MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
1. St. Petersburg (6-0): After waiting all year for this game, the Green Devils got the result they wanted by exacting revenge with a 49-20 victory over Gibbs.
2. Countryside (6-0): It wasn’t pretty, but the Cougars stuck with their running game and made enough plays on defense to beat Clearwater 21-6.
3. East Lake (5-1): The passing game wasn’t clicking so the Eagles turned to the ground game to wear down PHU in a 38-28 win.
4. Largo (5-1): Even without quarterback Juwan Brown, the Packers cruised to a 55-0 victory over Leto.
5. CC Catholic (5-1): The Marauders rally from an early deficit to beat Indian Rocks Christian and keep playoff hopes alive.
6. Lakewood (3-3): The Class 3A-8 title appears remote for the Spartans, who lost to defending champion Jefferson 50-14.
7. Clearwater (4-2): The Tornadoes’ losses have come to Countryside and East Lake, which are a combined 11-1.
Did you know
• Each of Boca Ciega’s three losses have been by a point (20-19 to Countryside, 14-13 to Lakewood, 17-16 to Sickles).
• In the past two weeks, Largo has scored on 17 of its 19 possessions and racked up 106 points combined in victories over Tarpon Springs and Leto.
• St. Petersburg has scored at least 30 points in each of its six victories. Three times the Green Devils have scored more than 40.
This week’s games to watch
Tarpon Springs (3-3) at Countryside (6-0): This series has been marked by tight games with the visitor winning the past two. For the Spongers to keep that streak alive they’ll have to stop the Cougars’ vaunted ground game.
East Lake (5-1) at Northeast (3-2): This game looked a lot more appealing before the Vikings lost in overtime to Seminole. Still, it’s the only game in the county that matches teams with a winning record.
Clearwater (4-2) at Pinellas Park (2-3): Both teams are struggling and need a win this week before a tough stretch of district games.
Defensive player of the week
Rocco Roefaro, East Lake: In the second half against Palm Harbor University, Roefaro intercepted two passes, the last one helping set up a score to give the Eagles a comfortable 10-point lead. In all, East Lake recorded five interceptions, including four in the second half.
Offensive player of the week
Rashad Lewis, St. Petersburg: In a pivotal district game, Lewis had his game of the season, rushing for a team-high 220 yards and scoring five touchdowns in a rout over Gibbs. His first two scores came in the first quarter as the Green Devils opened a 21-0 lead.
What we learned
1. Billy Pavlock will keep Palm Harbor University in contention. The quarterback accounted for all of his team’s touchdowns in a loss to East Lake. Pavlock ran for two scores, including an 80-yard run that gave PHU a 14-7 halftime lead. His performance was even more impressive considering the Hurricanes lost two starting offensive linemen and running back Kenny Blanch to injuries in the third quarter.
2. The runnerup spot in Class 5A, District 9 is a mess. St. Petersburg is the front-runner and barring an upset in its remaining district games will win its second straight title. That’s the easy part. The hard thing is figuring out who will finish behind the Green Devils. Gibbs was a hot pick, but that was before the Gladiators started 1-5. Pinellas Park appeared poised to make a run, but that was before the Patriots lost quarterback Jesse Hevia for the season to a knee injury. Lately, Northeast seemed like a good choice. But then the Vikings lost in overtime to previously winless Seminole. Maybe no one wants the runnerup spot, considering the reward will most likely be a trip Bradenton to face defending state finalist Manatee.
3. Rashad Lewis is on a tear. The talk at the beginning of the season was whether Lewis could rush for 2,000 yards in the regular season. That appeared to be a tough goal for the St. Petersburg senior after he gained fewer than 600 yards in his first four games. But in the past two, Lewis has a combined 376 yards and eight touchdowns. He leads the bay area in rushing yards (931) and TDs (15). And with a favorable schedule that includes just one game against a team with a winning record (Northeast at 3-2), it’s not impossible for Lewis to get to 2,000.
Tyler Lane, East Lake: The Eagles’ workhorse ran for 166 yards and scored four times in a win over Palm Harbor University.
Nick Newton, Clearwater Central Catholic: The Marauders quarterback looked sharp, completing 11 of 13 passes for 117 yards and a score against Indian Rocks Christian.
Jarvis Stewart, Largo: He rushed for a team-high 159 yards and scored twice against Leto.
James Goodwin, Canterbury: The elusive back had his best game of the season with 125 yards each rushing and receiving against Shorecrest.
Runaldo Wright, Tarpon Springs: He had a touchdown reception and scored on a run in a rout over Ridgewood.
Chris Steiermann, Seminole: In overtime, he blocked a field goal to preserve a win over Northeast.