Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sunday morning quarterback

Player of the week

Dillon O'Toole, River Ridge

Since getting hired at his alma mater in 2011, River Ridge coach Ryan Benjamin has spent a lot of time thinking about beating Land O'Lakes. He even bought a trophy — a gator mouth embedded on a black marble plaque — to give to the game MVP the day that victory came.

By the time it did Friday night, the trophy had accumulated some age. In fact, when he handed it to O'Toole, it had dust and cobwebs on it. That didn't seem to bother the senior linebacker, who registered three sacks (he had two all of last year) in the 21-14 victory over Land O'Lakes.

"Dillon, he's a beast. He's an animal," said Benjamin, who as a player went 3-0 against the Gators and played on the last River Ridge team to beat them — back in 1996.

"He looks intimidating. He plays intimidating. We're glad he's on our defense."

Team of the week


When coach Keith Chattin told us in the spring that C.C. Culpepper, who performed a miracle at Tampa Bay Tech as head coach, was his new defensive coordinator, we thought, hmmmmm.

When we were told freshman quarterback Devin Black was going to be an impact player, we scratched our chins.

And when Lennard dominated St. Petersburg Catholic in the preseason classic, we were intrigued.

Friday night, a 28-7 win against East Bay, we were just impressed.

Coach of the week

Blake Engelhardt, Keswick Christian

Engelhardt had to wait 17 months after being hired to get his first win. A former Crusaders quarterback — he holds the school record for passing yards in a season with 2,058 — Engelhardt had to make due with a small roster in a rebuilding year in 2013. Keswick went 0-10 while being outscored 450-121. Friday night, though, the Crusaders snapped a 15-game losing streak with a 22-20 win over Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic.

Chasing history

Sickles' Ray Ray McCloud III scored on runs of 64 and 51 yards and unofficially ran for 174 yards in the 33-7 win over Robinson, passing 4,000 for his career. McCloud entered Friday with 3,832 yards, 1,744 shy of the Hills­borough County career record of Carrollwood Day's Robert Davis (5,576). Against Robinson, McCloud passed former Jesuit and Georgia Tech standout Will Glover (3,865). Next up: No. 7 Zain Gilmore.

Player School Yards

1. Robert Davis Carrollwood Day5,576

2. Avious SteadmanRiverview5,320

3. Lydell RossGaither5,120

4. Kalvin BaileyArmwood4,841

5. Kwane DosterRobinson4,617

6. Earl ReevesTampa Catholic4,591

7. Zain GilmoreRobinson4,158

8. Ray Ray McCloud IIISickles4,006

9. Will GloverJesuit3,865


Sunlake beat Pasco in the season opener for the second straight year, 17-13. Last season's victory snapped the Pirates' 44-game win streak against Pasco County opponents dating to 2007. The last time Pasco lost to the same opponent in consecutive seasons? Zephyrhills in 2006 and 2007.

On a roll

Last season, Countryside's Dante Satcher rushed for more than 100 yards in his final two games. That momentum has carried over with 147 in last week's preseason game against Clearwater Central Catholic and a career-best 287 in Friday's 25-20 victory over Lakewood.

Five teams better than we thought

1. Sunlake

2. Gulf

3. Clearwater

4. Gaither

5. St. Petersburg

Numbers to know

2 Teams that went 1-19 over the past two seasons that won Friday, Lennard (28-7 over East Bay) and Keswick Christian (22-20 over Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic).

4 Touchdowns for St. Petersburg quarterback Austyn Causey — two passing, two rushing — in his varsity debut, a 41-8 win over Gibbs.

10 Catches for Lakewood receiver Adrian Adams, for 111 yards a touchdown, in a 25-20 loss to Countryside.

11 Passes thrown by Robinson quarterback Malik Tyson that were dropped, according to his coaches. Still, in his varsity debut, Davis went 16-for-39 for 210 yards with two touchdowns called back in a 33-7 loss to Sickles.

15 Consecutive times Land O'Lakes had beaten River Ridge before Friday's 21-14 loss. The Royal Knights hadn't beaten the Gators since 30-21 in 1996.

19 Combined first-half completions, among 21 passes, during the first half by Clearwater Central Catholic's Jeff Smith (38-6 win over Naples Lely) and Berkeley Prep's Brad Mayes (44-6 win over Middleton).

100 Percentage of Dunedin receiver Janiero Crankfield's two catches that went for touchdowns in a 45-34 win over Dixie Hollins … and his total receiving yards … and the percentage of his blocks that wowed his coaches.

149 Rushing yards for Jesuit sophomore Malik Davis, to go with four touchdowns, in a 31-17 win over Wauchula Hardee.

313 Total yards, among Countryside's 484, gained by running back Dante Satcher in a 25-20 win over Lakewood

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