Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Armwood-Plant highlights Week 9 prep football slate


It rarely gets much bigger than Plant vs. Armwood.

These teams have met on national television, tune-ups for the postseason and a few times in the playoffs. Players like Robert Marve, Torrey Davis, Aaron Murray, Ryne Giddins and Orson Charles are just a few of the blue-chippers involved in the yearly meeting.

But something is a little different this year. Neither team has looked like world-beaters, or at least by their high standards.

Armwood has lost twice and Plant once so far this season. The Panthers, ranked No. 2 in 8A, slipped past Tampa Bay Tech and Alonso by seven and 10 points, respectively. Armwood squeaked past Sickles 20-16 and was shutout 3-0 against Hillsborough last week, the first time the Hawks had lost to a county team not named Plant since 2005.

"There's a great history between us and Plant," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said. "What we need to do is eliminate the mistakes, which we've been making a lot of lately."

Callahan said there have been so many great matchups in this rivalry that no one in particular stands out. And even though this season has been more of a grind in recent memory for each team, both will have plenty of future D1 athletes such as Armwood's Alvin Bailey and Leon McQuay III and Plant's Wesley Bullock.

"It's always Plant and Armwood," Callahan said. "It's going to be physical, rock 'em sock 'em stuff. One thing you can count on is both teams will be better teams after the game."

Armwood (6-2) at Plant (6-1)

Last week: Hillsborough defeated Armwood 3-0; Plant defeated Alonso 22-12

Why you should go: Because it's Plant and Armwood.

Plant City (3-4) at Brandon (1-6)

Last week: East Bay defeated Plant City 34-12; Brandon defeated Riverview 16-8.

Why you should go: The Brandon defense. After losing the first six games of Dean Eychner's tenure, the Eagles' D didn't allow a touchdown last week — Riverview returned a punt for a score. The Eagles also recorded five sacks, recovered a pair of fumbles, blocked a field goal and forced a turnover on downs inside their own 10-yard line with less than two minutes to play.

Durant (7-0) at East Bay (3-4)

Last week: Durant defeated Newsome 38-28; East Bay defeated Plant City 34-12.

Why you should go: Again, we give a nod to the defense. Durant forced four turnovers in a big district win against Newsome, including linebacker Colin Kiehlmeier's 43-yard interception return for a TD.

Lennard (0-8) at Spoto (2-5)

Last week: Blake defeated Lennard 18-0; Robinson defeated Spoto 47-0.

Why you should go: To see if either one of these teams can get in the end zone after shutouts last week. In fact, Lennard hasn't scored a touchdown dating back to Sept. 28 against Berkeley Prep.

Newsome (3-4) at Riverview (2-5)

Last week: Durant defeated Newsome 38-28; Brandon defeated Riverview 16-8.

Why you should go: Newsome junior defensive back Ramsey Bennett has had a nice season. Bennett is second on the team with 8.4 tackles per game, has caused a pair of fumbles and recovered two more.

Strawberry Crest (3-4) at Sickles (4-3)

Last week: Strawberry Crest defeated Leto 76-7; Jefferson defeated Sickles 21-14.

Why you should go: The Chargers are known for their high-flying attack, but don't forget about Chris Perez. The junior tailback ran for 145 yards and three TDs last week against Leto.

Cambridge Christian (4-4) at Seffner Christian (4-3)

Last week: Carrollwood Day School defeated Cambridge Christian 45-24; Seffner Christian defeated Merritt Island Christian 24-23.

Why you should go: Give the kicker some love. The Crusaders' Dylan Snow nailed the game-winning 20-yard field goal with 12 seconds left last week.

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