MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
1. Armwood (6-1): Hawks no longer winning big, but winning nonetheless.
2. Plant (5-1): Have the Panthers uncovered another gem under center (Colby Brown)?
3. Robinson (6-0): Knights defense to visit White House on Monday, bat for A-Rod on Tuesday.
4. Durant (6-0): Newsome might be last team with a realistic shot to keep Durant from an unbeaten regular season.
5. Wharton (4-2): The Wildcats sure had a nice rebound: a five-touchdown romp over New Tampa rival Freedom.
6. Sickles (4-2): Gryphons kept alive their playoff hopes with their first win over Earl Garcia's Terriers.
7. Hillsborough (5-1): The Terriers don't have much time to mourn their first loss with Armwood next.
In the conversation: Berkeley Prep (6-0), Gaither (5-1), Jesuit (5-2), Tampa Bay Tech (4-2), Tampa Catholic (6-1)
A few guys we should've appreciated more:
Brandon Hawkins, Alonso. The Ravens senior continued his quietly efficient season, going 7-for-10 for 113 yards and one TD in a 27-10 win against Plant City.
Caylon Holloway, Armwood. The 155-pound sophomore had 133 yards and two TDs on 23 carries in a 35-18 win at Strawberry Crest.
Nate Mills, Sickles. The Gryphons senior came off the bench to complete a 44-yard touchdown pass on his first throw in a win over Hillsborough. He completed 7-of-10 passes for 114 yards and added 37 yards rushing.
Tyler Small, Jefferson. The Dragons captain had his first career sack and a fumble recovery in a win against King.
By the numbers
0 interceptions, in 93 pass attempts, by Alonso QB Brandon Hawkins this season
7 fumbles, two lost, by Sickles in its win over Hillsborough
23 total points surrendered by Alonso during its four-game win streak
111 rushing yards for Jesuit sophomore Kevin Newman against Dunedin
218 receiving yards for Carrollwood Day senior Nate Lewis against Bradenton Christian
306 passing yards for Strawberry Crest sophomore Tristan Hyde against Armwood
With 2½ minutes left in the third quarter Friday, King led Jefferson 8-6. In the final 14½ minutes, the Dragons scored 35 unanswered points. Thirty-five. One key was three quick Lions turnovers. The other? "Last week, being up 21-0 on (Hillsborough), we thought we were going to come out here and just run over them," Jefferson QB Deiondre Porter said. "But they showed us that, 'Hey, y'all are going to have to work for this win.' But the thing is, that's nothing. We'll work for a win."
"Our defense would be the greatest high school fantasy football defense ever." — Shawn Taylor, Robinson OL coach, who has watched the defense score 12 TDs, including Demetrius Page's pick-six against Gibbs
"Karel is the best player in the county with no D-I offers. We're going to change that." — John Kelly, Strawberry Crest coach, on WR Karel Hamilton, who had 13 catches, 233 yards and two TDs against Armwood
"I saw a lot of Cover 2 and one-on-one matchups up the middle with a linebacker trying to cover K.J. deep downfield. I knew we could have some success there." — Chase Litton, Wharton QB, who hit senior K.J. Hopkins five times for 160 yards and two TDs
Three thoughts looking ahead
1. Thursday night lights? All but a handful of games involving Hillsborough County schools will be played Thursday. The county's first grading period ends that day and there is no school Friday.
2. If Hillsborough had been two points better Friday, next week's game against Armwood would have been a huge District 8-6A showdown between unbeaten teams. But after the Terriers' loss at Sickles, they'll merely be fighting to stay in second place in the district. So it's still a big game.
3. After sitting out the past two weeks with a shoulder injury, Plant QB Aaron Banks should be ready to return in time to play Alonso. Colby Brown, a junior, has filled in admirably but Banks will likely need a tuneup before the annual grudge match with Armwood on Oct. 26.