Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rain forces quick turnaround for some prep football squads


With rain pushing some of last week's games to this past Monday, Friday is a bit of a whirlwind for several local high school football teams. But there's no room for a misstep as many teams are kicking off district play.

For others, such as Hillsborough and King, the district schedule is well under way — and for the Terriers, in a real bad way. They are winless and, unfortunately, in a big hole already when it comes to hoping for a playoff trip.

All games at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Fort Meade (3-0) at Tampa Catholic (2-1), 7 p.m.

Last game: Fort Meade defeated Avon Park 48-0; TC defeated Tarpon Springs 27-3.

Why you should go: This could up being an enormous game. It's been a wonderful couple of weeks for the Crusaders, who stunned Clearwater Central Catholic and then humbled what had been a high-powered offense in Tarpon Springs. But look at District 3A-4's trio of really tough Polk County squads, and toss in Berkeley Prep for good measure. What it all means is though Tampa Catholic can start having state title aspirations, it's no sure thing that they'll even get into the playoffs. Remember the Hardee team that Jesuit lost to by 18 points? Fort Meade went to Hardee the next week and won 18-6, and those are the only points the Miners have allowed.

Chamberlain (2-1, 2-0 in 6A-8) at King (3-0, 1-0)

Last game: Chamberlain defeated Lennard 28-14; King defeated Middleton 26-20

Why you should go: To see two teams on a high after Monday victories, with both seeing the possibility of staying at the top of the district standings. King had a tough win over Middleton, with Otis Williams scoring on two long runs, and now averaging around 20 yards per carry as a result. This could be a similar tight one against a Chiefs team that likes to feed Daishaun Roberts (151 yards, three TD in the win against Lennard). King goes to 4-0 with a win.

Robinson (0-3, 0-1 in 6A-8)) at Armwood (3-0, 2-0)

Last game: Robinson lost to Jefferson 39-22; Arwmood defeated Hillsborough 37-2.

Why you should go: To see a team that's playing at state-championship caliber. Just ask Hillsborough what kind of effort it takes to get past the speedy Hawks. Armwood rolled up nearly 400 yards of offense Monday. Everyone knew that Robinson's schedule was front-loaded, and sadly for the Knights, it has played out to expectations. The Knights competed pretty well against Jefferson, but simply could not keep up.

Bloomingdale (2-0) at Plant (2-0-1)

Last game: Bloomingdale was idle; Plant defeated Gaither 41-8.

Why you should go: Because this is the earliest Plant has entered district play in nine years. The Panthers have been grouped into four-team districts, where teams play the entire first half of their schedule without getting to the meat of it. Now, in a six-team, all-Hillsborough 8A-6, the Panthers are still expected to come out on top, but there are more potential pitfalls. All but one of the teams has a winning record, including the Bulls, who in their last game were very impressive in shutting out Brandon 21-0.

Wiregrass Ranch (2-1) at Tampa Bay Tech (1-1)

Last game: Wiregrass Ranch lost to River Ridge 21-14; Tampa Bay Tech defeated Durant 31-10.

Why you should go: To see another group of Bulls not to overlook. With a foe like Sickles having such a phenomenal start, and the likely team that TBT will battle for district supremacy, it would be easy to overlook this one. Especially when Wiregrass Ranch is coming off back-to-back 0-10 records. But this year's Wiregrass bunch is completely different, with a new head coach in Mike Lawrence and a dangerous spread offense led by quarterback Shane Bucenell. Both teams have big-time athletes promising for one of the more attractive matchups of the week. It's the 7A-7 opener for both.

Blake (1-2, 1-1 in 6A-8) at Lennard (0-3, 0-2)

Last game: Blake defeated Leto 54-0; Lennard lost to Chamberlain 28-14.

Why you should go: Because the atmosphere in Ruskin is special as the Longhorns usually draw big crowds. Lennard is winless, but has been very competitive the past two weeks. Meanwhile, Blake has a bounce after Monday's rout. Corey Bennett ran for nearly 200 yards and four touchdowns.

Hillsborough (0-2, 0-2 in 6A-A) at Leto (0-2, 0-2)

Last game: Hillsborough lost to Armwood 37-2; Leto lost to Blake 54-0.

Why you should go: To most likely see a Terriers' victory. You have to feel awful for them, having played Jefferson to such a close game before losing the opener, then running into the buzz saw that is the Hawks. Now, the only way Hillsborough makes the playoffs is if someone else can knock off one of those two teams — and if the Terriers run the table. And don't be shocked if Hillsborough indeed goes 8-2.

Largo (2-1) at Jesuit (1-2)

Last game: Largo defeated Gibbs 32-13; Jesuit lost to CCC 21-3.

Why you should go: The incredibly tough predistrict slate continues with Jesuit hosting another Pinellas power. The Tigers will be plenty prepped for district play, and let's face it, the 5A-9 schedule of two games is just a formality, Jesuit will make the playoffs. The point is, the games they're playing now will only help the Tigers when they get there.

Idle: Jefferson (3-0) and Middleton (0-3).

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 8 minutes ago

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 12 hours ago