Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Games hold answers for Hillsborough County football teams, fans

BRANDON

It's that time of the year when the dog days of summer bleed over into autumn as footballs all across the county will be teed up for the first time Friday. • Weekends scream football and Friday nights are the perfect appetizer to the college and pro ranks. The SouthShore and Brandon area again possesses quality football teams with Armwood leading the way, thanks to promising new quarterback Noah Johnson and a defense that may prove suffocating. • Elsewhere, questions remain unanswered. Who will replace Times' Player of the Year Will Worth at Newsome? Can Strawberry Crest's Tristan Hyde, who threw for more than 2,000 yards as a sophomore, make the jump into the county's elite? Will transfer Jon Hendricks be able to fill the huge shoes left behind by Durant tailback Jamarlon Hamilton? • All the answers can be found in the action this fall. Are you ready for some football?

Cornerstone Academy at Seffner Christian

Last week: Cornerstone Academy beat Legacy Charter 31-7; Seffner Christian did not play.

Why you should go: Seffner Christian's Marcus Richardson is poised to have a breakout season after a solid sophomore year in 2012. Richardson ran for 593 yards last season, good for second on the team, but posted an impressive 6.9 yards per carry average.

Plant City at Steinbrenner

Last week: Plant City lost to Jefferson 48-26; Sunlake beat Steinbrenner 8-6.

Why you should go: Plant City lost to a talented Jefferson team last week in the kickoff classic but showed flashes themselves. Keep an eye on UCF commit Landon Galloway, who takes over at quaterback after playing receiver last year.

Newsome at Tampa Bay Tech

Last week: Newsome did not play; Tampa Bay Tech beat Blake 56-0.

Why you should go: This will be a stingy early-season test for the Wolves, who traditionally have a tough out-of-district schedule.

Armwood at Durant

Last week: Armwood beat Cooper City 44-7; Durant defeated Oak Ridge 42-27.

Why you should go: A nice opening week match for two of the most consistent programs in the eastern part of the county. The Hawks look to have a nice mix of talent but don't expect Durant to shy away.

Strawberry Crest at Bloomingdale

Last week: Strawberry Crest beat Middleton 33-0; Bloomingdale defeated Freedom 30-14.

Why you should go: The Chargers went 4-6 in John Kelly's first season but appear poised to turn some heads this year. Strawberry Crest has a ton of offensive weapons and will be fun to watch.

Spoto at Wharton

Last week: Spoto did not play; Gaither defeated Wharton 21-9.

Why you should go: Chase Litton is arguably the best dropback QB in the county and Spartans coach Dale Caparaso said he's got the best defense in his five years at Spoto. Something's got to give.

Brandon at Blake

Last week: Brandon defeated Lakewood Ranch 23-21; Tampa Bay Tech beat Blake 56-0.

Why you should go: It was a tough 2013 for first-year coach Dean Eychner as the Eagles finished 1-9. This opener should prove more competitive than last year's 55-0 loss to Armwood.

East Bay at Lennard

Last week: East Bay defeated Chamberlain 46-20; Lennard lost to St. Petersburg Catholic 42-29.

Why you should go: East Bay's had back-to-back 4-6 seasons under Frank LaRosa but find iself in a well-balanced 7A-8 this season. The race between Strawberry Crest, Durant, Plant City and the Indians could be one of the tightest in the county.

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