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Bob Putnam, Times Staff Writer

Bob Putnam

Bob Putnam has covered high school sports for the Tampa Bay Times as a staff writer since 1996. He is a fourth-generation Floridian who graduated from Dixie Hollins High School and wrote for the student newspapers at St. Petersburg College and USF. He has covered the high school careers of football stars Riley Cooper (CCC/Florida/Philadelphia Eagles), Dante Fowler (Lakewood/Florida/Jacksonville Jaguars), Leonard Johnson (Largo/Iowa State/Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Dexter McCluster (Largo, Mississippi/Tennessee Titans), among others.

Phone: (727) 580-4395

Email: [email protected]

  1. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    The players watched videos from former Hawks standouts who explained what the rivalry meant to them. Armwood then raced out on to the field wearing all-black uniforms, a reward for their work throughout the season.

    That reward just happened to come when Armwood played a certain team in South Tampa....

    Armwood takes the field to start the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  2. HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Chloe Grimme and Joshua McQueen

    Swimming Preps

    HomeTeam Hot Shots

    Chloe Grimme, Sunlake

    Two weeks ago, Grimme's coaches told her she could swim the 50-yard freestyle in 23 seconds. Grimme was skeptical, not of the suggested time but of the timing.

    Last year, she finished second in the 50 free at state in 23.93 seconds. Grimme knew she was capable of swimming that fast again, but was more confident it would come later in the season, not during the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet....

    Sunlake swimmer Chloe Grimme
  3. Sunday Morning QB, Week 8


    Coach of the Week | Chris Harvey, Clearwater Central Catholic

    The second-year coach took over the program last year from his father-in-law, John Davis. Harvey inherited the difficult position of maintaining the Marauders' deep run through the playoffs. Last year, CCC went 8-1 in the regular season and made it to the region final. This year, the Marauders have done even better. CCC is 7-0 after Friday's 23-14 win over Calvary Christian. If the Marauders beat Admiral Farragut and Sarasota Cardinal Mooney the next two weeks, they will go undefeated in the regular season for just the second time in school history. Better still, CCC is doing it without a slew of major Division I-A prospects. ...

    Clearwater Central Catholic High School varsity football coach Chris Harvey watches his players during a team football practice on Tuesday (9/5/17) at Clearwater Central Catholic in Clearwater.
  4. HomeTeam Hot Shots: Nominations for Oct. 7-13


    Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Oct.7-Friday, Oct. 13. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.

    Female nominees

    Jessica Angelo, volleyball, Palm Harbor University: The junior outside hitter had 15 kills in the final of the PCAC championship against Tarpon Springs. The Hurricanes won 2-1 for their third straight PCAC title....

  5. Football: Clearwater Central Catholic 23, Calvary Christian 14


    CLEARWATER — The rest of the teams in Class 3A, Region 3 looked at Clearwater Central Catholic this season and engaged in some wishful thinking.

    Maybe the Marauders, winners of five straight district titles, would not be able to cope with the loss of so many talented players who graduated or transferred. Maybe it would all be too much for the Marauders to handle.

    Maybe the rest of the region should have known better....

    Calvary Christian's D'Andre Ferguson (2) is congratulated by team mate Michael Jean (75) moments after scoring a touchdown during Friday???‚??„?s (10/13/17) game between Clearwater Central Catholic High School and Calvary Christian High School at Calvary Christian in Clearwater.
  6. County AD Al Bennett: All but one East Lake player checked out


    Last month, Tarpon Springs coach George Kotis started questioning the status of five East Lake players.

    He insisted they were living in Tarpon Springs' zone and called Pinellas County athletic director Al Bennett to check on their eligibility.

    Bennett said he informed East Lake to allow the school to conduct its own investigation.

    Once the investigation was completed, Bennett said he went to East Lake to double-check that the proper paperwork was in place....

    Five of East Lake coach Bob Hudson's football players were vetted by the county. Only one player's address didn't pass muster, according to the county athletic director. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
  7. Zephyrhills' Charles Harrison III continues family's quarterback legacy


    ZEPHYRHILLS — Charles Harrison III lofted a 32-yard touchdown pass on his fourth attempt of the game. The Zephyrhills High senior spent the rest of the half launching left-handed strikes from wherever his swift feet would take him.

    The speed. The strong arm. The improvisational skills. It is all part of Harrison's athletically divine DNA.

    This football lineage bridges three generations. Harrison III shares a name, a number (12) and a position with his father and grandfather. ...

