Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Morning QB: Week 3 highlights and a war of words

Rivalry matchups always lead to entertaining results (read to the end):

Player of the Week

Kiael Kelly, Jesuit: Since transferring from Tampa Catholic this summer, Kelly had been battling to become the starting quarterback. In the season opener, the sophomore split time with Enzo Tedesco and completed three passes, all for touchdowns, in a win over Durant. With Tedesco injured, Kelly got the start against Steinbrenner and played well, throwing for 185 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-10 win that keeps the Tigers undefeated (2-0). The two likely will split time again if Tedesco is healthy.

Team of the Week

Boca Ciega: The Pirates started the season 0-2, and the odds of winning their first game of the season didn't look good. Boca Ciega hasn't beaten St. Petersburg since 2007. And the Green Devils started the season 2-0. The Pirates trailed 14-0 at halftime Friday, but scored 21 unanswered to pull out the win. Did the win over their rivals mean a lot?

"It does, actually," said sophomore running back Chris Phillips, who scored the winning touchdown. "That's going to be history. And, plus, I played with most of these guys, so it's just big finally beating them."

Coach of the Week

Evan Davis, Armwood: In the postgame huddle following the annual rivalry with Plant, Davis told his players: "We're not supposed to do this." The Hawks were supposed to be in a rebuilding phase. They start as many as eight sophomores. That inexperience was supposed to be a detriment, especially on the road in front of a frenzied crowd against a state powerhouse. That did not matter. Davis was able to get them to shake off an opening-week loss to Tampa Bay Tech and beat the Panthers 21-18. It was the first time Plant had lost a regular-season game at home since 2010.

Just for kicks

There were some noteworthy performances by kickers Friday:

• Sunlake punter Clark Cooley did his part in a 7-6 loss to Wiregrass Ranch. He had three punts over 45 yards and had two others that landed inside the 20. One punt landed at the 5, which eventually led to the Seahawks' only touchdown when the Bulls botched a punt in the end zone.

• Nature Coast sophomore Alex Florkowski was called up from JV to kick against Springstead. Florkowski, who is a midfielder on the girls soccer team, made two extra points in the 32-7 win.

• East Bay used an onside kick on its first two kickoffs against Robinson. The Indians almost recovered the first one and did recover the second in a 35-12 win.


• Cypress Creek won its first game in school history, 42-22 over Bishop McLaughlin. The Coyotes were 0-10 in their inaugural season in 2017 and outscored 470-40. They were 0-2 prior to Friday, but played Gulf and Fivay close.

East Lake made it 10 straight wins over neighborhood rival Tarpon Springs. The last time the Spongers won was in 2008, 27-17. The Eagles' streak started in 2009, a 13-3 win.

• Gaither gave up 12 points to start its game against Lennard. The Cowboys then scored 35 unanswered. They caused six turnovers (two interceptions, four fumbles). Two fumbles were returned for touchdowns.

• Countryside snapped a two-game losing streak to rival Clearwater and is 3-0 for the first time since 2014.

Unsung hero

Armwood receiver Ezeriah Anderson had just one catch for 8 yards against Plant. But the senior came up with two of the biggest plays down the stretch. Ahead 21-18, Armwood was inside Plant's 10 with 2:28 left when defensive back Leonard Parker intercepted a pass and raced past a number of Hawks. Anderson sprinted from the back of the end zone and tackled Parker near midfield, preventing a would-be touchdown. With eight seconds left, the Panthers attempted a tying field goal. Anderson got his arm up enough to block the kick, sealing the win for Armwood.

Nature Coast coach Cory Johns during the fourth quarter vs. Springstead. (MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times)


It is common practice, even for bitter rivals, to trade game film. But Springstead coach Mike Garofano was having none of that before Friday's game against Nature Coast. Garofano was steamed about what he thought was an obscene gesture made by Nature Coast players during last year's game, a 29-21 loss.

So he did not make any film available to the Sharks.

