Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Units shaping into county's football elite

Coaches begin putting their units together in the spring, but it's not until well into the season that you can tell which teams have just the right mixture of impact players. One thing's for sure: For teams to realize their postseason dreams, these units have to jell by this time of the year. Entering the seventh week of the season, we take a look at the best units in Hillsborough County.

Offensive backfield

Armwood: QB Mywan Jackson runs the Hawks' balanced offense to perfection; RBs Tavari Grant and Sherman Jessie each average more than 5 yards a carry.

Chamberlain: In the Chiefs' triple-option offense, you can pick your poison. If QB Dontae Aycock doesn't hurt you, underrated RB Kenny Allen will.

Hillsborough: The Terriers are loaded with talent with the county's leading rusher, TB Lindsey Lamar, leading the way. QB Tarean Austin is a solid signal caller.

Plant: The Panthers don't run much — QB Aaron Murray is the leading rusher with 161 yards — but what Murray does in the passing game (25 TDs) more than makes up for it.

Wharton: The Wildcats have hard-running backs in Malik Williams and Shane McEwen, which allows the balance for QB Andrew Clifford.

Offensive line

Hillsborough: Anchored by dominant OT Darren Baker, the Terriers give Austin pass protection and open holes for Lamar.

Durant: It's nearly impossible to get around OT Cole Gilliam (6-foot-5, 325 pounds), who has paved openings for the Cougars' ground-oriented attack.

Middleton: One of the strengths of a young Tigers offense, talented OT Luis Polanco provides leadership and poise.

Armwood: The Hawks annually restock their line to be the county's best. This year's centerpiece is Vanderbilt commit Justin Cabbagestalk.

Wharton: Hunter Stout has kept some of the area's top ends in check, giving QB Andrew Clifford time to pass.


Alonso: Jesse Anaya can play both RB and WR, but he's best as a receiver (38 catches). Kory Strassberg and Justen Davis aren't bad either.

Hillsborough: The Terriers have the county's most talented group of WRs with Charles Lovett, Colby Walden and Terrence Mitchell.

Jefferson: QB Quentin Williams can spread the ball around. The Dragons have six players with at least 100 receiving yards, including Andre Davis.

Lennard: The Longhorns have three receivers with 200 or more yards, led by Brandon Stephens.

Plant: Call them Thunder and Lightning. Few teams can keep up with speedy junior Allen Sampson and fewer can size up with tight end Orson Charles.

Defensive lines

Chamberlain: DTs Eric Hammond and Dontavious Pyron are seemingly in the backfield every play. DE James Wilder hasn't been contained.

Armwood: Arguably the best unit in Florida and maybe the tops in the nation. DE Ryne Giddins is a bona-fide superstar.

Newsome: The Wolves have allowed six total points in the team's past three wins. That defensive production starts with Shawn Boone, Frank Marin and Conor O'Neal.

Tampa Bay Tech: Josh Smith anchors a group that frustrates most opponents.

Plant: All you need to know is this: The Panthers held their own against an excellent Armwood offensive line.


Armwood: Led by likely Division I-A players Casey Callahan and Petey Smith, this hard-hitting group rarely gets burned.

Plant: The Panthers come to play every Friday thanks to sure-handed tacklers like Mike Mirabella. And they enjoy punishing opponents.

Chamberlain: Three words to describe Deandre Hall and Co.: fast, fast, fast.

Tampa Catholic: Underrated group succeeds largely because of excellent fundamentals.

Hillsborough: As usual, the Terriers have one of the county's most athletic units.

Defensive backs

Armwood: Safety Angelo Hadley, rated as one of the state's 100 best seniors by, headlines this playmaking group.

Plant: This athletic, hard-hitting unit is led by Hunter Baldwin, an imposing SS.

Hillsborough: In Terrence Mitchell, the Terriers arguably have the region's most physically gifted DB.

Tampa Bay Tech: Corners D.D. Johnson and Antonio Wallace form a superb DB tandem.

Chamberlain: Quick enough to stick with receivers, agile enough to make plays on the ball. That's the Chiefs in a nutshell.

Special teams

Chamberlain: The Chiefs know how to block kicks — and return them thanks to standout Anthony Williams.

Hillsborough: Few return kickoffs as well as Colby Walden. And placekicker Evan Colborne is a good one.

Wharton: Jairus Jones averages 25.3 yards per punt return.

East Bay: Forrest Meredith is 4-for-5 on field goals and returner Masiya Stone averages 27 yards.

Jesuit: Tyler Feely has pinned seven of 20 punts inside the 20.

Units shaping into county's football elite 10/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon


    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

    Jose De Leon follows through in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on May 29, 2017.
  2. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  3. Four key games that could decide Bucs' success in 2017


    The Bucs finished so close to making the playoffs in 2016 -- literally flip-flop the last two results and have them beat the Saints and lose to the Panthers and they're in as a wild card with the same 9-7 record -- that it's difficult to say with any certainty what will happen in the 2017 season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, shown celebrating a touchdown against the Giants in 2015, will face New York again this fall in Week 4 in Tampa.
  4. Frank Deford wrote with sincerity, giving depth to complicated sports figures

    Human Interest

    Frank Deford practically invented the notion of multimedia: He exported his voice to radio, TV and film, and if you didn't know him you might have thought he was an actor, because he wore purple suits and looked like Clark Gable. But Frank, who died Sunday at age 78, was a writer above all things, and an important …

    In a 1991 photo, Frank Deford holds a proof of The National Sports Daily, of which he was editor and publisher [Associated Press]
  5. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire


    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.