Saturday, December 16, 2017

Hillsborough: Sunday morning quarterback

Hillsborough Super 7

1. Armwood (9-0, 8-0): Egad! The Hawks gave up a touchdown for just the second time in their past four games but routed Chamberlain 38-7.

2. Plant (8-1-1, 5-0): The Panthers were already headed for the playoffs, but why not ruin someone else's chances? The Panthers beat Alonso 56-27 and cruises into their ninth straight postseason.

3. Sickles (8-1, 5-0): Don't look past that stingy defense, which held Tampa Bay Tech to its fewest yards this season in a 35-8 win. The Gryphons have allowed 21 total points in their past three games.

4. Tampa Catholic (8-1, 5-0): Senior Kenny Bryant (110 yards) and the Crusaders ran over Bishop McLaughlin 56-3 for their eighth consecutive win. Next stop before the playoffs: a grudge match against rival Jesuit.

5. Jefferson (8-1, 7-1): After a 56-0 win over Blake, this week's matchup against Steinbrenner will be just another tuneup for a playoff opener against Largo.

6. Plant City (7-2, 3-1): The Raiders, who beat Brandon 26-3, appear to be peaking at the right time. We'll soon see if the three-game win streak will carry over to the three-way tiebreaker for district title.

7. Jesuit (6-3, 2-0): Now the Tigers, who beat Middleton 35-0, and Tampa Catholic both have district titles in their pockets heading into Friday's rivalry game.

Blind side

Things we didn't see coming:

Sickles destroys TBT: Tampa Bay Tech appeared to be one of the best teams around earlier in the season, but Sickles scored 21 points in the first quarter and never let up.

Berkeley Prep tops Frostproof: The Bucs' 2-3 district record is deceiving, considering they lost to Tampa Catholic, Lakeland Christian and Fort Meade by a combined 12 points. Scoring 21 unanswered points to top the Bulldogs 21-3 was a validation of a strong team.

Wharton's comeback: The Wildcats' 22-point fourth quarter in a 30-23 win over Bloomingdale wasn't a shock. The fact that it came without a touchdown pass is remarkable.

Tiebreaker preview

Plant City, East Bay and Strawberry Crest will vie for the two 7A-8 playoff berths at Plant City on Monday. Their district records are identical at 3-1, but the matchups have been lopsided; two of the three games between them were decided by at least three touchdowns.

East Bay keeps finding unconventional ways to win, such as scoring two fourth-quarter safeties in Friday's 10-7 win over Durant.

Strawberry Crest's young program has a shot at its first playoff appearance in program history and should be refreshed coming off of a bye week.

Expect Plant City QB Landon Galloway to be one of the night's key players. Since East Bay held the UCF commitment to 38 passing yards and two interceptions in a 19-13 Indians win, Galloway has completed 64 percent of his passes and accounted for 11 touchdowns.

Five stars of the night

Plant City RB Sterling Day: He rushed for three touchdowns in a 26-3 win over Brandon 26-3 that forced the 7A-8 tiebreaker.

Wharton RB Jeff Keil: His three rushing TDs included the biggest of the night — the winner in the closing seconds of a must-win game over Bloomingdale. He added the two-point conversion for good measure.

Hillsborough QB Dwayne Lawson: The junior threw for 311 yards and accounted for four touchdowns — three passing, one rushing — in a 40-10 win against Robinson.

Gaither QB Alex McGough: The FIU commitment threw for 189 yards and ran for 125, including a 60-yard touchdown with less than a minute to go in a 35-30 win against Steinbrenner.

Cambridge Christian QB Garrett Young: The 6-foot-1 junior rushed for a touchdown, threw for a TD and returned an interception for a score in a 29-6 win over Canterbury.

By the numbers

6 Victories for King, which secured its second winning season since 2004

97 Points scored by Tampa Catholic in the past two weeks

1,655 Rushing yards for Ray Ray McCloud III this season after Friday's 216-yard, three-touchdown game against Tampa Bay Tech

Final five words

Can anyone stop Ray Ray?

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