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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

Email: johncotey@gmail.com

Twitter: @JohnnyHomeTeam

Blog: Tampa Bay Times HomeTeam

  1. State boys basketball: Shooting touch eludes Academy at the Lakes


    LAKELAND — Academy at the Lakes' magical and surprising run through the playoffs ended Tuesday afternoon.

    The Wildcats couldn't find their shooting range and fell behind early, and despite a handful of rallies, Orlando Agape's speed, length and athleticism made it too tall a mountain to scale as the Saints marched on to the Class 2A state championship game with a 57-36 victory at the Lakeland Center....

    Agape guard Mike Brannum, the game’s leading scorer with 19 points, goes to the hoop against Academy at the Lakes’ Seth Oliver.
  2. Region boys basketball: St. Petersburg 51, Wharton 33


    TAMPA — St. Petersburg suffered its worst loss of the season against Wharton, a 41-point beatdown in December.

    Tuesday night, the Green Devils returned the favor.

    Sparked by a strong effort on the boards and an aggressive defense, and helped by a cold-shooting bunch of Wildcats, St. Petersburg kept its unlikely playoff run going with a decisive 51-33 victory in a Class 8A region semifinal....

  3. Sickles' McCloud officially joins Clemson


    For those hoping there was something to the social media buzz claiming Sickles' Ray Ray McCloud III might be changing his mind and was ready to shock the world by choosing USF, well, your window was open for about 60 seconds.

    McCloud said he woke up at 7 a.m., and by 7:01 his letter of intent was being slipped into the fax machine by his mother making, official what he told everyone during a 30-minute cable television special dedicated to his decision three months ago: He was going to Clemson....

    Ray Ray McCloud III poses with family friend Kamari Williams, 5, during signing day at Sickles High. He is headed to Clemson.
  4. District girls basketball: Wiregrass Ranch thrives on defense


    TAMPA — Wiregrass Ranch junior guard Trakyra Kidd picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of Wednesday's Class 7A-8 district semifinal against Steinbrenner.

    It didn't matter.

    Kidd stayed right there in the hip pocket of whichever Warrior player had the ball. Face to face. Feet moving. Arms flashing like pistons.

    "Defense," Kidd said, "is my favorite part of the game."...

    Wiregrass Ranch’s Trakyra Kidd, who was a menace on defense for the Bulls, takes the ball down the court.
  5. 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.
  6. 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....

  7. 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....

  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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]
  11. 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....

    Plant running back Patrick Brooks runs past Bloomingdale’s Tarick Barnes in the first half. Brooks had just 2 yards rushing through three quarters but 142 in the fourth.
  12. 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.
  13. 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."...

  14. 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.
  15. 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....

    Brian Turner