ST. PETERSBURG — So far this season St. Petersburg has used a simple formula to frustrate opponents. Apply stifling fullcourt defense, convert turnovers into layups and wear teams out with depth.
That strategy was on display Thursday night against Northeast. And like seven previous games, it worked like a charm.
The Green Devils jumped on the Vikings early and never let up in a 61-29 win. Jordan Berenbaum led St. Petersburg (8-0) with 18 points, but she also got help. Overall, 10 Green Devils scored, including 11 points from Victoria Uhatafe and eight from Angel Brown....
Ryan Davis heard the chatter.
Since the day he decided to transfer from Northeast back to Lakewood, his zoned school, Davis knew what he was getting into. The Spartans had skill players all over the field and plenty of size on the offensive and defensive lines.
What Lakewood didn't have after the graduation of Tracy Johnson was a bona fide No. 1 quarterback.
He had led Northeast to the playoffs as a sophomore. He is elusive, with a strong arm, and had athletes galore to catch his passes. Look out, Class 5A, everyone else is playing for second....
BUSHNELL — Lakewood coach Cory Moore gathered his team near the north end zone of South Sumter's once-packed stadium and shouted a rhetorical question: "Lakewood in the state semifinals?" he said.
The Spartans continued to make history Friday night with a 27-21 win over previously undefeated South Sumter in a Class 5A region semifinal. Lakewood (10-3) is in a state semifinal for the first time....
Indian Rocks Christian is playing football over Thanksgiving break for the first time in school history. And most of the credit goes to a trio of running backs that has made life miserable for opposing defenses.
The Golden Eagles have won nine straight games thanks mainly to a running attack that has gained 3,347 total yards. Theo Anderson has gained an even 1,000 yards and scored 19 touchdowns. Zeke McGaughy has 911 yards and nine touchdowns, and Damian King has 823 yards and 11 touchdowns. ...
Early in Lakewood's season, when the offense was trying to find a rhythm, the Spartans' defense was steady. In the middle of the season, when the offense was scoring in bunches, the defense stayed consistent. • In last week's region semifinal against Tarpon Springs, with the offense sputtering early, the defense held the Spongers to six first-half points. • Through all of the offense's inconsistencies, Lakewood's defense has not wavered. • The Spartans have given up only 12 points per game heading into Friday's Class 5A region final against South Sumter. • "The offense is catching up with the defense," coach Cory Moore said. "The offense is all about timing and coming together. The defense, they hit people. They hold us together. They've put us in good situations this season. • "You're not going to score too many points on those guys. Our defense is unbelievable."...
ST. PETERSBURG — Things were not going as planned for Lakewood as it jogged to the locker room at halftime of Friday's Class 5A region semifinal against Tarpon Springs. The Spartans were supposed to be up comfortably against a team it blew out only a few weeks ago.
Instead, they nursed a two-point lead and wasted a scoring chance with 13 seconds left. Given a chance to calm down, Lakewood returned to form and defeated the Spongers 30-9 to reach its first-ever region final....
PINELLAS PARK — Rashaan Watson likes life on the island.
That's where the Pinellas Park junior defensive back spends most of his time during games. Every week, Watson has the assignment of covering an opponent's best receiver.
Spread out wide. One-on-one. All by themselves.
"I like the challenge," Watson said. "I like being out there one-on-one. It's just you and him, and you have to shut him down."...
INDIAN ROCKS — After spending last season as an independent, Admiral Farragut proved Thursday afternoon that it will be a factor in Class 3A, District 9 this season. Led by 17 points from center Charlisa Jenkins and 13 from guard Zariyah Daniels, the Blue Jackets routed host Indian Rocks Christian 61-38.
AFA (4-2) completed a week of two straight district wins, including one over St. Petersburg Catholic on Tuesday. It makes up for the week before, when the Blue Jackets suffered two lopsided losses....
EAST LAKE — Tuesday night provided a glimpse of things to come in Class 5A, District 7, and it appears East Lake's boys and girls teams will be the ones to catch. Both pulled away in the second half to sweep Plant and remain undefeated in district play.
East Lake's girls won 3-1 thanks to two goals by Emily Cady. The boys team won 2-1 on two second-half goals by Josh Page.
The Plant boys led 1-0 at halftime thanks to a penalty kick goal by Zach Thompson. The Panthers controlled play in the first half, but East Lake (5-0) took over in the second....
LARGO — Pinned on his own 5-yard line and trailing by five early in the fourth quarter Friday night, Jefferson quarterback Deiondre Porter told his team it was time to get going.
The Dragons sputtered through most of the first three quarters in their Class 6A region quarterfinal against Largo, and Porter had had enough.
He ripped off runs of 10, 28 and 25 yards, threw a 14-yard pass and ended the eight-play, 95-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. It gave Jefferson its first lead of the game, and the Dragons never looked back in a 25-17 win over the Packers....
11/12/13 Volleyball Preps
KISSIMMEE — For the second straight season, Clearwater Central Catholic left Silver Spurs Arena with more questions than answers.
What if a few of the Marauders' blocks had landed on the other side of the net? What if a few spikes had landed inside the line? What if just a couple kill attempts cleared the net?
Those little things haunted them on another bus ride back to Clearwater after a 25-20, 21-25, 24-26, 25-15, 15-12 loss to Orlando First Academy in the Class 3A state semifinal Tuesday afternoon. First Academy (20-9) faces Miami Westminster in today's final. The Royals have won five straight state titles....
11/11/13 Volleyball Preps
Welcome to this year's Class 3A state volleyball tournament, same as last year's tournament. Clearwater Central Catholic will play Orlando First Academy in one semifinal, while Miami Westminster Christian plays Gainesville St. Francis in the other.
It is the same four schools that played in last year's semifinal. First Academy won its fifth straight championship while the Marauders were eliminated in the semifinals by St. Francis. ...
11/09/13 Volleyball Preps
CLEARWATER — Tied at two games apiece against Fort Myers Evangelical Christian, Clearwater Central Catholic volleyball coach Stephen Shepherd had a simple fifth-game strategy.
"I told them we're going to swing to win," Shepherd said. "If you guys swing to win and it's out or long, so be it. I don't want to play it safe. Let's play to win."
The strategy worked. CCC started quickly in the decisive game and rolled in a 16-25, 25-19, 25-23, 22-25, 15-11 win Saturday in a Class 3A region final. The Marauders (25-5) will play Orlando First Academy in Tuesday's state semifinal in Kissimmee....
ST. PETERSBURG — For the first time in its 27-year history, East Lake has finished a regular season undefeated.
The Eagles' 10th win was a convincing 54-0 blowout of St. Petersburg on Friday in a game decided by halftime.
East Lake outgained the Green Devils 284-68. St. Petersburg (6-4) only crossed the 50-yard line twice, earned three first downs (one by penalty) and trailed 37-0 at the half....
ST. PETERSBURG — The third annual Mayor's Cup between Lakewood and Northeast was supposed to be over by halftime. The Spartans had planned to have such a big lead that they could rest the starters for next week's playoff game against Hudson.
Lakewood had to work harder than expected Thursday. Nursing a two-touchdown lead at the half, the Spartans finally got going in the second half and pulled away from Northeast, 51-7....