John C. Cotey offers up his weekly top 10, live from the state championship in Orlando, in a special Tampa Catholic edition.
1. Hank McCloud
He may not be highly recruited, and his chip may not be blue, but can you not make the case that the senior running back was Tampa Catholic’s best player this season?
He ran for more than 1,700 yards, had 195 and two scores against arch-rival Jesuit, and against Bolles, McCloud ran for 193 yards, or almost 9 yards a carry, had a 54-yard run to set up TC's only score.
He carried the Crusaders into Bolles territory twice in the first quarter and had runs of 13, 8, 10, 16 and 13. The only time the offense stalled was when it went away from McCloud. He never carried the ball more than three straight times. Our question:
2. Fourth and ouch
Bob Henriquez expects some critiquing of his coaching Saturday afternoon and thinks most of it will be in regards to going for it on fourth and 1 on his own 44 with five minutes left in the third quarter of a 7-0 game.
I liked the decision.
Hated the play call.
Stuffed the previous play, the call was for Christian Green to get outside and make something happen. He didn’t, cutting it back right into the arms of a Bolles tackler.
You have one of the top offensive linemen in the country in Chaz Green. You have a running back picking up more than 8 yards a carry.
Ram it down Bolles’ throat.
3. The next play
Bolles’ Jacob Stenson goes 43 yards for a touchdown.
4. Bad to worse
On the second play after Stenson’s score, Green completed his longest pass of the day for 17 yards and it was fumbled. Bolles recovered, and Stenson scored four plays later.
5. A little off
Christian Green is a dynamic playmaker, but he was never able to break a meaningful play Saturday. He took the blame for failing to convert the crucial fourth down, and there was no electricity in his play. A lot of that had to do with the Bolles defense, which took away anything outside, where Green is usually most dangerous .
6. Missed chances
This is why Tampa Catholic lost: the Crusaders dominated the first quarter, winning the field position battle, and driving into Bolles’ territory three times and scoring zero points.
With a chance to put the defending champs on the ropes, the Crusaders failed. Against a team of Bolles’ stature — that’s 10 state titles now, for those counting at home — you’re lucky to get five openings a game. The Crusaders had three in the first half and didn’t run through any of them.
Henriquez had All-Americans Kenny Kelly and Darrell Jackson in the mid 1990s, and this year he had All-Americans Christian Green and Chaz Green. You don’t get players like that on the same team very often, and the opportunities to win state titles they bring with them. How many more chances will Henriquez get?
8. Sour Citrus
After watching another state championship game played in a stadium with 70,000 empty seats, I’m convinced these things would be more fun in a place like Lakeland’s Bryant Stadium, packed to the limit with 12,000 or so fans, all with the hot ticket.
9. Hey, Mr. D.J.
With his former Buc, dad Doug, looking on, D.J. Williams came into the game in the fourth quarter and threw a 6-yard touchdown to Brandon Mendoza for the Crusaders’ only score, and he nearly missed hooking up a few times with Christian Green. It was a nice way to go out for a guy who had to fight for playing time behind an All-American (and if he hadn’t transferred from Jefferson, behind Quentin Williams).
10. And then there was one: