Times preps columnist John C. Cotey takes a look at the prep football season as we reach the halfway point.
Random thought I: I'm not sure the best team in Pinellas (St. Petersburg? Lakewood? Largo?) would be favored against any of the top eight in Hillsborough (Plant, TBT, Armwood, Hillsborough, Tampa Catholic, Spoto, Jefferson or Robinson). Just sayin'.
The Big 3: Tampa Bay Tech beat Plant, but lost to Armwood, which lost to Plant. That means the Panthers, who are proving that Wheaties and a nice, steaming latte are truly the breakfast of champions, are No. 1. But no matter how you rank 'em, there is absolutely no doubt these are Tampa Bay's best three football teams (and yes, I'm including the Bucs.)
Rain Delay: Remember when Plant and Hillsborough were 0-1 and getting ready to play each other, meaning someone was facing 0-2? Well, that game never happened, and Plant has gone on to beat Jefferson and Armwood, and Hillsborough has averaged 55 points in three straight wins. Best …rainout …ever.
Random thought II: When it comes to working the sidelines on Friday night, not too many coaches mix calm and reassuring with intensity better than Lakewood's Cory Moore. And not too many mix intensity with insanity better than Spoto's Dale Caparaso. I love watching them both.
If I had to pick a player of the year right now, I'd pick: 1. Bernard Reedy, ATH, Lakewood
2. Rodney Williams, LB/FB, Spoto
3. Mike Mirabella, LB, Plant
4. Quentin Williams, QB, Jefferson
5. Ricky Trinidad, RB, Mitchell
Five names I expect will make that list a Top 10 by the end of the year: Tampa Catholic QB Christian Green, Plant RB T.J. Glover, Plant RB/LB James Wilder, Armwood RB Matt Jones and Hillsborough WR Charles Lovett.
Remember Transfer-palooza? Well, here's how all the moving around has turned out:
1. Cary White, RB: He left Gaither in the fall, Chamberlain in the spring, and now leads Hillsborough County in rushing.
2. James Wilder, RB/LB: Chamberlain to Plant, and slowly but surely good to great.
3. Josh Grady, QB: Freedom to Armwood, and he'd be No. 1 had he been able to steer the Hawks past Plant last week.
4. Adrian Golden, RB: Pasco County record setter in 2008 to Tarpon Springs table setter in 2009 with almost 10 yards a carry.
5. Stevie Weatherford, QB: The Land O'Lakes-Tampa Catholic-Land O'Lakes route is about 50 miles, or one touchdown pass every 5 miles for the junior signal caller.
Random thought III: Is anyone else abnormally excited by Class 3A, District 8 and the looming showdowns between Spoto, Jefferson and Lakewood that will determine two playoff spots?
Best coaching jobs so far:
2. Plant's Bob Weiner and his band of merry assistants
3. Robinson's Mike DePue
4. Pinellas Park's Kenny Crawford
5. St. Petersburg's Joe Fabrizio
3 favorite swear words:
2. #%##^ $*&$##@
Random thought IV: As good as Sickles' start has been, it's crazy to think that a loss this week to Boca Ciega will eliminate the Gryphons from the postseason, barring a miracle.
Unappreciated: Offensive linemen, Durant, Mitchell coach Brian Wachtel, the wing-T, water boys, kick returners, good concession food, Robinson's Frankie Williams, the chain gang, good refereeing.
0 Wins by Chamberlain, which hasn't gone winless since 1966
4 Shutouts by Spoto, in five games
5 Shutouts by Spoto in six games, after this Friday against winless Dixie Hollins.
7 Remaining unbeaten teams: Carrollwood Day, Land O'Lakes, Mitchell, Robinson, Tampa Catholic, St. Petersburg, Spoto.
9 Total points Pinellas Park's losses are by.
16 Touchdowns for Countryside's Alton Taylor, tops in the area.
Six games you don't want to miss:
Jefferson at Lakewood, Friday: Loser will have to beat Spoto to have a playoff shot.
Countryside at Tarpon Springs, Oct. 15: Nothing on the line but pride and lots of trash talking.
Land O'Lakes at Pasco, Oct. 23: District title will be on the line in an underrated and almost always thrilling rivalry game.
Alonso at Sickles, Oct. 30: They don't care much for each other.
St. Petersburg Catholic at Jesuit, Nov. 6: Will be for the runnerup playoff spot behind Robinson.
Tampa Catholic at Jesuit, Nov. 13: Is this the year? (Yes …but shhhh).
Random thought V: Plant vs. Lakeland would be fun.
Oh-0! These are your winless teams, ranked in order of chances of staying winless:
1. Chamberlain: Three of final five are against Alonso, Armwood and Plant. At Gaither Oct. 22 may be final chance to avoid first winless season since 1967.
2. Dunedin: Mark Everett took over Dunedin's last 0-10 team in 1999.
3. Dixie Hollins: The Rebels have two winless teams remaining on their schedule. And yes, they're still on this list.
4. Central: Dear FHSAA, Thanks for putting us in a district with Lecanto. Love, the Bears.
5. Bloomingdale: Best chances to win may have passed, but we'd be surprised if Bulls didn't pull off an upset down the road.
John Cotey can be reached at [email protected]