Times’ super 7
1. Armwood (7-0, 6-0): The Hawks scored more points in the second quarter against Lennard (35) than they’ve allowed in seven games this year combined (29).
2. Tampa Bay Tech (6-1, 3-0): The Titans’ 22-3 win over Freedom was sloppy (two fumbles lost, 18 penalties), but Bruno Jean and the defense had another strong showing.
3. Plant (6-1-1, 3-0): The Panthers’ next game will no longer be a matchup of the unbeaten in the district, but it’s still a big game for Plant, which can seal its district fate against Wharton.
4. Sickles (6-1, 3-0): Think the Gryphons held their breath after Ray Ray McCloud III went down with a knee injury? He’s expected to be fine.
5. Tampa Catholic (6-1, 3-0): The Crusaders struggled last night, but pulled it out with not a minute to spare - literally. If Tampa Catholic plays like it did Friday against high-scoring Lakeland Christian, the Crusaders could be in some trouble.
6. Jefferson (6-1, 5-1): Another big offensive output. Ho hum. The Dragons have scored at least 40 points in each of their past three games.
7. Strawberry Crest (6-2, 3-0): The Chargers already have their best season in program history. Their defense is strong, but how about that offense, which put up 35 points on East Bay? Alonso is the only other team to do that to the Indians this year.
Some things we didn’t see coming
1. Strawberry Crest scoring 35 vs. East Bay. The Indians’ defense had been stout before the Chargers’ balanced offense broke through. Credit a solid night by quarterback Austin Carswell and an unsung performance by Josh Hyde, who had a handful of key offensive plays and performed exceptionally in the return game.
2. Comebacks, comebacks, comebacks. Tampa Catholic-Berkeley Prep, Bloomingdale-Riverview and Steinbrenner-Wiregrass Ranch were all closer than expected. Give credit to the Bucs, Sharks and Bulls for hanging around. But TC scored in the final two minute, Bloomingdale rallied from a 24-7 deficit, and Steinbrenner overcame a 10-point halftime hole to all earn wins.
3. Alonso topping Wharton. The Wildcats were coming off a huge offensive performance against Steinbrenner, then they came out looking flat against the 3-3 Ravens. With the help of two touchdown passes from Chris Oladokun, Alonso led 17-0 in the first quarter. Wharton had to play catch up, unsuccessfully, the rest of the night.
Race to the postseason
The best district battles brewing
1. Class 8A, District 6: Plant can clinch the district title with a win over Wharton. After that, it’s a jumbled mess. Wharton and Bloomingdale both have one district loss and play each other in the district finale in what could be a winner-take-all showdown.
2. Class 7A, District 7: If Tampa Bay Tech tops Gaither this week, that will secure playoff appearances for TBT and Sickles. The winner of their Nov. 1 matchup takes the district title.
3. Class 7A, District 8: Strawberry Crest is the lone undefeated team and has clinched at least a spot in a district tiebreaker. A win over Plant City would secure the program’s first district championship. The Raiders and East Bay each have one district loss, and the Indians hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
4. Class 6A, District 8: Chamberlain remains mathematically alive, but its already slim hopes took a major blow with a loss to Robinson. If Jefferson beats the Chiefs this week, the Dragons will lock up a playoff appearance. Armwood can clinch the district title with a win over King.
Five stars of the night
1. Strawberry Crest DE/WR Alex Carswell: He caught two touchdown passes from his brother, Austin. He also recorded at least one sack and recovered a fumble to set up another score.
2. Bloomingdale QB Tommy McLaughlin: The junior inherited the starting position this week and made the most of it, throwing for 241 yards and four touchdowns in a pivotal victory over Riverview.
3. Hillsborough QB Dwayne Lawson: Throwing for 405 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 107 yards and a TD is a standout performance, regardless of the opponent.
4. Michael Smith, Carrollwood Day: He’s on pace to set school receiving records after a three-catch, 138-yard, three-touchdown game against Bradenton Christian. He also returned an interception 81 yards for a score.
5. Derrick Ingram, Jefferson: The wide receiver had a pair of touchdowns and 183 yards in Jefferson’s 40-16 win against King - and they were long ones. In the first quarter, Deiondre Porter hit Ingram with a 70-yard touchdown pass, and in the third the two connected again for a 66-yard score.
By the numbers
10 Touchdown catches for Middleton standout Shug Rhynes. He had three Friday night and went over 1,000 yards on the season.
12 Combined points by which Berkeley Prep has been dealt three of its four losses. Tough breaks for the Bucs.
19 Passing touchdowns for Plant quarterback Colby Brown. Brown had two in the Panthers’ 30-14 win against Newsome.
29 Points allowed by Armwood this season. That’s a stingy 4.14 points per game for the 7-0 Hawks.
512 Total yards amassed by Hillsborough quarterback Dwayne Lawson, adding to the Terrier’s six touchdowns Friday.
Final five words
Is it the playoffs yet?