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John C. Cotey, Times Preps Columnist

John C. Cotey

John Cotey is a Cheesehead, born in Milwaukee and a graduate of Marquette University High School. He fled Wisconsin for a long career as a college student at the University of South Florida. At USF, he walked into the school paper one day to apply for a job as political cartoonist, and he walked out with a sports assignment. He joined the Times in 1991 (after eight months at the Winter Haven News Chief). He is married, with two daughters and two sons. In his free time he likes drooling over Apple products he can't afford, listening to Prince and trying to keep his lawn from turning brown (again).

Phone: (727) 580-3691


Twitter: @JohnnyHomeTeam

Blog: Tampa Bay Times HomeTeam

  1. Cotey: Time for this HomeTeamer to bow out


    When HomeTeam was launched in 2007, my first column was about all the reasons I love high school sports.

    The people, the places, the big games, the rivalries, the kids and of course the concession stands.

    In seven years, that list is even longer, but now it's filled with the things I will miss.

    Before the hand that has patted me on my back taps me on my shoulder, I have decided to end my long career at the Tampa Bay Times....

    How much did Cotey love area prep sports? Evidence A: the Larry Beets bobblehead.
  2. Football: Berkeley Prep 30, Fort Meade 7


    TAMPA — The Fort Meade fans unfurled a huge yellow banner that nearly blanketed the entire visitor stands prior to the second half kickoff of a game delayed after the lights went out at Berkeley Prep last week.

    It read: "Keep the lights on, you don't want to miss the show."

    The Show, however, was Gordon Stetson.

    The Berkeley Prep sophomore running back turned in an award-worthy performance in the Bucs' completion of a 30-7 victory over Fort Meade in a key Class 3A-4 showdown Wednesday....

  3. North Suncoast Game of the Week: Gulf 31, Hudson 22


    NEW PORT RICHEY — After a half in which they failed to move the ball when they weren't fumbling it away, the Gulf Buccaneers went into the locker room and, from the looks of it, handed their uniforms to completely different guys who came out and dominated Hudson in the second half en route to a 31-22 win at Des Little Stadium on Friday night.

    The differences could not have been more striking....

  4. Sunday Morning Quarterback


    SMQ team of the week

    Clearwater Central Catholic: The Marauders, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, had eight players nursing injuries during the week. Five were healed enough to play, but the Marauders still were without two of their offensive linemen for a matchup against Ocala Trinity Catholic, No. 4 in 3A. After falling behind early, CCC rallied for a wild 45-42 win. Quarterback Jeff Smith threw for a school-record 397 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 113 and two more scores. "It was a tremendous win to be beat and come back the way we did," Marauders coach John Davis said....

    Hillsborough quarterback Dwayne Lawson runs during the first half of Friday’s victory over Lennard. The Terriers won 32-26, handing the Longhorns their first loss of the season
  5. Hillsborough Game of the Week: Hillsborough 32, Lennard 26


    RUSKIN — The rain had slowed, the teams had shook hands and Lennard coach Keith Chattin had spoken to his crestfallen kids.

    The disappointment of the 32-26 district loss was only just beginning to settle in and eat away at Chattin. As he walked off the field, he slapped his hands together as hard as he could, the loud smack ringing loudly as Longhorn fans applauded their conquered heros after the first loss of the season....

    Hillsborough wide receiver Xavier Byrd, who scored late in the game, looks for running room during the first half.
  6. High school football grab bag


    Welcome to the Midweek Grab Bag. We suggest you pour yourself a nice, cool beverage, find a comfortable place to sit and enjoy a nice bowl of numbers soup.

    District domination

    Plant's win over Bloomingdale on Friday was its 30th straight in district play. The area's longest active streaks, including year of last loss:

    Team No. Loss

    1. Largo37 2005

    2. Plant30 2004...

    SP_326192_ZUPP_Cotey (07/27/2010 St. Petersburg) Sig mug of John C. Cotey. [CHRIS ZUPPA, Times]
  7. Hillsborough Game of the Week: Plant 20, Bloomingdale 6


    VALRICO — There were fumbles and interceptions. More fumbles and wet footballs heaved off target into the pouring rain with wet hands. More fumbles and a slew of penalties and touchdowns that didn't count and dropped passes and more fumbles.

    Then there was Patrick Brooks.

    For three quarters, Plant and Bloomingdale slipped and slopped around a field of mud, then Brooks scored a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter and never stopped running after, wiggling his way through the Bulls defense and leading the Panthers to a 20-6 victory in the Class 8A, District 6 opener for both teams....

    Bloomingdale receiver Logan Crouse makes a catch but is brought down by defensive back Pat Cooper in the first half.
  8. Tampa Bay high school football grab bag


    Welcome to the Midweek Grab Bag. We suggest you pour yourself a nice, cool beverage, find a comfortable place to sit and enjoy a nice bowl of numbers soup.

    Power rankings

    The hottest things in high school football right now (with previous ranking in parenthesis).

