I feel whole again. The Grab Bag is back, and I'm not going to say it's better than ever, but after you read it, you will. Folks, I pore over the stats, study up on my Twitter account, watch a little video. Then I take the very best and interesting things I have come across, and it all goes here. So, you want in? It's easy. Holla at ya boy. Let's dig in.
1. Clearwater Central Catholic (1-0) at Tampa Catholic (0-1): No longer a distrct game, but still a nice little rivalry. And hey, if things go crazy right, this could be a state championship game preview. And yes, I'm getting waaayyyyyyy ahead of myself. The pick: CCC 26-14.
2. East Lake (1-0) at Largo (1-0): After last year's blowout, these two powerhouses owe us an exciting game. The pick: Largo 30-28.
3. Robinson (0-1) at Plant (1-0): This game has a long history on its side, but otherwise, with an extra two days of rest, it's hard to see it going in the Knights' favor. The pick: Plant 38-7.
4. Hillsborough (0-0) at Jefferson (1-0): Considering the Terriers lost just about everyone to graduation, it will be interesting to see how they stack up against what is expected to be one of this season's premier teams. The pick: Jefferson 30-20.
5. Newsome (1-0) at Gaither (1-0): So, was Tampa Bay Tech choking on its headlines last week, or is Newsome the real deal? I have a feeling it's yes to both. Still...The pick: Gaither 14-13.
6. Fivay (1-0) at Pasco (0-1): The Pasco bandwagon broke down last week. This week, we find out if it was just a flat tire, or if the engine, carburetor and catalytic converter all exploded. We're still waiting for roadside assistance. The pick: Pasco 27-17.
7. Wharton (1-0) at Plant City (1-0): The Wildcats looked good last week thrashing Spoto, and the Raiders put up big numbers and have a slew of athletes. This game could be a shootout. The pick: Plant City 35-31.
8. Bloomingdale (1-0) at Brandon (1-0): It's been a while since these neighbors played while both were undefeated. Loser has to try to get out of the Brandon Mall parking lot on Christmas Eve. The pick: Bloomingdale 19-11.
9. Carrollwood Day (0-1) at Indian Rocks Christian (0-1): The Class 2A-5 opener for both teams. It's early, but the winner in this contest of district favorites gets a big step up toward the title. The pick: Indian Rocks Christian 38-33.
10. Sunlake (1-0) at River Ridge (0-1): How do you follow up the biggest upset in recent Pasco County memory, and arguably the biggest win in school history? Well, let's find out. The pick: Sunlake 20-7.
11. Tarpon Springs (1-0) at Osceola (1-0): Congrats to Osceola's Jamil Morris, our first HomeTeam Hot Shot of the new school year. Now all he has to do is go out and try to do it again. The pick: Tarpon Springs 26-20.
12. Palmetto (0-1) at Lakewood (1-0): I was willing to give the Spartans the benefit of the doubt (thanks for all the understanding emails...NOT!), but it's time to get serious here. The pick: Lakewood 35-7.
Picks to click
1. Jarvis Stewart, RB, Largo: Did you know that Stewart only has two 200-yard rushing games in his entire career? Did you know that both of them, 229 yards in 2011 and 245 yards last year, came against East Lake? Did you know that Largo plays East Lake this week?
2. Nate Craig, WR, Pasco: After last week, I'm just assuming Craig is going to do something big. Like, really, really big.
3. Deangelo Reaves, RB, St. Petersburg: Nine carries, 113 yards last week, and more of that this week.
4. Elias Early, RB, Carrollwood Day: All he was supposed to do was replace Robert Davis. I think this week , after a rough debut, he'll look more like a guy who can.
Top performances from last week you might have missed
1. Damien King, ATH, IRC: An interception, a 45-yard kickoff return, led team with seven carries and a touchdown, as well as seven catches for 72 yards and a touchdown.
2. Weston Fordham, RB, East Lake: The guy knows how to open the season in style. Last year, it was 15 carries, 125 yards, one TD. Last week? How about seven carries, 135 yards and two TDs.
3. John Harris-Scott, RB, Wiregrass Ranch: Harris-Scott played four games last year. In three of them, he rushed for 0, -2 and -7 yards. He entered last week's game against Gulf with five career carries for 3 yards. Then he went ham on the Bucs: 14 carries, 134 yards, including a 73-yard run.
4. Tristan Hyde, QB, Strawberry Crest: All he does is throw for 200-plus yards a game. In fact, he has now throw for 200-plus yards eight times in 11 career starts.
5. Hudson rushing attack: Led by Noah Siegrist (121), Justyn Johnson (91) and Zach Russell (59), the Cobras piled up a whopping 317 yards rushing, the most since the team had 331 on Oct. 26, 2007.
6. Liam Heaney, WR, Land O'Lakes: Last year, Heaney caught seven passes for 79 yards and no touchdowns. Last week, he caught seven passes for 138 yards and one touchdown.
State of the week
The last time Pasco was held without an offensive touchdown like last week against Sunlake was Sept. 14, 2007, in a loss to Wesley Chapel, coach Tom McHugh's first season.
Team of the week
While we are pretty impressed Sunlake beat Pasco despite gaining only about 150 yards for the whole darn game, how about those Wiregrass Ranch Bulls? Coming off back-to-back 0-10 seasons, the Bulls gave new coach Mike Lawrence a 42-7 win in his debut. The Bulls rushed 27 times for 222 yards, notable for a team that rushed for more than 60 in a game just five times the last two seasons and finished 2012 with a paltry 441 yards on the ground. Harris-Scott was terrific, and did any defenders in Tampa Bay have a better game as a trio than Jaye Miner (18 tackles), Jordan Mutcherson (16) and Christian Borak (2.5 sacks)? Bravo, Bulls.
