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Cotey: The Top 25, or the calm before the storm

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Mon. October 15, 2012 | John C. Cotey | Email

Cotey: The Top 25, or the calm before the storm

Things are starting to get serious here in the Top 25, and a few weeks of little movement should explode this week into a ranking free-for-fall.

Consider: No. 2 plays No. 14, No. 3 plays No. 20, No. 5 plays No. 22, No. 7 plays No. 11, No. 10 plays No. 16 and No. 12 plays No. 23.

Mix all that up, add a dash of district implications and a splash of bitter rivalry, and I’m already looking forward to next week’s poll.

But for now, here’s this week's Top 25:

1. Largo 6-0 (1): Only team remaining on Packers schedule with a winning record is Lakewood Ranch (4-3) as Largo tries to post first perfect regular season since 2007.

2. Armwood 6-1 (2): Stil winning, but these aren’t your daddy’s Hawks. More like your crazy uncle, who shows up at Thanksgiving every year and creates a scene, but is always entertaining.

3. Plant 5-1 (3): The Panthers have given up 33 points to one team in Louisiana, but just 41 to five teams in Florida.

4. Robinson 6-0 (4): Carlos Duclos had an interception Friday, but did not return it for a defensive score and had to push the team bus home for punishment. It’s a team rule. What can I say?

5. Pasco 6-0 (5): The last time Pasco allowed a point, gas was $1.32 gallon, Donnie and Marie Osmond topped the Billboard charts and coach Tim McHugh wasn’t even shaving yet.

6. Countryside 6-1 (6): Oh, Canada. Sigh.

7. Lakewood 6-0 (7): The last time Lakewood had four shutouts in one season was 1989. Is this defense better? It will need to be -- the Spartans didn’t even make the playoffs in 1989.

8. Durant 6-0 (9): The Cougars' last major obstacle to a 10-0 regular season is rival Newsome this week. The last time the winning team didn’t score at least 33 points in this one was 2008, so we’re expecting fireworks as usual.

9. East Lake 5-2 (10): The Eagles once again emerged from the toughest part of their schedule a little bruised and beaten but seem to be flying high at the right time.

10. Clearwater Central Catholic 5-1 (11): John Davis with an extra week to prepare for the biggest game of the year against Berkeley Prep? Bucs coach Dominick Ciao with an extra week to prepare for the biggest game of the year against CCC? SIGN ME UP!

11. Jesuit 5-2 (14): Crouching Tigers, hidden dragon?

12. Sickles 4-2 (13): A-DAY-KUN-RAY-RAY. That is all.

13. Tampa Bay Tech 4-2 (14): Titans need to make sure they don’t look at next two weeks as tune-ups for Gaither.

14. Hillsborough 5-1 (8): Terriers drop first game without injured star Jordan Sherit, and now all they have to do is beat Armwood to save their season.

15. Wharton 4-2 (15): The Wildcats beat neighborhood rival Freedom by more than 20 points for the third straight year. One more game like that, and Wiregrass Ranch gets to replace Freedom as the rivalry  game.

16. Berkeley Prep 6-0 (16): The Bucs put Hillsborough County’s longest current win streak on the line Friday in the biggest game of the year. I’m hoping to watch the game on a plasma flat screen from a leather couch while eating wings in the new Straz Field House. Putting in reservations today.

17. Springstead 7-0 (17): The Eagles have allowed seven points in each of their past four games, and won them all. I think it’s time to declare the Springstead defense the most underrated unit in Tampa Bay.

18. Gaither 5-1 (18): The Cowboys just need to gallop into Nov. 2 without any additional losses to have a shot at capturing a district title.

19. Alonso 4-2 (20): Ravens playing best ball of the season behind Brandon Hawkins, Ish Witter and Marcus Mosley, so one could reason this might be the year they knock off a vulnerable Plant team. Until one considers the last three seasons, the Panthers have beaten the Ravens by a margin of 139-34.

20. Fivay 5-1 (22): Can the Falcons beat mighty Pasco this week? Umm, let’s start with this first: can they score on Pasco? Convince me, and then I’ll entertain that first question.

21. Jefferson 2-4 (25): Shhhhhhhh.

22. Tampa Catholic 6-1 (24): The Crusaders know how to schedule the end of a season: Homecoming, then a do-or-die against Berkeley Prep, and then arch-rival Jesuit. Who needs playoffs with that stretch run?  

23. Palm Harbor University 5-2 (NR): Yes, East Lake, the Hurricanes still plan on being a huge thorn in your side this season. I’m just starting to wonder if that thorn will be removable this time.

24. Pinellas Park 4-2 (19): The good news: Kenny Crawford's alma mater won its first game last week. The bad news: It was against Crawford's team.

25. Northeast 5-2 (23): The Vikings have surrendered 123 points the past three weeks.

Close, and yet: Hernando 4-3, Sunlake 4-2, Newsome 3-3, Indian Rocks Christian 5-1, Admiral Farragut 5-1.

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