"That kind of irked me," Nature Coast coach Cory Johns said. "To me, it's totally unprofessional. It's never happened to me. I've been coaching for 10 years and a head coach for six. (Garofano) wasn't even professional enough to text me or anything. He just wouldn't trade. It just irked me."

Garofano had no sympathy after last year's game. And he suspects it's the reason Nature Coast called timeout with 50 seconds left in the game and up 25-7 on third and goal from the 2 Friday night before scoring a touchdown.

"That's the class-less things that they do," Garofano said. "That's the reason I didn't trade. Then this year, up three scores with 50 seconds left and they call timeout. That's just who they are. We have no respect for them. They go against everything we teach our kids. Low class, no character over there. I have no problem saying that. And it's not sore losing. They beat us up and down the field. But it goes from the top down. You breed that culture. It's no class."

Next year's game should be fun.

Sunday Morning QB: Midseason point approaches

Sunday Morning QB: Midseason point approaches

Highlights from Week 5:Player of the WeekKhaishef Edwards, Largo: Since coming over from Northeast, Edwards has showed off his big-play potential with touchdown catches in three of the first four games, including three in a win over Palm Harbor Unive...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

Football: Tampa Bay Tech 28, Hillsborough 27

TAMPA — The decision was made as soon as Hillsborough got the ball back. Trailing by a touchdown with just over four minutes remaining against Tampa Bay Tech, the Terriers had the ball on their own 6-yard line.They hadn't been able to move the ...
Published: 09/22/18
Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

Football: Clearwater 34, Mitchell 7

TRINITY — What at first looked like a defensive stalemate between Clearwater and Mitchell quickly turned into a rout.Clearwater had revenge on its mind Friday night after a 45-28 loss to Mitchell last year during the the regular season. The Tor...
Published: 09/22/18
Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

Football: Largo 35, Countryside 0

LARGO — The offense was relentless and merciless Friday night, but that has been the case a lot recently. Largo is scoring points in bunches and getting contributions from everyone. Add in a defense that has been smothering, as well as a special team...
Published: 09/22/18

Football: Armwood 24, Jefferson 14

SEFFNER — Armwood is becoming accustomed to winning close games.The Hawks fended off visiting Jefferson 24-14 in a defensive battle that featured a plethora of holding penalties in the second half.Armwood (3-1) earned two rushing touchdowns from juni...
Published: 09/21/18
Updated: 09/22/18

Football: Sickles 7, Freedom 3

TAMPA — Sickles needed a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter to escape Freedom 7-3 on Homecoming and remain in the hunt for a Class 7A, District 8 title.Gryphons coach Patrick Murphy knew that facing the Patriots would be a battle. Freedom (1-...
Published: 09/21/18
Updated: 09/22/18

Football: Plant 44, Gaither 34

TAMPA — Seventy-eight points. Eight hundred and 40 yards in total offense. Five players surpassing the century mark in yardage.When the game was over Friday, Plant had the edge in every category — including the scoreboard as the Panthers (3-1) opened...
Published: 09/21/18

Football: Robinson 28, Blake 25

TAMPA — Nevermind that Blake scored a go-ahead touchdown with 87 seconds left in the game.Forgive him, but part of Robinson junior Lateef Al-Shaa’ir was hoping it would happen just so it would set up a comeback.And it did.With 24 seconds left in the ...
Published: 09/21/18

Football: St. Petersburg 23, Gibbs 6

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg’s Aumhryaun Brown’s two touchdowns helped overcome the ejection of quarterback Tonio Shavers as the Green Devils cruised to a 23-6 win against Gibbs on Friday.As time expired during the first half, with the Green Devil...
Published: 09/21/18

Football: Plant City 24, East Bay 7

GIBSONTON — Plant City’s high-powered passing game gets most of the attention. But the Raiders’ defense is just as responsible for the team’s unbeaten start.In Plant City’s 24-7 road victory against East Bay in Class 7A, District 9 on Friday, the def...
Published: 09/21/18