    Zephyrhills quarterback Charles Harrison III wears the No. 12 proudly.
  8. Football picks, Week 8



    Carrollwood Day at Zephyrhills Christian, 7

    Page: Zephyrhills Christian 42-7

    Putnam: Zephyrhills Christian 28-14


    Games at 7:30 unless noted

    Ridgewood at Anclote, 6:30

    Page: Anclote 44-14...

    Lakewood players raise their helmets before a game between Pinellas Park and Lakewood at Lakewood High in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
  9. Calvary Christian's mission: Stay calm, beat Clearwater Central Catholic



    Calvary Christian High coach Todd Yoder has been waiting for this type of game — a heart-stopping, cliff-hanging, five-star, four-act drama on the football field.

    The Warriors host neighboring private school power Clearwater Central Catholic (6-0) tonight. At stake for Calvary Christian (3-1) is a chance to stay among the points leaders in Class 3A, Region 3 and earn a possible first-round postseason home game....

  10. Football: East Lake 34, Tarpon Springs 7


    EAST LAKE – Five days ago, East Lake traveled to Waycross, Ga., for a regular-season game. The Eagles returned from the 526-mile trip with their playoff hopes in limbo after the Florida High School Athletic Association ruled the team used an ineligible player and had to forfeit its first three games, including two wins. 

    The school self-reported the infraction and is appealing the decision....

  11. Tarpon Springs: Ineligible player used East Lake assistant coach's address


    Tarpon Springs football coach George Kotis does not dispute the Florida High School Athletic Association's ruling that rival East Lake used an ineligible player and has to forfeit its first three games of the season.

    What Kotis has an issue with is the self-report East Lake sent to the state's governing body for sports. He said the player in question used the address of an assistant coach in order to establish residency at East Lake. ...

    Tarpon Spring football coach George Kotis says  there were multiple violations Tarpon Springs notified its rival about, but East Lake chose to self-report only one. (Octavio Jones, Times)

  12. East Lake football forced to forfeit games, loses district lead


    The Florida High School Athletic Association has ruled that East Lake used an ineligible player and must forfeit its first three games of the season, including wins over rival Palm Harbor University and Pinellas Park.

    The Eagles, who were 3-3 overall and 2-0 in Class 7A, District 10 before the ruling, drop to 1-5 and 1-1 in district competition pending an appeal.

    In the FHSAA letter obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, East Lake was notified on Sept. 20 that a football player was living in another school's zone. ...

    East Lake athletic director Kris Toscani says coach Bob Hudson, pictured here, did nothing wrong in regards to the use of an ineligible player. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
  13. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa


    1. Armwood (5-0)

    Up next: at King

    Skinny: The Hawks have allowed just 35 points all season. The defense is even providing points with touchdowns of their own. Markeis Colvin returned an interception 99 yards for a score, a play that was turning point in a 48-7 rout of Plant City last week. The special teams also have come up with big plays. Jerome Ford returned a kickoff for a touchdown and James Miller returned a blocked punt for a score against the Raiders. Armwood has winless King on Friday. Three days later, the Hawks host Plant in a showdown of the top two teams in the area. ...

    Armwood running back Brian Snead leaps over Tampa Bay Tech corner Javon Ponton during the first half of a game at Tampa Bay Technical High School in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Loren Elliott, Times)
  14. Sunday Morning Quarterback, Week 7


    Player of the Week | Charles Harrison III, Zephyrhills

    To say the third-year starting quarterback had a career night against Anclote would be an understatement. Harrison threw for a career-best 336 yards and tied a career high with five touchdown passes by halftime of Friday's 43-28 win. His previous career high in yards was 273 against Ridgewood last year. In all, Harrison finished with 363 yards and six touchdowns. His passing yards Friday were just 145 fewer than he had the entire first half of the season. Harrison is getting better, too. He has a thrown for a combined 11 touchdowns in his past two games....

    Zephyrhills High School quarterback Charles Harrison III runs the ball while Anclote High School MLB Kristopher Valley tries to stop him during the second half of the Anclote at Zephyrhills football game on Friday, October 6, 2017, in Zephyrhills, Fla.
  15. HomeTeam Hot Shots: Nominations for Sept. 30-Oct. 6


    Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Sept. 30-Friday, Oct. 6. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.

    Female nominees

    Cameron Fitzpatrick, volleyball, Clearwater Central Catholic: The senior outside hitter had 24 kills, including the final kill in the fifth game, in a 3-2 win over Tarpon Springs on Tuesday. She leads the team with 185 kills....