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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
Our annual picks for the top football players in Hillsborough and Pinellas county.
Vernon Hargreaves III, Sr., Wharton
Over the summer, Hargreaves asked his coaches if he could move to safety so he could make more of an impact on the game. As one of the nation’s top cornerback recruits, he had grown tired of offenses avoiding his side of the field during his junior season. But as a senior, Hargreaves gave offenses little choice but to account for him. Finally free to roam all over the field, Hargreaves was dominant from sideline to sideline and earned our nod as the defensive player of the year. Hargreaves finished with 110 tackles, five interceptions, five pass deflections, five caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries; he totaled 33 tackles in Wharton’s three losses — Durant, Plant and Orlando Dr. Phillips, teams that finished a combined 34-4. For good measure, the Florida commit scored five touchdowns, converted five extra points and blocked a punt. He’ll likely return to minding his own island in Gainesville next fall.
Will Worth, Sr., Newsome
Considering no Hillsborough player was more vital to his team, Worth also was a bona fide defensive player of the year candidate. We chose him for offense in part because of his staggering playoff performance. The durable catalyst of the Wolves’ wing-T offense, Worth totaled at least 200 yards in all three postseason contests, including 215 in a 21-14 region semifinal upset of previously undefeated Durant. (Largely overlooked in that game: a 7 for 8, 114-yard passing effort.) Worth totaled at least 140 yards in all 13 games, and 200 or more in seven. He finished with 1,051 passing and 1,537 rushing yards and 19 total TDs. Did we mention he dabbled on defense, too? The starting middle linebacker, Worth led Newsome in tackles (104) and caused fumbles (four).
Pete DiNovo, Sr., East Lake
DiNovo had already established himself as an accomplished passer with impressive numbers the past two seasons. He continued to pile up the yards this season, and is now the most prolific passer in Pinellas County history. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder has set county career records for passing yards (6,733) and touchdowns (59), previously held by former Gibbs and Tampa Bay Buccaneer standout Shaun King. DiNovo also set the county’s single-season record for passing yards with 2,980, surpassing the mark of 2,445 set by former Pinellas Park star Tony Rucker in 1990, and he threw for 25 touchdowns this year. All of this has happened in a season in which the Eagles (11-1) set a school record for victories and advanced to the Class 8A region finals, where they lost to Orlando Dr. Phillips.
Derrick Doss, Sr., Largo
This season, Largo was the most dominant team in the county, beating every Pinellas opponent by at least four touchdowns on its way to an unbeaten regular season. Doss was at the forefront, leading a defense that allowed just 87 points in 11 games. He finished with 73 tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles. Modest numbers, but Doss was part of a defense that forced opponents into a lot of three and outs. And Doss didn’t have to play much in the second half of games because the Packers already had a commanding lead. His selection was more than just stats. Doss played everywhere on the field, lining up at times on the defensive line and at linebacker. Sometimes he even played in the secondary. He also was a valuable running back who gained more than 400 yards.