The biggest week of the season deserves the biggest and best grab bag ever, and we deliver. After all, where else can you learn what the symbol for gold is, how writing utensils make up the very fabric of the game, and who will win Friday's best games? Nowhere else, except here.
1. Armwood (4-0) at Jefferson (3-0): It's hard to pick against the team that has won nine straight in the series, all but one of those conivncingly. But I'm more of a "the streak has to end sometime" guy as opposed to a "history tells us Armwood will win." It might explain why I've been wrong on this game since 2005. Jefferson, 22-20.
2. Largo (3-1) at Lakewood (3-1): When in doubt, pick the team that can run the ball best. Largo, 22-14.
3. Plant (3-0-1) at Tampa Bay Tech (2-1): Neither team is playing like I imagine it can and will. But Plant has owned this series, and the Panthers won't be handing the title over this week. Plant, 30-27.
4. Tarpon Springs (3-1) at East Lake (4-0): The Eagles will be the gyros Friday night. (see what I did there?). East Lake, 40-6.
5. Ocala Trinity Catholic (3-1) at Clearwater Central Catholic (3-1): CCC doesn't appear to be exciting enough for a lot of people, but the Marauders are still plenty good. CCC, 26-19.
6. Berkeley Prep (2-1) at Springstead (3-1) An interesting matchup. Springstead has to avoid a letdown; Berkeley Prep has to get over one. Berkeley Prep, 17-14.
7. Nature Coast (1-2) at Pasco (2-1): The game had a little more zest in the preseason, but considering how South Sumter has looked, it might be a must-win. Pasco, 33-11.
8. Plant City (3-0) at Bloomingdale (2-1): The Raiders might have too many athletes for the Bulls. Plant City, 23-14.
9. Boca Ciega (1-3) at St. Petersburg (2-1): City rivalry holds some promise for an exciting affair. St. Petersburg, 35-28.
10. East Bay (3-1) at Wharton (3-1): The Indians had 12 sacks last week, and might need half that many to slow down Wharton's passing attack. Wharton, 21-14.
11. Admiral Farragut (1-2) at Carrollwood Day (2-2) Always a nice little small-school scuffle. CDS, 35-21.
Upset of the week
12. King (3-1) at Blake (2-2): The Yellow Jackets outgained Armwood a few weeks back, and while depth is always the concern, they have some players. This is only the teams' second meeting since 2006. Blake, 28-24.
Amazing stat of the week
Since losing 63-0 to Jefferson in 2001, the Hawks have beaten the Dragons nine straight times and outscored them 276-66.
Okay, so work with me here:
1. Both Wharton WRs Auden Tate and Austin Tolley had 100-yard receiving games last week.
2. Both their names start with Au.
3. The element with the symbol Au is gold.
4. I have basically walked you all the way to a great nickname. You'll have to do the rest, Wildcat fans. Oh, and you're welcome.
Have a good nickname for the Wharton duo? Hit me up on Twitter @JohnnyHomeTeam, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm not sure if this has ever been accomplished before, so I'm going to go ahead and say this is the first time ever to make it even more amazing. Strawberry Crest has had two QB-WR brother combinations hook up for TDs in the first four weeks. QB Tristan Hyde has thrown a few TD passes to WR and brother Josh. QB Austin Carswell has thrown a TD pass to WR and brother Alex. Mind. Blown.
Pencil and Pen
Land O'Lakes QB James Pensyl (pronounced pencil) might be having the best season ever for someone whose last name sounds like a writing utensil. Oh, I did my research:
QB Chad Pennington? Nah. Weak arm.
OL Donald Penn? Solid, but not spectacular.
FB Dick Crayne (crayon, stay with me people) played just one NFL season with the old Brooklyn Dodgers in 1936.
C Fred Quillan (quill...come on...keep up) had a nice 9-year career with the 49ers.
K Chester Marcol (when combined, charcoal, right? Amirite?) was a good Packers kicker.
OL Richie Incognito (ink...oh, like you could do better!) is a Miami Dolphin starter.
RB Cliff Marker was an old Canton Bulldog, and RB Harry Marker played one game with the old NFL Pittsburgh Pirates, but neither are household names.
And on that note, I apologize for wasting the last 35 seconds of your life. Let's get back to crunching numbers.
