Rodney Page, Times Staff Writer

Rodney Page

Rodney Page covers golf and community sports. He has worked at the Times since 1996.

Phone: (727) 893-8810

E-mail: page@tampabay.com

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  1. Sunday morning quarterback

    Footballpreps

    Team of the week

    River Ridge: Royal Knights coach Ryan Benjamin did not hide the fact that a win over Hudson would mean the school's first playoff berth since 1998. His team responded with a decisive 46-14 win over Hudson. The win secures a district championship for a team that was 3-7 last season. "Our record didn't really show it, but we were much better than 3-7 last year," Benjamin said. "It's just experience this year. Losing some close games last year actually helped us this year. Now we are winning those close games. We know how to win now."...

    Tampa Bay Tech's Deon Cain during practice at Tampa Bay Technical High School in Tampa on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013.
  2. Pinellas Game of the Week: Lakewood 49, Tarpon Springs 29

    Footballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood locked up first place in Class 5A, District 8 with a balanced 49-29 win over Tarpon Springs on Friday.

    The Spartans ground out 214 yards rushing and got 169 passing yards from quarterback Ryan Davis to finish district play 4-0.

    Tarpon Springs (5-3, 2-1) needs a win over Boca Ciega next Friday to secure the second playoff spot.

    "Tarpon is a really, really good football team, but tonight was our night,'' Lakewood coach Cory Moore said. "Our big beef boys came together tonight. We wanted to make (Tarpon) work 60 seconds of every minute. We do that, we should be on top.''...

    Lakewood’s Romello Presley high-steps it into the end zone in the second quarter for one of his two touchdowns in the game.
  3. District volleyball:

    Volleyball Preps

    PINELLAS PARK — Down 2-0 and trailing 24-21 in the third game against East Lake, it looked as if Seminole would have to settle for runnerup in Class 7A, District 9. Then the Warhawks won a point. Then another. And another until they surged their way back for a 26-24 win.

    Seminole seized the momentum, won Games 4 and 5 and defeated the Eagles 22-25, 15-25, 26-24, 25-21, 15-8. It is Seminole's first district championship since 2003....

    Samantha Schlesman, right, of Seminole celebrates with her teammates during the Class 7A, District 9 final. The Warhawks erased a 2-0 deficit against East Lake and claimed their first district title since 2003.
  4. District volleyball: East Lake, Seminole take care of business

    Volleyball Preps

    PINELLAS PARK — The Class 7A, District 9 tournament did nothing to change what the regular season already proved. No. 1 seed Seminole and No. 2 East Lake are the top teams in the district after both advanced to tonight's final.

    East Lake defeated No. 3 Clearwater in straight sets, 25-12, 25-17, 25-19 in the first semifinal. Seminole survived a slow start to get past No. 4 Northeast 23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-14....

  5. Three questions with Seminole High golfer Anthony DeRosa

    Preps

    Seminole High School junior Anthony DeRosa picked a good time to play his best round of golf. DeRosa withstood windy conditions and tough pin placements at Feather Sound Country Club on Monday to shoot 2-over 74 in the Class 3A, Region 4 tournament. He tied St. Petersburg's Blake Dyer for individual medalist honors, then defeated Dyer in a two-hole playoff when he parred the par-4 second hole. Due to his low round, DeRosa earned a spot in the Class 3A state tournament Nov. 4-5 at Deer Island Golf and Lake Club in Tavares. It will be his first state tournament appearance....

    Rodney Page | Times
  6. Lakewood receiver Adrian Adams is the QB's favorite target

    Footballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG

    There was no doubt when the season started that Lakewood High School's offense would revolve around senior quarterback Ryan Davis. Davis is one of the flashiest quarterbacks in the area, with an ability to turn a near sack into a 20-yard run.

    But the big question for the Spartans (5-3, 3-0) was who would catch Davis' passes? Davis completed 162 throws last season, 160 to seniors. Of his 2,294 passing yards, 2,248 were to players who graduated. ...

    Lakewood High receiver Adrian Adams makes a leaping catch at practice Monday at the school.
  7. Sunday Morning Quarterback

    Footballpreps

    Team of the week

    Leto. The Falcons won their first game (on the field) since 2009. Leto was credited with a forfeit win over Armwood in 2011, but the 18-15 win over Middleton on Friday was much sweeter. The win snaps a 32-game losing streak, and of course it wasn't easy. Leto led 18-7 with five minutes to play, but a fumble in Middleton territory turned into a touchdown and a two-point conversion made it an 18-15 lead. When asked if he had any fingernails left, Leto coach Matt Kitchie said, "No."...

