Friday, May 25, 2018

HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Armwood (1-0)

Up next: at Jefferson

Skinny: The Hawks should have played two games already. The 35-12 opening-game win over Tampa Bay Tech was delayed nearly a week and another anticipated game against Plant will be made up Oct. 16. Armwood turns its attention to Jefferson and its high-powered offense in a game that will be a good test before the start of district play.

2. Plant (2-0)

Up next: vs. Gaither

Skinny: With the Armwood game postponed, the Panthers had two weeks off before facing Gaither in the Class 7A, District 8 opener. Brandon Brooks is off to a great start with 56 yards rushing and 12 receiving on offense, and 22 tackles and two sacks on defense.

3. Jefferson (2-0)

Up next: vs. Armwood

Skinny: The Dragons had games against Brandon and Jesuit postponed. Now Jefferson has to prepare for a showdown against Armwood. The biggest test will be how the offensive line performs against the Hawks' defensive front. Niko Duffey has 333 yards rushing and Dontavius Smith 206 yards receiving in two games.

4. Durant (2-0)

Up next: vs. Strawberry Crest

Skinny: Games against Newsome and East Bay were postponed. The Cougars face Strawberry Crest this week to kick off play in Class 7A, District 9. Cameron Myers leads the team in rushing with 283 yards in two games.

5. Tampa Bay Tech (0-1)

Up next: at Hillsborough

Skinny: Heading into the week, the Titans have had just four practices in the past month. Tampa Bay Tech will have to shake off the rust to face Hillsborough in a battle of playoff teams from last year.

Loren Elliott | Times

6. St. Petersburg (2-0)

Up next: vs. Gibbs

Skinny: The Green Devils are off to an impressive start with wins against Largo and Lakewood. St. Petersburg was supposed to play Seminole today but the game had to be postponed because water still is backed up in the Warhawks' locker room. That gives the Green Devils more time to prepare for their annual rivalry game against Gibbs.

7. Clearwater (1-0)

Up next: at Countryside (Monday); vs. Mitchell.

Skinny: It took some maneuvering, but the Tornadoes managed to squeeze in the remainder of the games on their schedule. Clearwater will play Northeast during its bye week on Oct. 6 and has games this week against Countryside and Mitchell, which are both undefeated.

8. East Lake (1-1)

Up next: vs. Pinellas Park (Monday); at Lakeland

Skinny: The Eagles have made ball security a priority in practice after turning the ball over a combined seven times in the red zone the first two games. East Lake has dominated its series against Pinellas Park, winning each of the past four meetings by 24 or more points.

9. Clearwater Central Catholic (3-0)

Up next: vs. Northeast

Skinny: The Marauders already are in position to make the playoffs with wins against defending Class 3A state semifinalist Berkeley Prep and 3A region finalist Tampa Catholic. The offensive line paved the way for CCC to rush for 334 yards against the Crusaders. And the defense has posted two straight shutouts.

Douglas R. Clifford | Times

10. Hillsborough (1-1)

Up next: vs. Tampa Bay Tech

Skinny: The Terriers did not have their schedule altered much since they were on their bye two weeks ago. Hillsborough's game against Blake was pushed back to Oct. 2. Now, the Terriers have to face Tampa Bay Tech.

11. Wiregrass Ranch (3-0)

Up next: vs. Wharton

Skinny: The Bulls achieved a lot of milestones with their win over Sunlake two weeks ago. Wiregrass Ranch exacted revenge for its only loss to a Pasco County team last season and are now 3-0 for the first time. Mark Kantor also became the program's all-time leader in wins with 12.

12. Jesuit (0-2)

Up next: vs. Ridge Community

Skinny: The Tigers' schedule doesn't get any easier with a game this week against undefeated Ridge Community. Larry Hodges, who recently picked up an offer from Cincinnati, has rushed for 118 yards on eight carries and has five catches for 75 yards in the first two games. He will try to help Jesuit snap its two-game losing streak.

13. Berkeley Prep (1-1)

Up next: at Lakeland Christian (Monday)

Skinny: The Buccaneers bounced back from a heart-breaking, last-second loss to CCC to beat Auburndale Kingdom Prep 35-0 two weeks ago. Jakob Hines has been the workhorse in the backfield, rushing for a combined 273 yards and five touchdowns in the first two games. Monday's game against Lakeland Christian could mean a lot in the new points-based playoff system.

14. Nature Coast (1-0)

Up next: vs. Crystal River

Skinny: Two weeks ago, the Sharks' game against IMG White was canceled because of lightning. So the actual opener came was a 33-7 win over struggling South Sumter. Michael Weston ran for 193 yards and three touchdowns, and Fabian Burnett was 4-of-5 passing for 81 yards.

15. Pinellas Park (2-0)

Up next: at East Lake (Monday)

Skinny: Lawrance Toafili, a sophomore, ranks fifth in the state in rushing with 526 yards in the first two games. His hard-nosed running is a big reason why the Patriots are off a strong start with wins against River Ridge and Northeast, which were a combined 14-4 last season.

