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Wed. September 12, 2012 | John C. Cotey | Email

Midweek Grab Bag: Upset special to end all upset specials, and more

The Grab Bag is getting bigger and bigger, and you don't need to do any panning to find the nuggets here. The're everywhere. And do not EVER forget, people: Big bank take 'lil bank.

P.S. Coaches, players, fans, parents, to reach the Grab Bag, and you should, email cotey@tampabay.com or follow me @JohnnyHomeTeam, which is one of the more fabulous high school sports Twitter accounts in the land according to...well, me.  

Week 3's Dandy Dozen

1. Largo at Countryside: I’m not only concerned with the heft of the Cougars' offensive line, but Largo running back Jarvis Stewart came into the season with 11 games under his belt. He rushed for 100 in 10 of them. The one he didn’t? Last year’s loss to Countryside, in which he had 21 yards on 13 carries. Gimme Countryside 27-20.

2. Robinson at Jesuit: Jesuit is averaging a paltry 3.3 yards per carry. The Tigers scored only 16 poinst against Middleton. And they have an inexperienced quarterback. All signs point to a Knights win. And yet....Jesuit 14-7.

3. East Lake at Tarpon Springs: Running back Michael Ford has been impressive for the Spongers, but the competition has been less than stellar. I’ll take the battle-tested Eagles 31-21.

4. Jefferson at Plant: Home sweet home for the Panthers, who are probably still hopping mad about last week’s beatdown in the bayou. For a group of Dragins who have had to play in the big shadow of the program’s 2010 state champs, this could be a defining victory. Or not. Plant 30-20.

5. Tampa Catholic at St. Pete Catholic: I liked this gae alot more with Ryan Green in it. It might have been my upset special. Now? I’m solid on the Crusaders 30-10.

6. Wharton at Chamberlain: The Chiefs' defensive backfield, led by Jermaine Gilyard and Ronnie Scott, will get a big test this week. Wharton QB Chase Litton has been given some weapons this year and it looks like he knows what to do with them. Wharton 26-21.

7. Strawberry Crest at Steinbrenner: This rivalry should be reignited this year now that both teams have new coaches and high expectations. But for now, it’s a Warriors kind of night 33-26.

8. Newsome at Hillsborough: The Wolves are off to a slow start, and Hillsborough is still a question mark after beating Middleton and getting rained out last week. This week, the Terriers become an exclamation mark. Hillsborough 28-14.

9. Bloomingdale at East Bay: Great matchup of running backs between the Bulls' Eugene Baker and East Bay’s Brandon Byrd. I flipped a coin, it came up Bulls 36-33.

10. Leto at Riverview: If the Falcons are going to snap their infamous losing streak, they might want to take advantage of this week’s matchup. I just don’t think they have enough to do so. Riverview 19-12.

11. Blake at Dunedin: I just want to see how many weeks in a row I can pick Dunedin to win and be wrong. Falcons 35-24.

12. King at Alonso: I thought both teams would be better than they have shown so far. I’ll take Alonso one more time, and if they lose, I will pick the Ravens....all together now....NEVERMORE! Alonso 27-22.

Upset Special: Tampa Bay Tech over Armwood
Heck, in a week where I’ve put Countryside No. 1 in my top 25 and picked Team Cee Lo to win this season on The Voice, why not? I’ve said since the spring I thought Tech was ready for a breakthrough, and I wrote in the preseason tab that I thought this was, possibly, their best team ever. Conventional wisdom says no one wants to play Armwood after a loss so we will definitely see if the Titans deserve the HomeTeam hype. TBT 19-18.

Grab Bag offensive player of the week
With the loss of star running back Ryan Green just a few days earlier, St. Petersburg Catholic was heading nowhere fast Friday night against Crescent City. A loss would be devastating, set a bad tone, crush the spirit of a group that thinks it can win without the FSU signee. Which is why Garrett Vallario’s 23-yard field goal as time expired to the give the Barons a 23-21 win was so, so, so big.

Grab Bag defensive player of the week
So, when does Matt LePain's four-DVD set "Stopping the Wing-T" come out? For the second straight year, LePain's Palm Harbor University defense shut down one of the strongest rushing attacks in Pinellas County, holding St. Petersburg to 71 yards rushing in last week's 27-6 win.

The Hurricanes became just the second team in the past three years to hold the Green Devils to less than 100 yards rushing. The other team? PHU, last season.

In fact, you have to go back to the 2009 season opener to find the last time St. Petersburg rushed for fewer than 100 yards against someone not nicknamed the Hurricanes, running for 76 in a 14-11 win over East Lake.

Connor Dorris has eight tackles, Quentin Cumings had seven and a sack and Steve Charron had 2.5 sacks for the feisty Hurricanes.

By the numbers
2 -- Touchdowns in each of the first two games by Springstead sophomore RB Daniel Wright. No one else has done that.

223 -- fewer yards East Bay gained rushing this week than last.

29 -- straight regular-season wins by Pasco, longest current streak in Tampa Bay.

