Friday, November 24, 2017
Sports

Durant set to get over the 'Hump'

RECOMMENDED READING


PLANT CITY — Every time the flag football teams from Plant City and Durant meet up, something seems to be on the line.

Often it's a district championship.

And so far the Raiders have the upper hand. Durant head coach Brad Brunson has a name for this.

"We've got to get over the Plant City Hump," says Brunson, whose team seems prepared to do just that.

The flag football season kicks off Tuesday, and Durant looks primed to put a dent in the Raiders' reign.

Six seasons ago, the first for flag football programs in Hillsborough County, Durant ousted the Raiders. But the last two times they've met for the district title, it's been Plant City's game, including last year.

Durant hopes for a change this year.

"We graduated 12 seniors, and they have everybody back," Plant City coach Larry Langston said. "They're gonna be tough."

Talented quarterback Jessica McClernan returns for a Cougar offense that averaged 42 points per game in a 9-2 season. Ashley Piechowiak was a two-way standout as a ninth-grader, and TE/LB Chelsea Barcena also will play both ways.

Brunson says compared to most teams, which are trying to get a feel for where their best talent should line up in the first couple of games, Durant is practically set. Besides having everyone back, the Cougars were able to play in some AAU tournaments this offseason.

And they've been keeping up on their skills.

"Last year we stressed speed. This year it's been about hands," Brunson said. "Throw the ball with your dad. Throw the ball with your boyfriend, whatever. And we've kept up the speed part."

Durant has its open date Tuesday so the Cougars kick off Thursday at Tampa Bay Tech.

Plant City hosts East Bay to start the season Tuesday. The Raiders will break in Avery Brown at quarterback after she stood out as a freshman receiver. The team will be sharing three with the softball team: Kacie Booth, Shae Coughlin and Kristen Wyckoff. Unfortunately for the Raiders they will miss two games due to softball conflicts, one against Durant on April 11.

Langston expects seniors Shay Wright and Ali Grimmel to lead.

Strawberry Crest visits Raider Stadium on Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Chargers have a new offensive coordinator in Isaac Anderson, who happens to hold that same role for the boys football team.

Head coach Andre Lewis was pretty excited over his team's performance in a preseason tournament last weekend, losing twice but hanging close against Bloomingdale and East Bay.

"We only have seven returners, and that's combined from varsity and JV," Lewis said. "I think our defense is going to carry us."

Lewis said several players didn't come back because they wanted to focus on other sports. Brunson had a similar situation with track standout Lanay Dunbar choosing to stick with that endeavor even though the schedule offers a chance for girls to play both.

"We play (mostly) Monday and Thursday, so it's possible to do both track and football," he said. "But it becomes too demanding. I tell my girls if you can get a scholarship in track, do track.

"Right now flag football is for fun."

Darek Sharp can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Round 3 playoff predictions

Round 3 playoff predictions

Region finalsClass 7ANo. 3 Plant (11-1) at No. 1 Lakeland (10-0)Rodney Page: Lakeland 23-21. Probably the best playoff matchup of the six area games remaining. The Panthers narrowly escaped last week and playing at perennial power Lakeland might be t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bulls-Knights: 4 final thoughts

Bulls-Knights: 4 final thoughts

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving Day is peaceful, pleasant and calorific. Here's hoping you also leave a little room to digest these final four USF-UCF thoughts before the "War on I-4" kicks off.1. The strength-versus-strength subplots in this game ar...
Updated: 6 minutes ago

Friday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMissouri vs. St. John’s11 a.m.ESPNewsArkansas State at USFnoon820-AMVillanova vs. Northern IowanoonESPN2Wooden Legacy: St. Mary’s (Calif.) vs. Washington State1:30 p.m.ESPNewsTennessee vs. N.C. State2:30 p.m.ESPN2PK80: Portland...
Updated: 19 minutes ago

Ugly injury sidelines Mississippi State QB

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald sustained a gruesome right ankle injury in the first quarter that forced him to leave Thursday’s game against Mississippi. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Fitzgerald was running the ball when ...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Sports in brief

SoccerStudy to look into soccer players and brain disease LONDON — A major study into whether soccer players are at risk of degenerative brain disease was commissioned Thursday amid concerns that the sport’s authorities in England haven’t done enough...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Captain’s Corner: Switching to bottom fishing for grouper, snapper

With water temperatures falling, offshore anglers soon will have less species to target. Migratory species such as cobia, kingfish and Spanish mackerel will be migrating south for the winter. Most offshore captains will switch to bottom fishing for g...
Published: 11/23/17
Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

By BOB PUTNAMCLEARWATER — The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot has long been a fixture on Jon Mott’s sporting calendar. Not even a 103-degree fever Tuesday could keep him away from the event, in its 39th year. Mott, a record four-time 10k champion, added ...
Published: 11/23/17

Published: 11/23/17
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Published: 11/23/17

Latest lineNBAFavorite Line O/U Underdog Portland 3½ (211) at BROOK New York 2 (207½) at ATL at BOS 8½ (208) Orlando at O.C. 8 (204) Detroit at MINN 4 (207½) Miami Toronto 1½ (216½) at IND at CLEVE OFF (OFF) Char. at DEN 6 (208½) Mem. N.O. 6 (229) at...
Published: 11/23/17