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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


  1. HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Braxton Johnson and Lindsey Leadbetter


    Braxton Johnson, Anclote

    Junior running back Braxton Johnson had the biggest night of his career last week for Anclote, rushing for 325 yards and two touchdowns as the Sharks topped Fivay 35-16.

    Johnson was just 9 yards short of breaking the school's single-game rushing record, but that doesn't mean record setting isn't still in Johnson's future.

    Coach Matt Wicks said Johnson is just 153 yards from the school's single-season rushing record. So far Johnson has rushed for 1,252 yards this season, putting him fourth in the state for rushing leaders. ...

     Northside Christian swimmer Lindsey Leadbetter (courtesy of Leadbetter)
  2. Sunday Morning Quarterback


    Team of the Week

    East Bay: The Indians (4-3, 1-2) have had some ups and downs, but it appeared nothing was going to stop them from taking down neighborhood rival Lennard, not even their opponent's unblemished record. East Bay quarterback Ian Kuykendall had more than three times his average output on the ground, rushing for 116 yards and three touchdowns as the Indians defeated Lennard 26-14, earning their first district victory....

    D.J. Johnson
  3. Pinellas Game of the Week: Countryside 35, Largo 14


    CLEARWATER — Largo had won four straight games in large part by turning loose an attacking special teams unit that made a habit of blocking punts or returning them for scores.

    The Packers did not get to any kicks or score on a return in Friday's non-district game against Countryside. Largo, though, did affect field position with its first three drives all starting inside the Cougars' 32-yard line....

    Countryside quarterback Trent Chmelik (9) runs with the ball during the Countryside high school football game against Largo at Countryside 10/9/2015.
  4. Tampa Prep's Juwan Durham tears ACL a second time


    Tampa Prep senior Juwan Durham, a 6-foot-10 power forward, will miss the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second time in seven months.

    Durham's latest injury happened in early September, days after the prized recruit announced his commitment to national powerhouse Connecticut.

    Durham, ranked 37th in the ESPN 100 for the class of 2016, still was rehabbing from his initial tear sustained Feb. 17 when his knee buckled while on a treadmill and during shooting drills. The family asked for several opinions from doctors before an MRI revealed there was a tear, Terrapins coach Joe Fenlon said....

    Juwan Durham
  5. Week 7: Game day grab bag


    Rest for the Mustangs, not the coach

    Northside Christian had a well-timed bye week prior to an important stretch of games. The Mustangs (5-0) travel to undefeated Carrollwood Day tonight, then play at district rival Indian Rocks Christian.

    Not only did the bye week allow Northside players to regroup, it also allowed coach Mike Alstott to attend the Tampa Bay Bucs' Ring of Honor ceremonies without having to worry about a Friday night game. Alstott found out about his inclusion in the Ring of Honor in June, before the schedule was solidified. He said the bye week just happened to fall during his induction ceremony. And he's glad it did....

    Devon Connors is a key part of Carrollwood Day's sack-happy defensive attack. (OCTAVIO JONES | Times)
  6. Clearwater RB Adarius Lemons channels James Wilder Jr., rakes in college offers


    CLEARWATER — Six years ago, Adarius Lemons watched his cousin play for Countryside High School in a playoff game against powerhouse Plant.

    Lemons became fixated on Panthers running back James Wilder Jr. The abiding memory was that of Wilder charging down a mud-splattered field while carrying would-be tacklers on his back.

    "It was pouring rain the whole game," Lemons said. "I had a raincoat on and everything. But I couldn't stop watching him run. He was so tough and wasn't willing to go down."...

    Clearwater's Adarius Lemons is well on his way to surpassing 1,000 yards rushing this season, and colleges have taken notice. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)
  7. Seminole's Brandon Christian commits to West Virginia


    Seminole swimmer Brandon Christian committed to West Virginia on Tuesday.

    The decision was easy. Christian said the school is where his parents met and he has a lot of family members who still live in the area.

    “I have been a fan all of my life,” Christian said. “Ever since I started swimming and actually got serious about it, it has been a dream of mine to go there and swim. Once the coach contacted me and took me on an official visit, I fell in love with the team and coaching staff, as well as the campus.”...

  8. Cross country honor roll


    Tampa Bay's top area runners so far this season. 


    1. Noah Perkins (Seffner Christian), 15:20.80; 2. Trevor Foley (Hernando), 15:34.53; 3. Luke Peterson (Shorecrest) 16:02.30; 4. Leo Ochoa (Berkeley Prep) 16:10.30; 5. Rob Leverone (Plant) 16:10.30; 6. Quasan Markowski (Plant) 16:11.90; 7. Andrew Myers (Steinbrenner) 16:37.70; 8. Walker Thomas, (Plant) 16:41.30; 9. Haftom Fliegelman (Durant) 16:41.50; 10. Ian Campbell (Steinbrenner), 16:42.70; 11. John Robbins (Jesuit) 16:46.20; 12. Hunter McCann (Admiral Farragut) 16:50.19; 13. Jack Pironti (Carrollwood Day) 16:53.10; 14. Paris Williams (Sickles), 16:54.62; 15. Joseph Salerno (Wiregrass Ranch), 16:56.60; 16. Justin Nunamaker (Northside Christian), 16:57.20; 17. Jackson Gillette  (Largo), 16:57.60; 18. A.J. Jimenez (Osceola), 17:03.49; 19. Matthew Wohlwend (St. Petersburg) 17:03.90; 20. Colton Heath (Steinbrenner) 17:05.90....

