Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Daily district breakdown: Class 5A-7

As the 2009 prep football season approaches, the Times will take a day-by-day look at each district involving a local team. Today we look at Class 5A, District 7.

Teams

Brandon, Freedom, Tampa Bay Tech, Wharton

What changed

Tampa Bay Tech makes the move up from 4A, while New Tampa neighbors Freedom and Wharton join Brandon.

Three story lines

1. TBT tops: No team may have benefitted more from district realignment than TBT. No longer do the Titans have to be the third horse in a district with postseason regulars Armwood and Hillsborough. This year, with a vaunted defense and stellar running game, TBT is the team to beat.

2. Wildcats reloaded? Will Wharton miss a beat after losing a pair of Division I recruits — RB/DB Jairus Jones and QB Andrew Clifford — in its drive for a third straight district crown? Running back Shane McEwen, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, will have lots to say about that.

3. Panthers to Patriots: Can former NFL player James Harrell, the mastermind of the Plant defenses that won two state titles the past three years, take Freedom and its breadth of talent to the playoffs — and more importantly give Patriots fans the coaching stability they've never had?

Key games

Freedom at Wharton, Oct. 23: Neighborhood foes have made this New Tampa rivalry one of the county's best.

Wharton at Tampa Bay Tech, Nov. 6: We think this game will decide the district championship and be a hard-hitting affair.

District's five best players

Maurice Hagens, Sr., RB, Tampa Bay Tech: Coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, the University of Miami commit has his eyes on the county rushing title. He is a bulldozing back (6 feet, 230 pounds) who breaks tackles, has good speed, quick feet and is the No. 1 reason TBT is the team to beat in this district.

Eric Hammond, Sr., DT, Wharton: Size (6-2, 290) and speed off the line make him one of the top gap-stoppers in the state; he's at his third school since the end of last season.

Greg Hickman, Sr., LB, Tampa Bay Tech: The Middleton transfer (6-1, 240) makes plays from sideline to sideline and offers another option in the offensive backfield.

T.J. Mutcherson, Sr., CB, Freedom: Steady defender is always around the ball. He has caught the eye of North Carolina, which has offered him a scholarship.

Sean Watson, Sr., S/WR, Brandon: We think he is the county's most underrated player. He does it all for the Eagles, rarely coming off the field.

Predicted order of finish

1. Tampa Bay Tech

2. Wharton

3. Freedom

4. Brandon

Eduardo A. Encina can be reached at eencina@sptimes.com

Daily district breakdown: Class 5A-7 08/05/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 9:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  2. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  3. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  4. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.
  5. Rays up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: Off

    Up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field.