Hillsborough: Sunday Morning QB



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Sat. November 9, 2013 | Matt Baker and Kelly Parsons

Times’ super 7

1. Armwood (10-0, 8-0): The most points the Hawks allowed in a single game this regular season was nine — to a loaded Jefferson team. That bodes well for a deep playoff run.

2. Plant (8-1-1): The Panthers will return Friday after taking a week off to prepare for the start of their ninth straight playoff run.

3. Sickles (9-1): The Gryphons’ D gave up 30 points against Alonso — more than they had allowed in the previous three games combined.

4. Jefferson (9-1, 7-1): Jefferson has barely been tested since a September run-in with Armwood, so the Dragons are likely itching for a playoff-caliber opponent.

5. Plant City (8-2, 3-1): The Raiders finished their regular-season slate by knocking off a hot, playoff-bound Gaither team. We’ll see if that momentum can carry over against the one-loss Gryphons.

6. Jesuit (7-3): The Tigers are finally getting a hang of their new defensive schemes. They’ve allowed only 19 points in their past three games — all wins.

7. Tampa Catholic (8-2, 5-0): The Crusaders may have lost the rivalry game, but now they can set their sights solely on the ultimate goal: a state title.


Playoff preview

A quick look at every county playoff game

Orlando Boone at Plant: The Panthers haven’t faced a team with a losing record in their past four games — and now get 4-6 Boone. They shouldn’t have a problem in this one, right?

Wharton at Orlando Dr. Phillips: The perfect Panthers have allowed only 99 points all season. Can Chase Litton lead Wharton’s offense to victory and avenge last year’s 28-15 first-round loss?

Plant City at Sickles: Gryphons RB Ray Ray McCloud III is coming off of his fifth 200-yard game of the season. Can he do that against a loaded Plant City D?

Gaither at East Bay: Seven of the Indians’ games were decided by just one score, and East Bay extended the dramatics by winning a three-way tiebreaker to make the playoffs. Could the first-time district champs be on the winning side of yet another close call against the up-and-down Cowboys?

Venice at Armwood: The Hawks’ D hasn’t allowed more than nine points in a game all season. Can Armwood keep that up against a Venice squad with a standout running back (Terry Polk) and a Marino at quarterback?

Jefferson at Largo: This matchup took a hit with Largo’s off-the-field incidents this week. But do the Packers have enough talent to keep the Dragons from looking ahead to a rematch with Armwood?

Auburndale at Jesuit: The Tigers' win over TC wasn't pretty. If quarterback Vincent Testaverde remains out, can Jesuit find enough offense to start a strong playoff run?

Spoto at Lake Wales: Neither team has an impressive resume, but both enter the playoffs on three-game win streaks? Can the Spartans use their momentum to spark the first postseason win in school history?

Melbourne Holy Trinity at Tampa Catholic: The Tigers are averaging four sacks a game, and TC was vulnerable at times against Jesuit’s pass rush. How quickly can the Crusaders fix those mistakes?

Carrollwood Day at Naples First Baptist: The Patriots were blown out 56-28 against First Baptist in the second round last year. Will this season bring vengeance or more of the same?


Four stars of the night

1. Jesuit DL Jack Taylor: His two sacks were part of the Tigers’ standout pass rush. His blocked extra point might have made an even bigger impact on play calls down the stretch.

2. Sickles QB Isaac Holder: One of the county’s most underrated players engineered a 60-yard winning drive — capped off by his 12-yard touchdown rush — in a 34-30 rivalry win over Alonso.

3. Hillsborough K Blake Rehl: His 22-yard field goal with no time left gave the Terriers a 23-20 win over Tampa Bay Tech.

4. Tampa Catholic WR Justin Motlow: He had six catches for 85 yards and had one of the Crusaders’ highlights — a TD catch ultimately wiped out by penalty.


Out with a bang

Five strong season-ending performances

1. Brandon QB Brandon Jones: Rushing for 229 yards and two TDs on only nine carries is a strong way to end your high school career.

2. Steinbrenner K Drew Stevens: His 42-yard field goal against Jefferson was the longest in the Warriors’ brief history.

3. Hillsborough QB Dwayne Lawson: He accounted for more than 360 yards of offense and two touchdowns, pushing him over 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards this season.

4. Alonso WR Marcus Mosley: The 6-foot-4 receiver had his best performance of the season: eight catches for 123 yards in a loss to Sickles.

5. Bloomingdale QB Tommy McLaughlin: He had a pair of touchdowns, on a 10-yard run and 30-yard pass, as the Bulls finished their season with a 42-0 rout of Middleton.


Final five words

At last, it’s playoff time.



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