Five excellent things about: Plant QB Colby Brown
1. Threw for 519 yards last week, which not only broke the school record, but broke it by more than 100 yards.
2. Completed 33 passes. Aaron Murray never completed more than 21. (And no, we're not comparing the two. Murray is one of the all-time greats. We're just sayin'...)
3. Completed passes to nine receivers. That's a guy who knows what he's doing.
4. Threw a TD pass in the first game this year. The last time any Plant quarterback opened the season with a TD pass was 2006, when Robert Marve did it.
5. Only has one interception in 99 pass attempts and has thrown about 90 straight without a pick.
If it ain't broke
Pinellas Park rushed 41 times last week for a Tampa Bay-best 594 yards. I can't recall a higher rushing total in the area in quite a while. While coach Kenny Crawford thought he might be opening up the offense a little more this season, it's hard to mess with something that has worked so effectively. The Patriots now have 1,566 yards rushing for 11 TDs through four weeks.
1. Plant gained 726 yards last week on 65 plays. Or 11.2 yards every play.
2. Blake's Shavar Manuel has now recorded a sack in seven straight games.
3. No one has played a tougher schedule than winless Robinson. The teams the Knights have played are a combined 14-0-1 this season.
4. Sickles became the first team this year with a 300-yard passer (Issac Holder), a 150-yard rusher (Ray Ray McCloud III) and two 100-yard receivers in the same game.
5. Countryside has outscored Northeast 131-6 the past three seasons.
6. Since scoring 42 points in a season-opening win, Dunedin has gone 0-3 and been outscored 122-7.
7. Land O'Lakes' Liam Heaney has become the most productive tight end in Tampa Bay (and we're including whoever it is that plays that position for the Bucs). In four games, Heaney has 23 catches for 348 yards, and has caught at least five passes in every game.
8. Alonso has now allowed 1,174 yards rushing this season.
9. Anclote has 11 players with at least one sack.
10. Alonso QB Chris Oladokun's 347 yards passing last week was the most for the Ravens since C.J. Bennett threw for 302 yards Nov. 20, 2009. Only a sophomore, Oladokun could challenge Bennett's school record of 398 yards passing, which he did against Sickles in 2008.
Fantastic frosh from Friday
Daquon Green, WR, Tampa Bay Tech: 3 catches, 54 yards.
KayJay Crawford, DB, TBT: Interception.
Gordon Stetson, RB, Berkeley Prep: 28 carries, 120 yards.
Bentlee Sanders, ATH, Tampa Catholic: 208 return yards, TD.
C.J. Cotman, ATH, CCC: Two punt return TDs.
New names to know
1. Doug Sandberg, Bloomingdale: After another 100-yard game against Plant, Sandberg has 18 catches for 323 yards (after 20 catches for 232 yards all of last year).
2. Corey Bennett, Blake: Another 100-yard game for Bennett, who now has 365 yards and seven TDs.
3. Azeez Al-Shaair, Hillsborough: Sophomore has 30 sacks and 2 sacks.
4. Donte Maxson, Pinellas Park: One of two Patriot RBs over 400 yards already.
5. Chris Bryant, Newsome: The junior had 24 carries for 112 yards the first five games of his varsity career. Last week? Six carries, 181 yards, 2 TDs.
6. Damon Willis, Robinson: Filled in for injured captain Jordan Guyton at linebacker and had 16 tackles against Armwood.
Throw them a life preserver
King rushed for 352 yards in Week 1. Since, the Lions have seen a significant drop from week to week.
Week 2: 258 (-94)
Week 3: 185 (-73)
Week 4: 42 (-143).
Young and wild
Minus a bad outing against Bradenton Christian in Week 2, Cambridge QB Garrett Young has thrown for 1,038 yards, 17 TDs, and rushed for seven TDs his past four games, dating to last season.
Glass half full
Mike Jalazo's Northeast football team, which lost most of its five to six best players in a mass transfer at the end of the summer, has played four games without scoring a single point. It's the second time in four seasons that Jalazo has coached a team that did not score in the first four games.
In 2010, Jalazo was the coach at Leto, which was outscored 145-0 through four weeks. That Falcon squad went seven straight games without scoring, so Jalazo has seen worse.