Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Hometeam

Armwood’s best D-line? 2017 squad makes its case

SEFFNER ó They arrive in opposing backfields from all directions. Malcolm Lamar fights off double teams before charging up the middle. Fitzroy Gardner and Dyllun Timmons race past linemen so quickly that it seems unfair.

The Armwood High trio take turns pummeling running backs beneath a wall of pads. They also push, pull and throw quarterbacks to the ground.

For the Hawks, this group is not just the first line of defense.

It is the main one, too.

"It starts directly up front," Armwood defensive coordinator Kyle Worden said. "It starts and ends with the defensive line. How they play dictates how the rest of the game is going to go.

"Iíve been doing this 10 years now and this is hands down, bar none the best defensive line Iíve ever been around as a whole group and individually with the skill set each one of them has, itís far and away the best."

That is high praise for a school that prides itself on ferocious defensive play and has had several big-time linemen, including former five-star recruit Byron Cowart.

The proof is in the numbers.

The Hawks have 44 sacks this season, the fourth-highest total in school history. That number could grow considering Armwood is undefeated and can play as many as five games if it reaches the Class 6A state championship.

Just as impressive are the 54 points the Hawks have allowed this season, an average of fewer than a touchdown per game. That total has come against a difficult schedule that includes five playoff teams and six with winning records.

As the game wears on, opposing offenses wear out. Armwood has allowed just one touchdown after the first quarter all season and that came two weeks ago against Hillsborough when the backups were playing.

"Thereís not a team in the area that can beat us running the football," Worden said. "And once you get in a passing situation and this group can pin their ears back and go, it gives hell for people on Friday nights."

Lamar is the catalyst. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound senior often lines up in spots where opposing teams prefer to run so they are heading in his direction. The Oregon commit faces a mountain of interference on every play with linemen, tight ends, even running backs trying to push him out of the way.

"I just try to do my job and be in the right place and fly around," said Lamar, who has 44 tackles and five sacks. "Itís tough taking on a lot of double teams, but I donít want to be selfish. I want to let the other guys have some fun, too."

No one is having more fun than Gardner.

Last year, Gardner attended Lennard High and watched the Armwood defensive line wreak havoc.

"I was impressed with the way they played," Gardner said. "I was happy, too, because I knew thatís where I was going. I just knew I had to come to Armwood and play."

Because Lamar demands so much attention, Gardner is often left with one-on-one matches with linemen.

It usually is no match.

Gardner leads the team in sacks with 13.

"Malcolm makes my job a whole lot easier, and I thank him for that," Gardner said.

Timmons has five sacks despite missing four games with a knee injury.

"We can see fear in linemen, especially when we get hyped and start talking," Timmons said. "They get frustrated."

And it doesnít end there. The line has depth. Allah Whittaker has three sacks. Desmond Watson has two.

Sacks, though, are not the end goal for this unit.

"There were no numbers we really had in mind that we wanted to put up this season," Lamar said. "We just wanted to play together ó and win."

So far, so good.

Comments
Tampa Bay Timesí all-Pinellas County softball team

Tampa Bay Timesí all-Pinellas County softball team

Player of the year: OF Faith Allen, Jr., Palm Harbor UniversityPitcher of the year: Tori Brennan, So., East LakeCoach of the year: Linda Derk, Admiral FarragutFirst teamP Alanah Rivera, So., Boca CiegaP Savannah Farkas, Sr., Northside ChristianP Bre ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Timesí all-Hillsborough County softball

Tampa Bay Timesí all-Hillsborough County softball

Player of the year: P Jodi Handler, Sr., AlonsoPitcher of the year: Ashley Blessin, Jr., Plant CityCoach of the year: Bob Diez, ChamberlainFirst teamP Haley Murphy, Sr., East BayP Shannon Maloney, Sr., ChamberlainP Gabby Vallee, Sr., ChamberlainP Cas...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Timesí all-North Suncoast softball team

Tampa Bay Timesí all-North Suncoast softball team

Player of the year: P Alexis Kilfoyl, Jr., Academy at the LakesPitcher of the year: Callie Turner, Jr., Land O'LakesCoach of the year: Diane Stephenson, Academy at the LakesFirst teamP Melanie Rogers, Jr., River RidgeP Ali Shenefield, Jr., HernandoP ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay Timesí all-Tampa Bay baseball team

Tampa Bay Timesí all-Tampa Bay baseball team

North Suncoast Player of the Year: J.P. Gates, Sr., Nature CoastGates changes games. Even when he was not pitching, he was still in the middle of the lineup and playing first base. He was pitched to carefully but still had good power numbers. "H...
Published: 07/17/18
Tampa Bay Timesí all-North Suncoast baseball team

Tampa Bay Timesí all-North Suncoast baseball team

Player of the Year: J.P. Gates, Sr., Nature CoastPitcher of the Year: Gunnar Hoglund, Sr., FivayCoach of the Year: Frank Vitale, Nature CoastIn his fourth season as Sharks head coach, Vitale led the team to its first Class 5A state tournament. Nature...
Published: 07/16/18
Tampa Bay Timesí all-Hillsborough County baseball team

Tampa Bay Timesí all-Hillsborough County baseball team

Player of the Year: Connor Scott, Sr., PlantPitcher of the Year: Franco Aleman, Sr., AlonsoCoach of the Year: J.J. Pizzio, LetoPizzio led the Falcons to their first state tournament appearance since 1970. They were 24-5 and did not lose a game in Cla...
Published: 07/16/18
Tampa Bay Timesí all-Pinellas County baseball team

Tampa Bay Timesí all-Pinellas County baseball team

Player of the Year: Matheu Nelson, Sr., Calvary ChristianPitcher of the Year: Nolan Hudi, Jr., Calvary ChristianCoach of the Year: Greg Olsen, Calvary ChristianAfter a perfect 30-0 season in 2017, the Warriors were clearly the team to beat this seaso...
Published: 07/16/18
Ex-Plant QB Robert Marve arrested on domestic battery complaint

Ex-Plant QB Robert Marve arrested on domestic battery complaint

TAMPA — Former Plant High and University of Miami quarterback Robert Marve was arrested Friday morning in Hillsborough County, accused of striking his ex-girlfriend and stomping on her throat in Key West.Marve turned himself in at the Orient Ro...
Published: 07/13/18
Arrest warrant issued for ex-Plant QB Marve in Key West domestic battery

Arrest warrant issued for ex-Plant QB Marve in Key West domestic battery

TAMPA ó An arrest warrant made public Thursday charges former Plant High School and University of Miami quarterback Robert Marve with domestic battery by strangulation, amid allegations he stomped on his then-girlfriendís throat in July while vacatio...
Published: 07/12/18
Just call new football coach Jeris McIntyre Mr. Tampa Catholic

Just call new football coach Jeris McIntyre Mr. Tampa Catholic

Jeris McIntyre was an assistant under Mike Gregory on the Tampa Catholic High School sideline for the past three seasons and blended into his shadow off the field.But the days of anonymity are gone for McIntyre, who has assumed the leadership mantle ...
Published: 07/12/18