A turnover tragedy
The most stunning development in Largo's loss to Armwood was how frequently the Packers coughed up the ball. Largo committed seven turnovers (four fumbles, three interceptions). Two of the fumbles were converted into scores.
What's makes it more stunning is how careful the Packers were with the ball during the regular season. Largo had just four turnovers in its previous 10 games (all fumbles). QB Juwan Brown had thrown no interceptions before Friday.
The Packers were still in the game in the final two minutes. That's a testament to their defense, which held the Hawks to 205 yards. Armwood QB Alvin Bailey was 4 of 15 passing for 34 yards and threw two interceptions, both to Jarvis Stewart.
"Our defense played their butts off," Largo coach Rick Rodriguez said. "But the turnovers just killed us. I don't think we've ever had that many turnovers in a game since I've been here."
Another game, another shutout for Clearwater Central Catholic. The Marauders blanked Frostproof 35-0 in the Class 3A region semifinals for their seventh shutout this season. The previous school record for shutouts in a season was three. Even more impressive is that CCC could have had nine shutouts if it had not allowed late touchdowns in blowout victories over Sarasota Cardinal Mooney and Tampa Catholic.
"I've never seen anything like this," coach John Davis said.
Offensive player of the week
Artavis Scott, East Lake: The junior has made quite an impact since returning from an ankle injury. This week, he had his best performance of the season with 10 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown in a win over Treasure Coast in the Class 8A region quarterfinals.
Defensive player of the week
Mike Stevenson, CC Catholic: The senior has been knocking passes away from receivers but has not been able to record many interceptions. He made up for that against Frostproof, picking off two passes and returning one for a touchdown to help the Marauders cruise to a win in the Class 3A region semifinals.
Breakout player of the week
Laterian Latimer, Lakewood: The senior provided a boost to the running game by gaining nearly 100 yards and scoring twice in a victory over Orlando Bishop Moore in the Class 5A region quarterfinals.
"We've only had two teams in 50 years of football that has won 10 games in one season, so to do that here was a goal for them."
— John Davis, CCC coach
"Obviously we don't like the way this ended, but they played their hearts out. Thanks to our seniors, we are starting to make progress."
— Mike Jalazo, Northeast coach
"They gave us a good taste of what a good football program is like, and we won't forget it."
Mark Buchanan, IRC coach, after a 42-21 loss to Naples First Baptist.
Lakewood vs. Robinson, Part II
On Oct. 26, when Lakewood lost to Robinson 19-8 for its only loss, Spartans coach Cory Moore said, "We'll probably see those guys again if things go as planned." Everything has gone as planned. Lakewood rolled over Orlando Bishop Moore 37-13 and Robinson crushed Port Orange Atlantic 41-8. The rematch will be at Robinson, and Lakewood's defense must do better. Robinson scored at will and led 19-0 at halftime before winning 19-8. Robinson coach Mike Depue said his team gave a C-plus effort the first time around. It will likely take an A effort this time.
By the numbers
0 Number of times Lakewood has advanced past the second round of the playoffs, dating to 1980
3 Straight seasons Venice has knocked a different Pinellas County team out of the playoffs in the first round (St. Petersburg, 2010; Countryside, 2011 and Pinellas Park, Friday)
7 Shutouts for Clearwater Central Catholic. The Marauders have not been scored on in their last four games
120 Points scored by Manatee against Pinellas opponents in the first round of the playoffs the past two years (55 against Pinellas Park, 65 against Northeast).