What we learned
1. Jefferson can beat you many ways
Ask Lakewood. The Spartans are likely still shaking their heads after Friday’s 50-14 thumping. Can you really say Jefferson is more than five touchdowns better than Lakewood? Who knows. One thing that is certain: the Dragons were opportunistic — seven players scored touchdowns for Jefferson.
2. The newbies have a chance
Coming off Strawberry Crest’s 45-44 comeback win over St. Petersburg Catholic last week, fellow second-year team Steinbrenner beat the Barons 31-14 this week, earning its second straight win. For a pair of teams playing their first full varsity schedule, the Warriors and Chargers are playing beyond their years.
3. Middleton has played itself into contention
After scoring just 25 points in their first three games combined, the Tigers are coming off back-to-back wins. And they’ve scored more than 30 points in both games. Don’t look now, but second-year coach Jason Stokes has the Tigers believing again. The next three weeks — district games against Steinbrenner, SPC and Jesuit — will tell us how far they’ve come.
4. Robinson is resilient
The Knights fought through a difficult week after the death of teacher and cheerleading coach Tina Maiorana, only to fall just short against Jesuit in a 29-28 thriller. Physically banged up and emotionally worn down, Robinson bounced back with a convincing 28-14 win over Newsome. The Knights’ defense shut out the Wolves in the second half, and QB Blake Rice threw for two scores while RB J.J. Hubbard ran for two more.
Looking ahead (… way ahead)
With next week’s schedule appearing fairly anemic (Spoto at Plant and King at TBT seem to be the best offerings), we can’t help but look forward to the more exciting slate of games on Friday, Oct. 22. Here is what’s on the horizon for possibly the season’s best week:
Brandon at Tampa Bay Tech: This one should be for the Class 5A-7 title.
Jefferson at Spoto: Expect plenty of touchdown passes between Jefferson’s Quentin Williams (25 on the year) and Spoto’s Nick Addison (20).
Armwood at Hillsborough: This rivalry game between two of the county’s top programs will likely decide the Class 4A-9 champion.
Berkeley Prep at Fort Meade: The Bucs will be looking to wrestle away the top spot in Class A-6 from the powerhouse Miners.
Lennard at Robinson: With Jesuit sitting atop Class 2A-5 and streaking toward an undefeated season, this game could determine who gets a playoff spot.
By the numbers
185-8 Scoring margin for Spoto over its past four games, a stretch that includes three shutouts
7 Interceptions by Plant QB Phillip Ely over the past two games (three vs. Armwood, four vs. Gaither)
50 Distance in yards of Hillsborough K Mattias Ciabatti’s second of two field goals in the Terriers’ 35-13 win over East Bay
110 Points scored by Durant the past three weeks after totaling a combined 21 in its first three games
“We had a little heart-to-heart at halftime. I explained that we needed to play better against better teams if we expect to go the distance, and they answered the bell in the second half.”
Jefferson coach Mike Fenton on his halftime talk to his team in the Dragons’ 50-14 win over Lakewood
“We had been running a lot of inside veer and we just started running some misdirection, fake it one way and coming back the other way. Everybody was going toward the dive; he would start that way and cut back. We ran some counters and traps and he just popped through there.” Sickles coach Brian Turner, explaining how Cary White was able to explode in the second half
“Emotionally, it would have been big-time. But guess what. We didn’t, and we’re 4-1. We’re going into four district games, and here we come. We’re going to be headed for the playoffs, hopefully.”
Robinson coach Mike DePue on avoiding a second straight loss with a 28-14 victory over Newsome
Quentin Williams, QB, Jefferson: The Dragons senior spread the ball out, throwing for 342 yards and four touchdowns — each to a different receiver — and ran for another in Jefferson’s 50-14 dismantling of district foe Lakewood.
Cary White, RB, Sickles: Running on a sore right ankle, White gained 192 of his career-best 244 yards in the second half of the Gryphons’ 17-16 victory at Boca Ciega.
Bryce Goeden, LB, Sickles: By our count, Goeden was in on at least three sacks of fleet Boca Ciega quarterback Shaquille Bradford. Teammate David Renaker was in on at least two.
J.J. Hubbard, RB, Robinson: With a 14-14 tie entering the fourth quarter, the Knights opened up a 14-point lead by putting the game in Hubbard’s hands. The 5-foot-8 senior finished with 171 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Tim Randolph, RB, Hillsborough: The Terriers senior has carried the offensive load for Hillsborough this season, and he continued Friday with a 10-carry, 131-yard, one-touchdown performance in the Terriers’ 35-13 win over East Bay.
Patton Chillura, QB, Jesuit: The Tigers established their power running game early, clearing the way for Chillura to go 15 for 17 for 193 passing yards and four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing).