Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

Pinellas: Sunday morning quarterback

Five things looking ahead to the playoffs

1. Pinellas Park needed to win to get into the playoffs. Northeast did not. Good thing. The Patriots beat Seminole while the Vikings slipped up against 3-6 Clearwater. Northeast has to play at Bradenton Manatee in the first round of the playoffs in what might be the most lopsided playoff matchup in many years. Maybe ever.

2. Good for coach George Palmer and Osceola. Forced to go to Lakewood Ranch and win in order to make the playoffs, the Warriors scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and hung on to win. They'll likely play at Hillsborough in the first round, although that could change if Jefferson has to forfeit its wins.

3. Indian Rocks Christian got into the playoffs on the same night it lost to Shorecrest. Thanks to Admiral Farragut's stunning 68-45 loss to Cambridge Christian, the Golden Eagles secured the second playoff spot in Class 2A-5. They travel to Naples First Baptist Academy in the first round.

4. Speaking of Admiral Farragut, the Blue Jackets are out of the playoffs after going to the 2A state championship game last season. They clearly missed DB/WR Brad Hyman Muhammad, who is out with an ankle injury. But still, 68 points to Cambridge Christian? The Lancers are coached by former Northside coach Bob Dare, who must have felt pretty good about ruining a rival's playoff hopes.

5. Largo has a good shot if it has to play Armwood in the first round. The Packers are clearly the best team in Pinellas County, and Armwood seems to be a little off this season.

Breakout player

Rodney Adams, Lakewood: Adams had to play quarterback because Tracy Johnson was out with a concussion. He ran nine times for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and threw a touchdown to Marquez Valdes. Not bad for a wide receiver.

Super 7

1. Largo (9-0, 4-0): Win over Tarpon Springs was the sixth straight week the Packers scored 30 or more in a game.

2. Countryside (4-6, 3-2): Rolled to a convincing victory over St. Petersburg that capped the careers of 24 seniors.

3. Lakewood (8-1, 7-1): Exacted revenge against Spoto with 34-17 victory in Class 5A, District 8 finale.

4. East Lake (8-1, 3-0): Big plays and strong defense highlighted victory over Palm Harbor University that clinched Class 8A, District 7 title for Eagles.

5. Clearwater Central Catholic (8-1, 3-0): Closed out Class 2A-5 schedule with eighth straight victory in shutout over rival St. Petersburg Catholic.

6. Palm Harbor University (7-2, 2-1): Playing from behind against East Lake, the Hurricanes struggled to get back into the game.

7. Osceola (7-3, 3-1): The Warriors' sixth straight victory clinches their first playoff appearance since 2006.

Offensive MVP

Jordan Leston, Clearwater: The Tornadoes quarterback threw for 183 yards and three touchdowns, including a 12-yarder to Devijion Smith for the eventual winning score. He also ran for two touchdowns in an upset of Northeast.

Defensive MVP

How about a unit MVP? Countryside's defense held St. Petersburg to 42 total yards, only 6 rushing. DE Mike Love was in the St. Petersburg backfield most of the night and Bryan Czop had a first-half interception. The Cougars did not allow an offensive touchdown.

The fearsome foursome

Four county teams — Clearwater Central Catholic, Countryside, Lakewood and Largo — could finish the regular season allowing fewer than 100 points overall. The Cougars, whose season ended this weekend, have already accomplished that feat and set a school record for points allowed. The four schools have recorded a combined 13 shutouts:

•Lakewood, 62 points allowed, four shutouts

•Largo, 67, two shutouts

•Clearwater Central Catholic, 71, five shutouts

•Countryside, 86, two shutouts



First-round playoff matchups

Class 8A

Treasure Coast at East Lake

Palm Harbor University at Vero Beach

Class 7A

Venice at Pinellas Park

Northeast at Bradenton Manatee

Class 6A

Armwood at Largo*

Osceola at Hillsborough*

Class 5A

Lakewood at Orlando Bishop Moore

Class 3A

Frostproof at Clearwater Central Catholic

Class 2A

Indian Rocks Christian at Naples First Baptist Academy

* If Jefferson has to forfeit wins, these matchups are not set and there will be a tiebreaker between Sickles, Hillsborough and Armwood.

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