  9. QB Garrison Bryant, RB Adarius Lemons banged up for Clearwater


    Clearwater could be without its two biggest playmakers this week.

    Quarterback Garrison Bryant and running back Adarius Lemons were both injured and sat out the second half of last week's 17-3 win over Northeast, a key Class 6A, District 9 game.

    Bryant, a right-hander, has a deep bruise on the top of his throwing hand. The senior has had trouble gripping the ball in practice. Tornadoes coach Don Mesick said Bryant will be a game-time decision for Friday's non-district game against Gibbs....

    Clearwater High quarterback Garrison Bryant is day-to-day after injuring his throwing hand against Northeast. (Douglas R. Clifford | Times)
  10. Shorecrest's boys, St. Petersburg's girls win team swim titles at City Meet.


    Shorecrest’s boys and St. Petersburg’s girls each won team swim titles at the St. Petersburg City Meet.

    The Chargers’ Dominic Hoefer was the diving champion with 356.90 and teammates Jake Andrews, Corey Cureton, Jack Lavely and Joseph Brockman were on the winning 400 free relay (3:33.09). But most of Shorecrest’s 455.50 points came from its superior depth. After all, the Chargers placed in the top four in every event....

  11. HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Asher Thompson and Aubree Sigismondi


    Asher Thompson, Keswick Christian

    Thompson gets to the quarterback or ball carrier so frequently that he has compiled an impressive number of defensive statistics in his four years as a starting linebacker.

    The senior has already set all kinds of records for tackles at the school. Against Winter Haven All Saints' last week, Thompson hit another milestone with 11 tackles to set the career mark of 361, breaking Brian Baxter's previous record of 358 tackles compiled from 2000-03....

    Ridgewood volleyball player Aubree Sigismondi
  12. Sunday Morning Quarterback


    Team of the Week

    Admiral Farragut: The season could not have started any worse. Head coach Ryan Hearn was suspended for a violation of department policy and missed the season opener, a 22-18 loss to Carrollwood Day. Since then, the Blue Jackets have won five straight.

    Admiral Farragut trailed Indian Rocks Christian by 10 Friday night with two minutes to go. But a touchdown with a minute left, then a 50-yard fumble return by Dontell Green with 48 seconds remaining gave the Blue Jackets a 34-31 lead. An IRC field goal sent the game into overtime, but quarterback Austyn Causey converted a two-point pass to give his team a 42-41 win in a crucial Class 2A, District 6 game....

    Eric Schmitz’s Countryside team looks playoff-bound.
  13. North Suncoast Game of the Week: Mitchell 42, Pasco 27


    DADE CITY — Early in the third quarter, Mitchell's Mychael Hamilton took the handoff, cradled the ball and paused.

    Resisting the urge to bolt past the offensive line, Hamilton waited a moment for a pulling guard to deliver a block.

    An instant later, the block completed and his patience rewarded, Hamilton was gone.

    He scampered past two Pasco defenders and into the end zone for a touchdown that tied the score at 21....

    Mitchell High School's Mychael Hamilton (11) eludes the Pasco High School defense during first quarter of Friday's (10/2/15) game with Mitchell High School at Pasco in Dade City.
  14. Football: East Lake 42, International School of Broward 6


    The first half of the season was a rough one for East Lake with three losses – two more than the Eagles had in the previous three regular seasons combined.

    But East Lake is starting to rebound. Thursday’s 42-6 win over the International School of Broward was the Eagles' second straight.

    The scoring was balanced with six players scoring. Bobby Goldinak started the first half and threw touchdown passes to Bryce Miller and Kyle Fearrington. Tupac Blanch, Bailey Fowler and Michael Del Duca also scored on the ground to give East Lake a 35-0 lead at the half....

  15. Midseason report: Game day grab bag


    An old football axiom still holds true at the midpoint of the season. Teams that can run the ball tend to win games. The nine Tampa Bay teams with a running back who has gained more than 700 yards this season are a combined 28-13.

    Another is that defense wins championships. The top teams in the HomeTeam 25 rankings — Armwood and Sickles — have given up 31 points combined. It's no coincidence both teams are undefeated....

    Zephyrhills running back Antwione Sims has almost 1,000 yards via the ground this season ... through just four games. (DAVID W DOONAN | Special to Times)