Dirk Shadd | Times

16. Mitchell (3-0)

Up next: at Clearwater

Skinny: The Mustangs are 3-0 for the first time since 2012 after beating Ridgewood 56-6 two weeks ago. Mychael Hamilton rushed for 114 yards and scored three times to become the school's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns. Friday's game against Clearwater is a matchup of unbeatens.

17. Calvary Christian (2-0)

Up next: vs. Orlando First Academy

Skinny: The Warriors are off to an impressive start, beating 2A region semifinalist Admiral Farragut and 2A state semifinalist Northside Christian. Games against Bradenton St. Stephen's and Community School of Naples were either canceled or postponed. Friday's matchup is a good one against unbeaten First Academy.

18. Chamberlain (2-0)

Up next: Idle

Skinny: With games against Riverview and Armwood postponed and a bye this week, the Chiefs will have waited 27 days to play their next game Sept. 28 against King. Chamberlain has won seven straight regular-season games dating to last season and could be 3-0 heading into its rescheduled game with the Hawks on Oct. 2.

19. Tampa Catholic (1-1)

Up next: Idle

Skinny: Big things were expected from an offense that features plenty of explosive skill players. But the Crusaders have scored just one offensive touchdown in the first two games and were shut out against rival Clearwater Central Catholic two weeks ago. There is plenty of time to correct things with the cancellation of last week's game against Crestview and a bye this week.

20. Lakewood (1-1)

Up next: at Lehigh Acres Lehigh

Skinny: Three weeks ago the Spartans let a 19-point lead slip away in a loss to St. Petersburg. Games the past two weeks against Delray Beach American Heritage and Ocala Vanguard have been either canceled or postponed. Lakewood finally gets back on the field this week against Lehigh.

21. Wesley Chapel (2-1)

Up next: vs. Fivay (Monday); vs. Gulf

Skinny: The tougher schedule resulted in an early-season loss to Wiregrass Ranch. That is fine with Wildcats coach Tony Egan, who wanted to face better competition in September to get his team ready for bigger district games down the stretch. Now Wesley Chapel has a five-game stretch against teams that have a combined two wins.

Loren Elliott | Times

22. Largo (1-1)

Up next: Monday at Dixie Hollins; vs. Countryside

Skinny: After beating East Lake three weeks ago, the Packers get back on the field with two games this week, the biggest one coming Friday against Countryside. The time off might help the offense get on track after a slow start in the first two games.

23. Zephyrhills (1-1)

Up next: at Ridgewood (Monday); vs. Fivay

Skinny: Because of their bye, the Bulldogs had an extra week to get ready for Monday's Class 5A, District 8 opener against Ridgewood. Four days later, Zephyrhills has another district contest against Fivay.

24. Newsome (2-0)

Up next: vs. Riverview

Skinny: The Wolves are undefeated thanks to dramatic wins against Bloomingdale and East Bay. After two weeks of postponements, Newsome will open play in Class 8A, District 6 against rival Riverview.

25. Countryside (1-0)

Up next: vs. Clearwater (Monday); vs. Largo

Skinny: The season-opening 40-0 victory over Osceola is the only game that has officially been completed this season. The real tests come this week with games against Clearwater and Largo.

On the bubble: Springstead (2-0), Tarpon Springs (1-1), River Ridge (0-2), East Bay (1-1), Admiral Farragut (1-1), Superior Collegiate (1-1), Cambridge Christian (2-1), Hernando (2-0), Spoto (2-0), Middleton (2-0)

Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Indianapolis 500: How Danica Patrick changed racing

Tampa's Carlie Yent was at a racing banquet a few years ago when someone asked her to name the driver who influenced her the most.The answer was easy and obvious: Danica Patrick."She was someone I could look up to," Yent said, "and she was the most i...
Updated: 2 hours ago
After Danica Patrick, why aren’t there more women in auto racing?

After Danica Patrick, why aren’t there more women in auto racing?

If you assumed Danica Patrick's success would lead to a tidal wave of female drivers into racing's top series, you're not alone."I kind of thought the Danica thing would bring out a lot of people, honestly," said Tampa's Megan Rae Meyer, a 21-year-ol...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

FORT MYERS — One of the most impressive streaks in high school baseball came to an end early Friday morning.Calvary Christian lost the Class 4A state championship 5-1 to Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian at Hammond Stadium in a game that ended ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays weren't kidding about being serious that starting relievers gives them the best chance to win.So much so, they plan to do so again this weekend against the Orioles — in all three games. The plan is for Sergio Rom...
Updated: 10 hours ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechki...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and don’t panic

Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and don’t panic

TAMPA — Don't change a thing.Don't blow it up. Don't fire anyone. Don't overreact.Thursday was not an easy day in Lightning Land. It was the day after the end of a season that ended much too soon. It was a day when bags were packed, questions w...
Published: 05/24/18
Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

TAMPA — Hours before the puck dropped at Amalie Arena for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the ice crew boss talked about putting off any sign of the end for as long as possible."We don’t want to see the front-end loaders," says Tom Miracle, ...
Published: 05/24/18