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Week 2 Tampa high school football games may offer insights into season

Plant’s Paris Bostick, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the Panthers’ first touchdown against Jesuit on Sept. 2.

BRIAN BLANCO | Special to the Times

Plant’s Paris Bostick, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring the Panthers’ first touchdown against Jesuit on Sept. 2.

TAMPA

So just how much can you gauge from one week of prep football?

Not much. But there may be a few glimpses gained heading into the second week of the season.

Robinson will be a contender this season. As impressive as the Knights' win against Jefferson was, Robinson will only get better as the season goes on as it likely will battle Jesuit for the Class 5A, District 8 crown.

This much also is known: Plant is still Plant, Jefferson and Hillsborough will figure in the playoff race, and Sickles may be better than anticipated.

The matchup of the night is the oldest rivalry in Hillsborough County: Hillsborough vs. Plant. They're not in the same district; not even in the same classification (HHS is 6A-8, Plant is 8A-6). But when you've been facing off since the 1920s, none of that matters. Especially when you add in the fact that Plant has topped the Terriers five straight years.

In other matchups, last year's Class 3A champ Jefferson tries to rebound from its opening-night loss, and Blake (yes, Blake) looks to jump out to an early lead in the 5A-8 race in a key contest against Lakewood.

All kickoffs are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. unless noted.

Middleton (0-1) at Jesuit (0-1)

Last week: Middleton lost to Hillsborough 30-0; Jesuit lost to Plant 34-20.

The skinny: Jesuit pulled quite a switcheroo before the Plant game last week, going with Aaron Paulsen at QB over former starter Tommy Eveld. After a shaky start, Eveld came in and rallied the Tigers but came up short in the loss to Plant. So who will start under center tonight? That might not be known until game time.

Lakewood (1-0, 0-0) at Blake (1-0, 0-0)

Last Week: Lakewood defeated Seminole 28-21; Blake blanked Leto 50-0.

The Skinny: Blake and Lakewood open Class 5A, District 8 play in a rematch of a game that saw a surprise Blake win a year ago. RB Joshua Bell (two TDs last week) leads the Blake offense against Lakewood's Dante Fowler-led defense. A win tonight gives the victor a head start in the jumbled nine-team district race that includes powers Robinson and Jesuit.

Zephyrhills (0-1) at Tampa Catholic (1-0)

Last Week: Zephyrhills lost to Land O'Lakes 36-21; Tampa Catholic beat Bayshore 17-14.

The Skinny: Tampa Catholic overcame sloppy play to hold off Bayshore in its opener. But the Crusaders will have to be sharper tonight against Zephyrhills and QB Jamal Roberts. The underrated Roberts is a standout runner and passer, and he rushed for three scores to keep the Bulldogs close in their opening loss to Land O'Lakes.

Berkeley Prep (1-0) at Lakeland Victory Christian (0-1) (7 p.m.)

Last week: Berkeley Prep defeated Trinity Prep 45-14; Victory Christian lost to Admiral Farragut 42-13.

The Skinny: The Buccaneers got off to a fast start last week with QB Destin Nichols throwing four touchdowns in the romp against Trinity Prep. Victory, meanwhile, hopes to gain some traction after being run over by Admiral Farragut last week.

Plant (1-0) at Hillsborough (1-0)

Last Week: Plant defeated Jesuit 34-20; Hillsborough defeated Middleton 30-0.

The Skinny: Once the rivalry in Tampa, this contest is still very good. HHS will be looking to beat Plant for the first time since 2005. Plant righted its ship last week after a shaky preseason game, rolling up 254 yards rushing against Jesuit. Hillsborough looked dominant as well in its blanking of Middleton. Terrier RBs Leroy Harris and Anthony Brown (combined three TDs last week) will duel with Plant runners Antonio Crawford, Wesley Bullock and Paris Bostick (combined five TDs last week).

Newsome (1-0) at Jefferson (0-1)

Last Week: Newsome beat Tampa Bay Tech 26-25; Jefferson lost to Robinson 38-18.

The Skinny: Newsome showed grit in its win against Tech, losing an early lead, only to come back and win at the end with a late score on a drive led by QB Will Worth. Jefferson, meanwhile, is smarting from its loss to Robinson in the opener. The loss was the Dragons' first since the end of the 2009 season. Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle said his young team would learn from the loss, which included four turnovers.

Dunedin (0-1, 0-0) at Robinson (1-0, 0-0)

Last Week: Dunedin lost to Tarpon Springs 37-14; Robinson defeated Jefferson 38-18.

The Skinny: Was it really an upset that Robinson had its way with Jefferson (last year's Class 3A state champ)? Robinson has an opportunistic defense (four forced turnovers last week) and can score on the ground (RB Michael Duclos, two TDs) and through the air (QB Antonio Hampton, two TD passes). Dunedin is trying to bounce back from a first-week loss and get off to a good start in this Class 5A, District 8 game.

Times correspondent Brandon Wright contributed to this report. Rod Gipson can be reached at hillsnews@sptimes.com.

Week 2 Tampa high school football games may offer insights into season 09/08/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 8, 2011 5:30am]

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