27 -- straight regular season wins by Countryside

13 -- Central's losing streak that ended last week with a win over Wildwood

11 -- Seminole's losing streak that ended last week with the win over Dixie Hollins.

Sparkling Spartans
Lakewood's defense, which features the Griffin twins Shaquill and Shaquem, was highly regarded coming into the season, and so far has delivered. In two games, Lakewood is one of two teams that hasn't allowed a point. The other is Springstead.

You have to go back  along ways to find the last time Lakewood shut out consecutive opponents. Like, almost 20 years, before any of the current Spartans were born.

In back-to-back games in 1993, the Spartans shut out River Ridge 22-0 and Kissimmee Gateway 33-0. This year, they have blanked Seminole (46-0) and Blake (33-0), and get this: allowed just 18 total yards rushing.

Springsteady
Speaking of Springstead, the Eagles haven't posted consecutive shutouts since 2008 (Central 49-0 and Hernando 21-0), but you have to go back even further to find the last 2-0 start for red-hot Springstead.

In 2005, the Eagles opened the season with wins over Pasco and Nature Coast Tech. The last 3-0 start for Springstead? In 2004, when the Eagles started 6-0.

Special Stew
So, how is Emmanuel Stewart's repaired anterior cruciate ligament? You tell me.

After two weeks, the Gibbs senior standout is Tampa Bay's only player with a 100-yard rushing game with a touchdown, and a 100-yard receiving game with a touchdown.

After rushing for 121 yards in the season-opening loss to St. Petersburg, Stewart caught five passes for 117 yards in last week's win over Lennard.

So far in 2012, Stewart has 328 yards of offense from the line of scrimmage, showing the knee injury that shelved him for most of last season is just dandy, .

Fresh men!
A couple of freshmen are making big impacts already, so put them on your radar now:

1.  Plant CIty RB Ervin Micheal is 2-for-2 when it comes to 100-yard games.

2. Bloomingdale QB Isaiah McIntyre made his debut last week like so: 12-for-12, 2 TDs.

3. Indian Rocks Christian RB Zeke McGaughy carried 15 times for 194 yards and two TDs…oh, and had 11 tackles.

Billy who?
There has been no greater revelation this season than PHU quarterback Tyler Kaminski.

If having to replace Billy Pavlock, the best the school has had, wasn’t enough, Kaminski also assumed the controls of a team coming off its first playoff appearance.

But the 6-0, 190-pound junior has been smoooooooth. In two games, has completed 16 of 22 passes, and last week was 10-for-15 for 201 yards in the big win over St. Petersburg. He has thrown a touchdown pass in each game, and also rushed for two against Clearwater and one against the Green Devils.

We suspect there are a few more offensive revelations to get to out in Palm Harbor (we’re looking at you, Jonah Fiskaa, Shane Dixon, Dominic Bonelli and Demetri Royer)

On target
Northeast quarterback Ryan Davis is a future star, and has opened this season on a good note: 34 passes, 26 completions, 394 yards, while rushing for 130 yards in two games. He has thrown three interceptions though. Add those catches by opponents into his stats, and 29 of his 34 passes have not hit the ground, or 85 percent.

Porter's house
Jefferson quarterback Deiondre Porter bounced back from a poor performance to throw for a career-high 296 yards last week, the third time in his last five games dating to last season that he threw for 270 yards or more.

Bucs are the best
Now that Armwood and Plant both lost last week, the longest current regular-season winning streak in Hillsborough County belongs to Berkeley Prep, winners of 15 straight.

Oh brother
Chris Moore was a standout at Jefferson and now plays at Cincinnati, and Dragons coach Jeremy Earle predicted in the preseason that his, brother, Jonathan was next to break out.

Earle nailed it.

Jonathan Moore had nine catches for 134 yards and 2 TDs last week against Newsome, and leads Jefferson with 15 grabs for 197 yards this season.

That's much better
Steinbrenner's defense was shredded in Week 1, but rebounded nicely in last week's 23-0 win over East Bay. The Warriors only allowed 185 yards to an offense that piled up 408 rushing yards the week before, and had five sacks and two fumble recoveries.

Fully baked
Bloomingdale RB Eugene Baker ran for 171 yards against Strawberry Crest, which will be glad to see Baker graduate this school year. Last year, Baker ran for 186 yards against the Chargers, and in two games scored five touchdowns.

You do the math
Tampa Catholic’s T.J. Harrell only has 10 carries this season, but he averages 14.8 yards every time he touches the ball and scores on 30 percent of them.

De ja vu
If that 34-21 score Canterbury lost by last week looked familiar, it should: the Crusaders lost by the same score the week before as well.

Reaching for the positive
Middleton has had a tough couple of seasons, but the Tigers can always tell their grandchildren they held Jesuit to 16 points in 2012, and held Lakewood to 15 points in 2011.

One more time, with feeling: Coaches, players, fans, parents, to reach the Grab Bag, and you should, email cotey@sptimes.com or follow me @JohnnyHomeTeam, which is one of the more fabulous high school sports Twitter accounts in the land according to...well, me. 

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