Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Player of the Week | Anthony Johnson, St. Petersburg

The senior cornerback has been saying to anyone who would listen that he is going to have a big season. So far, he is right. The Iowa State commit blocked Largo's first punt of the game and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. He added two interceptions in the Green Devils convincing 31-6 win over the Packers. Johnson had six interceptions last season to lead the team. He's well on his way to bettering that. "That young man can be as good as he wants to be. … He makes me look real smart," St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio said after the game.

Lara Cerri | Times

Team of the Week | Durant

The last time Jesuit lost in the regular season was on Sept. 12, 2014, when Clearwater Central Catholic won 41-27. Durant broke Jesuit's 21-game regular-season win streak with a dramatic 14-10 win on Friday. The Cougars, who were 8-3 last season, made a goal-line stand on the final play to preserve the win. Cameron Myers had a big 75-yard touchdown run with seven minutes to go to give Durant the lead for good. Sickles, which was upset by Alonso in the opener, awaits next.

Scott Purks | Special to the Times

Coach of the Week | Reggie Crume, Alonso

In his regular-season debut with the Ravens, Crume guided his team to a 19-16 win over Sickles. The victory not only matched Alonso's win total from last season but also marked the first time the school had beaten its neighboring rival in eight seasons. Crume, who coached at Palm Harbor University for three seasons before taking over the Ravens, has a knack for getting historical wins against an arch-nemesis. With the Hurricanes, he led the program to its first — and only — win against rival East Lake in 2015.

Douglas R. Clifford | Times

Five things you may have missed Friday night

1. Durant was not the only team that won thanks to a goal-line stand. Wiregrass Ranch's defense came through, too, stopping Zephyrhills in the final minute to preserve a 31-29 victory. The Bulldogs drove the ball down to the Bulls' 1-yard line with 1:45 remaining. A penalty pushed it back to the 6. Two plays later, Zephyrhills quarterback Charles Harrison III had a pass tipped by Julian Gonzalez before being intercepted by Penn State commit Jordan Miner.

2. Jesuit was going with a backfield-by-committee approach to fill the void created with the departure of Malik Davis, Hillsborough County's all-time leading rusher who is now at Florida. That committee has been reduced considerably the past two weeks with the loss of freshman BJ Graham (broken leg) in the preseason game against Gaither and junior Matthew Pittman (MCL) in the opener against Durant. The Tigers will turn to senior and captain Vinny LoSauro and freshman Ricky Parks to handle the bulk of the rushing load. That's not all. Jesuit also lost two offensive linemen, Anthony Seguiti (concussion) and Jake Lewis (knee). Both linemen were out when the Tigers were stuffed on fourth and goal from the 1 on the final play against the Cougars.

3. East Lake defeated rival Palm Harbor University 14-13 in overtime. That we know. But did you know this is the third straight year the game has gone down to the wire? Last year the Eagles won 38-35 on a last-second field goal. In 2015, PHU won 14-10 in an upset. And this was the second straight year Eagles' kicker Ian Woodward had the winning kick. The last three games were decided by a total of eight points.

4. With a win against River Ridge in the opener, Pinellas Park's Kenny Crawford became the all-time winningest coach at the school with a 56-29 record, surpassing former coach Bruce Buck (55-37).

5. Cypress Creek, a new school in Wesley Chapel, won its first-ever game. The Coyotes beat Gulf 12-0. They have never been scored on in school history. Granted, it's only four quarters, and that's likely to change in the next game at Ridgewood, but they get to enjoy it for a week. Gulf, meanwhile, has now lost 22 straight.

Five games to look forward to in Week 2

1. Armwood at Tampa Bay Tech: The opener, rescheduled for Monday, is a scout's dream with nearly 20 major Division I-A prospects on the field. It also is a matchup of two stellar programs that went a combined 17-1 in the regular season last year. Whichever team wins will likely pick up a ton of points in the new playoff system, points that could be the deciding factor in home field advantage in their respective region.

2. Mitchell at River Ridge: This annual grudge match is one of the biggest draws in the area with ticket sales approaching 5,000. Expect a defensive slug fest. The Mustangs won last year's game 12-7. The Royal Knights won two years ago 10-7.

3. St. Petersburg at Lakewood: Both teams got a win on opening night, but they did it in different ways. St. Petersburg jumped all over Largo and never looked back. Lakewood won 27-26 on a Troy'von Johnson run in the final minutes. Are the Green Devils dominant this season or are the Spartans this year's Cardiac Kids? Anything can happen in this neighborhood rivalry.

4. Wiregrass Ranch at Wesley Chapel: The Wildcats, who just missed the playoffs last season, beefed up their non-district schedule with matchups such as this one. Both teams are off to a 1-0 start after impressive wins last week (Wiregrass Ranch over Zephyrhills and Wesley Chapel over Sunlake). The game also features two of the area's best athletes, the Bulls' Miner and the Wildcats' Isaiah Bolden (Oregon).

5. Largo at East Lake: What's interesting about this game is that we will get a better picture of who these teams really are. The Eagles had to play sophomore backup quarterback Tucker Gleason after senior Jackson Rowland was a late scratch due to illness against PHU. East Lake only threw six times and completed one pass. If Rowland comes back, East Lake should do better offensively. The Packers gave up a special-teams touchdown to start the game against St. Petersburg and never recovered. Does the offense get on track or do the Packers dig an 0-2 hole?


Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

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