    1. (1) Pinellas County football: Three teams — 2A Indian Rocks Christian, 3A Clearwater Central Catholic and 7A East Lake — ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press state poll? Wow! You know what that means. Right, fellas? STATE TITLE!...

    Jesuit’s Malik Davis has 1,091 career rushing yards three games into his sophomore season. Hillsborough County’s career rushing leader, Robert Davis of Carrollwood Day, had 407 at this point in his career.
  9. Pigskin preview: Three keys to victory for Zephyrhills


    Zephyrhills has beaten two teams that went a combined 1-19 last season. Things get tougher tonight against Mitchell, which is 2-0 for the sixth straight season. There will be bigger games for both teams down the road. But for now, tonight is big. "I think this is one of the better teams that we will play," Bulldogs coach Reggie Roberts said. "I don't want to say it's not a statement game … but it's important."...

  10. Cross country: Zentmeyer lifts Sickles' boys


    TAMPA — James Zentmeyer wasn't expecting too much early Wednesday evening when he lined up at Lake Park to run the West Hillsborough Conference Invitational.

    His Sickles cross country team had a brutal workout on Tuesday and left practice exhausted. He didn't feel great warming up before the race, and Plant's Jack Guyton had told his rival he was gunning for him.

    "I wanted to win," Zentmeyer said. "I didn't know if I would."...

    James Zentmeyer wins in 16:35 to help Sickles take first at the West Hillsborough Conference Invitational.
  11. Sickles football coach Brian Turner suspended for two games


    Sickles' Brian Turner has been suspended from coaching football for two weeks following his ejection from a junior varsity game last week.

    Turner was not on the sideline for Friday's 30-20 varsity loss to Durant, having been ejected the previous night from the JV game.

    Based on Policy 30 in the Florida High School Athletic Association rulebook, Turner is ineligible for a minimum of two weeks, from Sept. 4-18. He also must complete a six-hour "fundamentals of coaching" course, which carries a fee of $50, before he is reinstated. Sickles was also fined $200....

    SAM OWENS   |   Times

(08/30/2014 Tampa) Sickles Head Coach Brian Turner talks to players in the first quarter during the football game between Robinson and Sickles at Sickles High School in Tampa, Friday evening, August 29, 2014. The halftime score was 33 to 7 with Sickles in the lead.
  12. Football: Hillsborough 33, Jefferson 24


    TAMPA — Playing in a nine-team district leaves little margin for error, which Hillsborough found out last year after dropping its first two games to Jefferson and Armwood and spending the rest of the season hoping one of them would lose.

    Neither did.

    This season, the only scoreboard the Terriers will need to worry about will be the one on the field they play on.

    Thanks to a Herculean second-half effort from star quarterback Dwayne Lawson and its unsung defense, the Terriers knocked off Jefferson 33-24 Friday night at Chelo Huerta Field....

    Hillsborough’s players and fans celebrate after beating district rival Jefferson.
  13. Can Jefferson derail Hillsborough's Dwayne Lawson?


    In last year's big Class 6A, District 8 tilt between Jefferson and Hillsborough, the Dragons won thanks to some last-minute heroics by defensive back Chavez Pownell. But Hillsborough quarterback Dwayne Lawson, a Miami commitment and the best player on the field, passed for 291 yards and ran for 124. That probably can't happen again tonight if the Dragons want to win. But consider: Last year, Lawson had more than 280 yards (passing and rushing combined) against everyone but Armwood. He's a tough dude to stop....

  14. Sunday morning quarterback


    Player of the week

    Dillon O'Toole, River Ridge

    Since getting hired at his alma mater in 2011, River Ridge coach Ryan Benjamin has spent a lot of time thinking about beating Land O'Lakes. He even bought a trophy — a gator mouth embedded on a black marble plaque — to give to the game MVP the day that victory came.

    By the time it did Friday night, the trophy had accumulated some age. In fact, when he handed it to O'Toole, it had dust and cobwebs on it. That didn't seem to bother the senior linebacker, who registered three sacks (he had two all of last year) in the 21-14 victory over Land O'Lakes....

    Ray Ray McCloud III is the eighth  Hillsborough County player to surpass 4,000 rushing yards.
  15. Football: Hillsborough County roundup


    Berkeley Prep 44, Middleton 6: The Berkeley Prep special teams swarmed Middleton to set up a number of short scores, and quarterback Brad Mayes threw four TD. The Tigers, under new coach Jeff George, fumbled on the first play and Buc running back Gordon Stetson carried it in for an 8-yard TD on the next play to put Berkeley Prep ahead 7-0 just 17 seconds into the game.

    Bloomingdale 16, Strawberry Crest 7: Isaiah McIntyre threw touchdown passes to the quarterback he split time with last year, Tommy McLaughlin, and receiver Patrick Wiedrich to lead the Bulls. Arjay Smith put the Chargers in front early, before the Bulls rallied. On a broken play, McIntyre hit Wiedrich on a 35-yard score, and Alex Smith converted a 25-yard field goal....