I took it on the chin last week. For the first time all season, I had a "2" in the loss column of my high school football predictions. It's sad, but true. I point this out not to mock myself — or as a friend said — call attention to how accurate I was until last week. So after a number of sleepless nights since Friday's games wrapped up, I hereby give you my word that will never happen again this season. So much so that if it does, I pledge to donate a portion of my paycheck that week to the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay. There you have it, my money's where my mouth is.
|Jefferson (2-1) at Armwood (4-0)||Bloomingdale (3-1) at Sickles (0-4)||Brandon (1-3) at Durant (2-2)|
|Last week: Jefferson slipped past Gaither 17-14, and the Hawks hammered Newsome 42-0.
Quick count: Armwood rose to No. 5 in the USA Today national poll, the Hawks' highest ranking of the year. The Dragons provide a tough test for the Hawks — perhaps even stiffer than Plant physically. But Armwood's new spread offense has begun to warm up. After scoring just nine points against Plant in the season opener, the Hawks hung at least 41 on their next three opponents, out-scoring teams 134-10 during that stretch. This won't be that easy, but not as close as the Panthers' game either.
Wright's pick: Armwood
|Last week: Bloomingdale beat Plant City 7-0, and Sickles lost 28-6 to Wharton.
Quick count: Yes folks, you read the above Bloomingdale record correctly — the Bulls are 3-1. Bloomingdale, which has never finished with a record above .500 since varsity football began in 1987, is three wins away from erasing that most notoriously dubious distinction. The Bulls are finding all kinds of ways to win, including a 7-0 shutout of Plant City last week. Sickles, a team many thought was playoff-ready before the season, hasn't won a game yet — including a horrendous loss to a poor Leto club. Look for the Bulls to take another step toward ending their streak.
Wright's pick: Bloomingdale
|Last week: The Eagles lost to East Bay 18-17, and the Cougars beat King 21-16.
Quick count: This is another stingy matchup for Brandon, a team that has been hard to figure out this year. Count Durant in that category as well. The Eagles continue to get healthier and lost a heartbreaker to a top-quality East Bay team last week.
Wright's pick: Brandon
|Chamberlain (4-0) at East Bay (3-1)||Riverview (0-3) at Hillsborough (3-1)||Lennard (3-1) at Leto (1-3)|
|Last week: The Chiefs defeated Blake 37-6, and the Indians beat Brandon 18-17.
Quick count: If Armwood didn't exist, Chamberlain would be the class of the county. The Hawks do exist, so that makes the Chiefs No. 2. Quarterback Dontae Aycock, who fuels the Chiefs' attack, may be the best quarterback in the county not named Aaron Murray.
Wright's pick: Chamberlain
|Last week: Plant pounded the Sharks 63-6, and the Terriers beat Middleton 20-17.
Quick count: Oh, poor Riverview. The Sharks had the unenviable task of facing Plant's traveling air circus last week. This Friday they run up against a Hillsborough team even more physical and possibly even better.
Wright's pick: Hillsborough
|Last week: The Longhorns defeated St. Petersburg Catholic 24-14, and Alonso downed Leto 43-14.
Quick count: Lennard quarterback Anthony Burdick should have a field day against a weak Leto team. Burdick, the general of the Longhorns' spread offense, can beat you with his arm or his legs. Look for him to do both and move Lennard to 4-1.
Wright's pick: Lennard
|Newsome (2-2) at Robinson (1-3)||Wharton (2-2) at Plant City (2-2)||Spoto (0-4) at Tampa Bay Tech (4-0)|
|Last week: Armwood beat Newsome 42-0, and Jesuit defeated Robinson 22-14.
Quick count: The bad news for Newsome fans is the Wolves aren't very strong. The good news is neither are the Knights. If the Wolves can control the clock with their running game, Newsome breaks the .500 mark. If not …
Wright's pick: Newsome
|Last week: The Wildcats beat Sickles 28-6, and Bloomingdale shut out Plant City 7-0.
Quick count: Plant City has struggled to score points all season. The Raiders' high point total is 12, and they've been held to single digits three times. Wharton's defense, however, has yielded 19 or more points three times this year. Which of these two weak units will get things going this week?
Wright's pick: Wharton
|Last week: The Spartans lost to Palmetto 43-6, and TBT won 22-21 against Freedom.
Quick count: Spoto, which won the first three games of the season on the field, had to forfeit those games due to the use of an ineligible player. The fourth 'L' was every bit of legit against district foe Palmetto. However, with Armwood on the schedule next for TBT, this could be a trap game for the Titans.
Wright's pick: Tampa Bay Tech