Adderly, a defensive end. One of a handful of CCC players I expect to emerge this year as eye openers, especially on that Marauder defense.
12. Hernando (19)
My knee-jerk pick of the week. I heard rave reviews from those that were there, and Tyrail Hawkins looked as good as he ever has. Which is saying something, because Hawkins almost always looks realy good.
13. Jefferson (10)
The Dragons didn't look good Friday against Tampa Bay Tech, but they're not THAT bad, are they? Are they?
14. Sickles (15)
I'm not going to call Friday Ray Ray McCloud's coming-out party, but his effort combined with a relentless defense has me more confident that the Gryphons will be in the playoff mix.
15. Gaither (14)
The Cowboys are no strangers to slow starts, and a solid effort in a loss to Sickles is something to both correct and build on. The front line has to keep the enemy off QB Alex McGough, though.
16. Lakewood (13)
The Spartans usually start fast, and this year, are starting slowly. Maybe that's a sign. It's certainly a positive way to look at things. What isn't is this: they abandoned their running game early, which does not portend well for the future.
17. Wharton (17)
The Wildcats didn't play their starting quarterback or midle linebacker, and they still crushed Riverview, which probably says more about the Sharks than the Wildcats at this point.
18. Alonso (20)
The Ravens did exactly what I thought they would against Spoto, and I'm really liking the Brandon Hawkins-to-Marcus Mosley combination. I think it will be one of the area's most productive.
19 . Durant (21)
Mike Gottman told me Saturday that he thought Jamarlon Hamilton looked faster, and his ability to catch out of the backfield makes the Cougars that much more dangerous.
20. St. Petersburg (16)
The Green Devil defense gave up a bunch of big plays Friday against Sarasota Riverview, so concerns about the secondary are warranted. But I'm betting the coaching staff has the Green Devils ready to go when it matters most.
21. Pinellas Park (18)
Even some of the Dunedin players were impressed with how big the Patriots' offensive line looked. That will have to translate to a more effective running game for success this season, however.
22. Newsome (NR)
Fact: The Wolves will run for 2,500 yards. Another fact: I may be a little low on that projection.
23. Steinbrenner (23)
Curtis Fitch looks ready to head up an explosive offense. Next week, the Warriors plan on showing up with their defense, too.
24. Nature Coast Tech (24)
The Sharks did not play a preseason game, and we'll know this week if they should have.
25. Berkeley Prep NR
The Bucs have a good young quarterback in Brad Mayes, a ready-to-pop running back in Chris Williams, and great coaching. That's a recipe for success in 2012.
Teams I almost ranked: It's too soon, but watch Dunedin; you know I've been on River Ridge's bandwagon since the spring, I just don't have a very good seat at the moment; Gibbs is judged harshly by the loss to Armwood, but it's Armwood, so maybe not fair?; Spoto may be a little thin, but Eric Moate is going to win a few games this season; I like Land O'Lakes but let's see what happens at quarterback, and man, does Zephyrhills sound awfully fun to watch.