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John C. Cotey's Top 10 in Tampa Bay area high school sports

1. Jesuit football

The Tigers were missing top receiver Ben Gutowski but not their top running back. Robby Garcia (208 yards) ran past, through and over a Tampa Catholic team that was primed to end a nine-game losing streak to Jesuit. The streak is now at 10, and if you look really close you can see the end of it off into the future … wait … no, never mind. I can't see it.

2. Volleyball

Going back to 1979, the Tampa Bay area has produced a state volleyball champion every year except one. That's pretty amazing. Next week, it will send five teams — Newsome, Tampa Prep, Berkeley Prep, Plant and Hudson — to the state finals and most likely make it 29 years out of 30.

3. Maddie Martin

There's only one thing better than a Mike's key lime pie — his daughter Maddie, who this week notched the 1,000th kill of her career and led Plant back to the state finals for the fourth straight season.

4. Tuning up

You have to like the way Armwood, Largo, Lakewood, Jefferson and Tampa Bay Tech won decisively in the final week of the football season. Meaningless? We'll see as the playoffs rev up this week.

5. Okaro White

Lots of college basketball signings this week, but I'm guessing few programs were happier to land a local product than FSU was in getting White's signature on scholarship papers. The Clearwater senior forward is all set to blow up big time this season.

6. Swimmingly magnificent

Countryside's Melanie Margalis won her third straight 200-yard individual medley state championship, but here was the exclamation point — she did it in 1 minute, 57.07 seconds, crushing the 15-year-old state record of 1:58.91 that had been set by a future Olympic medalist (Allison Wagner) in 1994.

7. Newsome volleyball

First-year coach Kate Correa has worked some magic in Lithia, directing the Wolves, the unlikeliest of local volleyball teams, to the Class 5A state final four, further than they have ever gone before.

8. Answer: Hernando's Alvin Delaine

Question: What running back leads all of Tampa Bay with 1,633 rushing yards after picking up 329 Friday night?

9. Largo alumni

Dexter McCluster set the Ole Miss single-game rushing record with 282 yards (and four TDs) against Tennessee, while Brynn Harvey ran for a career-high 139 (with three TDs) as UCF upset No. 13 Houston.

10. Jefferson

If I had to pick one football team from Tampa Bay to win a state title, I'd take the Dragons. Unless Lakewood beats them. Provided the Spartans get past Pasco. Oh, never mind.

John C. Cotey can be reached at [email protected]

John C. Cotey's Top 10 in Tampa Bay area high school sports 11/14/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 14, 2009 10:22pm]
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