MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
1. Plant (6-1): Panthers' position atop rankings tenuous; Armwood and Robinson still loom.
2. Robinson (7-0): Coach Mike DePue called the 47-0 win against Spoto sloppy. We should all be so unkempt.
3. Hillsborough (6-1): And to think the Terriers blanked Armwood without Gators commitment Jordan Sherit.
4. Armwood (6-2): Defensive shortcomings exposed at Hillsborough.
5. Durant (7-0): Cougars are 7-0 for the first time since 2002.
6. Wharton (5-2): Playoff hopes hinge on Nov. 2 home showdown with Alonso.
7. Jefferson (3-4): Tell us, would you want to play the Dragons right now?
In the conversation: Berkeley Prep (6-1), Gaither (6-1), Sickles (4-3), Tampa Bay Tech (5-2), Tampa Catholic (6-1)
By the numbers
4 Sacks by Jesuit DE Brad Smith, a USF commitment, in a loss to Lakewood
4 Special teams TDs (three kick returns, one punt return) by Strawberry Crest's Karel Hamilton against Leto in the teams' last two meetings
9 sacks by Clearwater Central Catholic on Berkeley Prep QB Brad Mayes in the Bucs' 35-21 loss
19 consecutive regular-season wins for Berkeley Prep until it lost Friday. The Bucs' last pre-postseason loss came against Fort Meade on Oct. 22, 2009
168 penalty yards on 15 infractions for Jefferson, which knocked off Sickles despite all of the yellow flags
A moment on the other side
The Knights collected their 13th defensive touchdown, well, sort of. Robinson senior DL Justin Madison enjoyed a milestone moment late in a 47-0 rout of Spoto when he hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass. "That was the first offensive play of my career at Robinson," Madison said.
A few guys we should've appreciated more:
CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Wharton. Two interceptions, a TD run and a two-point conversion at Bloomingdale. Sometimes, we take greatness for granted.
RB Kevin Newman, Jesuit. Against a quality foe, the sophomore had 14 carries, 115 yards and one touchdown.
WR Bubba Olivera, Berkley Prep. The senior operated in the shadow of 6-foot-4 freshman Jacob Mathis and senior RB Chris Williams, but Olivera played a key role in a second-half rally against CCC. He finished with four catches for a game-high 114 yards.
QB Deiondre Porter, Jefferson. He threw for 153 yards and a touchdown and added 83 yards rushing, including a 51-yard TD run on fourth and inches in the third quarter, in a 21-14 upset of Sickles.
DB Michael Riley, East Bay. The 5-foot-10 senior had a team-best 11 tackles and an interception in a 24-12 win at Plant City.
OLB Michael Rivera, Chamberlain. The junior condensed a season of big plays into 48 minutes against Wiregrass Ranch (two sacks, fumble recovery, two blocked kicks).
"I know people thought I was crazy when I said I was starting him, but I had seen the development. I know his dad had spent a lot of time working with him. He had zip on the ball, he had touch and I knew we'd have to go to that." — James Harrell, Jesuit coach, on his decision to start junior Vincent Testaverde at quarterback against Lakewood. Testaverde (4-for-10, 106 yards, one interception) had a TD pass in a fourth-quarter rally that fell short
"It's not easy for a 16-, 17-, 18-year-old young man, in this day and age, to be able to fight through that adversity, to be able to go through what they went through, blowing 21-point leads and being the team has been known to blow it. The kids can see it all coming together now and it's exciting." — Jeremy Earle, Jefferson coach, after the Dragons rallied to defeat Sickles and win their second-straight game after a 1-4 start
Sure beats a gold watch
Turns out, William Orr's grandest retirement gift bears a stunning resemblance to his most memorable housewarming gift. Orr's first game as Hillsborough High principal was a 21-20 triumph against Armwood on Aug. 26, 2005. Thursday's 3-0 upset of the Hawks was the last Hillsborough-Armwood regular-season contest before he retires in August. "We gave him the team ball (after the 2005 win)," coach Earl Garcia said. "… We talked (Thursday) at lunchtime; he said, 'I'd love to have one on the way out.' So I'm going to paint that ball up for Dr. Orr."