Pensyl the record in
Land O'Lakes quarterback James Pensyl was 23-for-36 for 375 yards in last week's win over River Ridge, which might be a school record. Back on Oct. 1, 2010, Stevie Weatherford threw for 374 yards in a win over Gulf, which we believe to be the previous high, though we are still researching the career of Drew Weatherford.
Osceola's victory over Seminole was the Warriors' seventh straight regular-season win dating to last season, the longest for the program since 1993, when it went 10-0.
By the numbers
.5 Half a sack, awarded to five different Berkeley Prep players.
1 Yards King's Greg Thompson beat his previous career high by in his 105-yard effort.
10, 3 Tackles and passes defended by Mitchell's Josh Lamb, both tying his career highs.
7 Catches by Blake's Derek Mann, equaling his 2012 season total.
12.6 Yards per carry that Jefferson averaged in rolling up 341 yards on Alonso.
19 Tackles for a loss record by Gaither and Land O'Lakes in victories.
33 Passes attempted by Leto quarterback Vinny LaRosa.
57 Points scored by Seffner Christian in its victory, a school record, one more than in a 56-7 win in 2011.
100 Completion percentage by St. Petersburg QB Robert Tribolet (3-for-3, 94 yards).
163 Rushing yards by Mitchell's Christian Trinidad, just his second career 100-yard game a career-high.
201 Rushing yards by Sickles' Ray Ray McCloud III, the second straight game he has set a career high (he had 187 in last year's season finale).
237 Rushing yards by Jefferson quarterback Deiondre Porter, tops in Tampa Bay.
Welcome back, fellas!
Kabriel Jackson, RB, Dixie Hollins: Looks like that torn ACL is all fixed up. In his first varsity game since 2011 (ironically, also against Dunedin), Jackson bullied his way to 178 yards on 19 carries, including a touchdown.
Riley Barr, LB, St. Petersburg: Barr was on his way to a big season last year when he tore his ACL in the third game. But he picked up where he left off in his return against Gibbs, with eight tackles and two sacks.
Juwuan Brown, LB, Jefferson: Brown didn't miss all of last year, just a lot of it with injuries. But he's back: three sacks and an interception return for a TD.
Brandon Tillman, LB, Middleton: Tillman didn't make it past September last year, but if he can this year look out: 30 yards rushing, a 35-yard touchdown reception and 11 tackles in his return.
Craig Carrington, FB, Armwood: After missing last year, Carrington made his presence felt last week, bowling over would-be tacklers on the way to 14 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown.
It was a great week to be Christian. No, not like, religiously, but I'm talking guys named Christian. We've already told you about Christian Borak (2.5 sacks) and Christian Trinidad (career-high 163 rushing yards), but Fivay's Christian Coleman tops them all. Last week, he caught four passes for 231 yards. That's an average of 58.8 yards a catch. And three of those four catches were for touchdowns. That's just how they roll up in Hudson I guess, since the last performance I recall like that was Andrew Meyer's seven-catch, 231-yard performance last year for these same Falcons.
Jefferson's Derrick Ingram may not put up eye-popping stats, but if you listen closely when he's around the goal line, you can hear it...cha-ching....cha-ching... Ingram caught a touchdown pass last week, and now has touchdown receptions in seven of his last eight games, and and seven of his nine games on varsity. Cha-ching!
It was a rough start for the 15 new head coaches in Tampa Bay, as they combined for a 3-12 start. The winners: Mike Lawrence (Wiregrass Ranch), Todd Yoder (Calvary Christian) and Denis Gillen (Dunedin). Congrats.
State of the week, part II
The last time Pasco was held to fewer than 34 yards rushing in a game, like last week against Sunlake, was Sept. 18, 2009, when the Pirates rushed for 27 yards against South Sumter.
Spencer Preston, QB, Newsome: Preston completed 5 of 7 passes for 79 yards in the Wolves' upset of Tampa Bay Tech. While he may not make anyone forget predecessor WIll Worth, it should be noted that last year's Player of the Year was 9-for-20 and 5-for-16 passing against the Titans as a start. So, you know...
Tyler Kline, QB, Hernando: No one has won more state championships in Florida than Jacksonville Bolles (11), and yet, the Leopards gave them a game last week before losing 35-22. Kline, who played one game last year, was 3-for-8 for 90 yards and two TDs.
Givanni Gonzalez, QB, Dunedin: Is this guy one of the top three quarterbacks in Pinellas County? Maybe. He opened 2013 by completing 19 of 26 passes for 204 yards and two TDs.
Javin Tandy, WR, Land O'Lakes: The Gator senior made his football debut a memorable one, with three catches for 111 yards and one touchdown.
Landon Galloway, QB, Plant City: The sometimes quarterback/tight end/wide receiver is now the starter under center, and his 15-for-29 completions for 189 yards debut, as well as another 80 yards rushing, means he is right at home.
Smashing debut, part II
Armwood's 48-6 season-opening win over Durant, and the margin of victory, was no surprise for the quick-starting Hawks.The scores of the Hawks' previous five season openers: 55-0, 54-6, 42-7 and 48-6. The last time Armwood had a tough opener 2008 against Plant, when the Hawks prevailed 9-2 in a game televised by ESPN. The last team to hand Armnwood a season opening loss was Hillsborough, 21-20 in 2005.
Stat of the week, part III
The last time Pasco was held to fewer than 1.09 yards a carry, like last week against Sunlake, was Sept. 7, 2007, when the Pirates rushed 24 times for 25 yards, an average of 1.04.
Times prep columnist John C. Cotey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can catch him on Twitter where he spends way way wayyyyyy too much time @JohnnyHomeTeam.
Photo: James Pensyl