A spotlight on the Times’ bay area players of the week.
Female Hot Shot: Anna Montgomery, Plant
Sport: Cross country
Skinny: Montgomery had been solid as a senior but broke through last week in a big way. She and teammate Bailey Sullivan became the first two Hillsborough County girls to crack the 19-minute mark in the 5K at the pre-state meet in Tallahassee. Montgomery logged a season-low time of 18 minutes, 52 seconds to finish 32nd. Six days later, Montgomery starred again. She cruised to the county championship in 17:49, beating the field by almost 40 seconds, to help her Panthers blow out the competition. Plant beat runnerup Academy of the Holy Names by 94 points.
Male Hot Shot: Donavan Hale, Largo
Skinny: At Venice, Hale was put in the most pressure-packed situation possible. The first-year starting quarterback’s team was down by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter in a game that was needed to clinch the Class 6A, District 7 title. Hale delivered, scoring once on a run, and throwing a 36-yard touchdown pass to the final play of regulation in a 22-21 victory. “I think the game, and the way we came back, is going to keep playing in my head until we play again on Friday,” Hale said. Hale, a two-sport star, is used to prevailing in tight games in basketball. But this was the first time he had to rally his team as a quarterback. He finished 18-of-31 for 229 yards and a touchdown. “That was by far my best because of what we had to do at the end to win,” Hale said. “I was able to stay calm and pull through. A lot of people were talking about it at school. One of my teachers joked that we need to make our games more exciting.”