Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Thrilling high school football deserves big crowd

It's a mistake.

Every self-avowed football fan who passed up one of last week's state semifinal high school games made a mistake.

If you love watching the Seminoles, Gators or Bulls on Saturdays, if you lustily root for the Bucs on Sundays, you should have made your way to Armwood or Plant last week.

What did you miss? Extremely competitive games practically guaranteed before kickoff to be nail-biters. Since 2004, almost every state semifinal game played in this county has been thrilling.

At Armwood, the Hawks sealed their trip to Saturday's Class 6A state semifinal with a thrilling triple-overtime win.

Plant came up on the losing end, but gave an entertaining effort in a shootout against Apopka. Besides, any game at Dad's Stadium is worthy.

I went to Armwood, where my sons once played, and joined the rest of the fans in standing through most of the fourth quarter and the three overtime periods. Bartram Trail stormed back from a 14-0 deficit to tie the game.

The teams then took turns trying to score from the 10-yard line. Both teams get an offensive possession in each overtime, and with each touchdown, the game grew more and more suspenseful.

When Armwood knocked down a pass to thwart Bartram Trail's last scoring attempt, coaches jumped into the air, players spilled onto the field and parents hugged each other as they began to chant, "We're going to the 'ship. We're going to the 'ship."

When the Bartram Trail players lined up to shake hands, they received warm applause from the home crowd. Afterward, each team huddled and many of the parents and family members remained in the stands.

Maybe they were trying to catch their breath, maybe they wished for more action. The announcer had to encourage them to leave.

I looked at the $9 ticket I bought to get in, and thought to myself that the value far outpaced the thrills I viewed after paying $15.50 to see Thor in IMAX 3D.

And then I thought about the crowd that gathered at Lyle Flagg Field. The throng, loud, encouraging and spirited, deserves credit for coming out. But to be honest, it should have been larger.

Tarpon Springs East Lake hosted a state semifinal last week and had to add extra stands to accommodate all the fans. So many people in the community came out for the game that many had to sit on the visiting side.

Armwood didn't have any overflow problems.

That's a shame.

Perhaps the novelty of having a state contending football team has worn off at Armwood, which now moves into its second decade of perennial playoff contention.

Allegiances are divided among so many different high schools. I know some begrudgingly may hold their support because of the program's past problems with player eligibility.

But I also know from first-hand experience that coach Sean Callahan is doing a great job instilling character in his players. I know that the Hawks' last five state semifinal games have been arguably more exciting than the state championship games.

I know a team that wins so consistently and proves so entertaining should be a more captivating force in a community known for sinkholes and recreational vehicle sales.

Most of all, I know when people ask do I miss covering sports, I don't think about Super Bowls, highly paid athletes or overzealous college fans.

I think about Friday nights.

That's all I'm saying.

Comments
Construction poised to begin this week on four-story boutique hotel in Ybor City

Construction poised to begin this week on four-story boutique hotel in Ybor City

TAMPA — A ceremony marking the start of construction on a four-story, $32 million boutique hotel at 1402 E Seventh Avenue has been set for Thursday.The site is now a parking lot, but plans on file with the city of Tampa outline a hotel project with 1...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
What’s next for the Rays’ new pitching strategy

What’s next for the Rays’ new pitching strategy

ST. PETERSBURG — When Kevin Cash called team president Matt Silverman Sunday morning to wish him happy birthday, he expected to get back some form of an "attaboy" for implementing the Rays' latest unorthodox pitching strategy in using reliever ...
Updated: 7 minutes ago

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Editorial: Work on the broad areas where Americans, those who own guns and those who don’t, agree

Editorial: Work on the broad areas where Americans, those who own guns and those who don’t, agree

e_SSLqThe worst school shooting since ... February." The sentence jumps off the page of a news story in the aftermath of the murder of eight students and two teachers at Santa Fe High School in Texas. It has been only three months since a gunman kill...
Updated: 8 minutes ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant As a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant tin rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from my home. It will run 1.4 mile...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

TALLAHASSEE — The parent company of Florida utility giant Florida Power & Light announced Monday that it will buy the largest electricity producer in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power, in a $6.4 billion deal.Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. said in a...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Hernando churches offer many options for vacation Bible school

Hernando churches offer many options for vacation Bible school

Will your child find a loose moose, be shipwrecked, travel to outer space or become a world changer? Perhaps he or she would prefer to spend time camping in the great outdoors or play high-energy games and learn what it’s like to become fully alive i...
Updated: 23 minutes ago

Updated: 1 hour ago

Hernando Religion Calendar for May 25

Weeki WacheeUnitarian Universalist Church in the Pines, Heather Community Center, 9100 Nakoma Way, is collecting old blankets, towels, dog bowls, dog toys, leashes and harnesses to help low/no income families and individuals care for their pet(s). Do...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida man climbs atop playground equipment at Clearwater park, tells kids where babies come from

Florida man climbs atop playground equipment at Clearwater park, tells kids where babies come from

A Florida man climbed atop a piece of equipment at a Clearwater Beach playground Sunday and yelled at a bunch of children in the area.His message: Where babies come from.Police took Otis Dawayne Ryan, 30, into custody on a charge of disorderly conduc...
Updated: 1 hour ago