    BRYAN THOMAS | Times (Tampa, May 20, 2011) On Friday, May 20, 2011, Leto's new coach, Matt Kitchie, speaks to his players following a spring game against Plant in the Jamboree at Jefferson.  Leto lost to Plant by a score of 44-0.
  8. Football: Venice 5, Largo 3

    Footballpreps

    LARGO — Standing just outside the south end zone, where just minutes earlier things went so wrong for Largo, coach Marcus Paschal addressed his team. His Packers lost 5-3 to Class 6A, District 7 opponent Venice on a blocked punt in the corner of that end zone.

    "We're so close, but we're so far," Paschal said as his players hung their heads.

    A defensive game throughout, the deciding play came on special teams. Largo took over on its own 13-yard line with just over five minutes to play and the score tied 3-all. A run up the middle gained zero yards. Largo quarterback Donavan Hale threw an incomplete pass. Then on third down, Hale was sacked on his own 4-yard line....

  9. Tampa Bay district volleyball preview

    Footballpreps

    Tampa Bay is rich with volleyball talent this season, and now that the regular season is coming to a close, the matches that matter most are up ahead for teams looking to make a playoff run. Before the postseason begins, though, teams will have to make it out of next week's district tournaments, which for some, could be easier said than done. Here's a look at what those tournaments have to offer, who has the potential to stand out and which teams have the best shot of taking home a state championship....

    Palm Harbor U.’s Abby Walker, left, sets up her teammates while Mitchell’s Kayla Widera dares opponents to come at her.
  10. Three questions with Pinellas Park golfer Eric Costa

    Preps

    Pinellas Park High School senior Eric Costa was not groomed to play golf at an early age. He did not grow up spending his days at the local country club. He only discovered golf during his freshman year, when he decided to go out for the varsity team. At his first district tournament, Costa shot 103 at Bardmoor Country Club. He was fine with playing golf part time, but during his sophomore year he got cut from the basketball team. Unable to play his favorite sport, he decided to focus on the greens. The results have been remarkable. Costa shot 2-over 73 at the Class 3A-12 district tournament at Seminole Lake Country Club on Monday — tied for second-lowest score at the windy tournament. He qualified for the region tournament Monday at Feather Sound....

    Senior Eric Costa has been playing golf for four years and is headed to regionals.
  11. Sunday Morning Quarterback

    Footballpreps

    SMQ team of the week

    Zephyrhills: The first half of the Bulldogs' season has been characterized by blowout wins in which they piled on the points. That was not the case Friday night against Nature Coast. In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs trailed 14-7 in a key Class 5A, District 6 game. Zephyrhills rallied, scoring 10 points down the stretch, including a 33-yard field goal by Zach Gleaton with 33 seconds remaining, for a 17-14 victory. The Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1) have the edge for at least a runnerup spot in the playoffs. More important they found a way to win a close game, something they had trouble with last season. Zephyrhills dropped its final two games in 2013, including a 24-16 loss to rival Pasco that knocked the Bulldogs out of playoff contention....

    TP_34330_ALLE_football  (09/01/2011 ZEPHYRHILLS) Second year head football coach Reggie Roberts coaches one of his players during football practice in Zephyrhills on Wednesday evening.  [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR., Times]
  12. Football: Clearwater Central Catholic 50, Jacksonville University Christian 0

    Footballpreps

    CLEARWATER — It was an all too familiar scene. Clearwater Central Catholic senior quarterback Jeff Smith drops back to pass, but before he can find an open receiver he finds a 10 foot hole created by his offensive line.

    Smith darts through the hole and into the secondary, and when Smith is there it's time for the cheerleaders to do push-ups because he's going to score.

    On Friday night the victim was Jacksonville University Christian. Smith rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns and added 225 yards passing and two scores to lead the Marauders to a 50-0 rout of the Christians....

  13. District golf: East Lake boys poised for postseason run

    Preps

    Tyler Dierwechter felt bad. After shooting 75 in last year's district tournament to help the East Lake High boys golf team advance to regionals, he was unable to play in the next round due to a family cruise.

    "It's something we do every year and last year (regionals) were moved up for some reason,'' Dierwechter said. "I hated that I couldn't be there.''

    Without its top player, East Lake didn't advance to the state tournament. This year, Dierwechter isn't going anywhere. The senior plans to help the Eagles make state, and if their play lately is any indication, that's where they should end up. ...

    Tyler Dierwechter stands on the Swilcan Bridge at the St. Andrews Old Course in Scotland last year.
  14. Every district game 'must win' now for Zephyrhills

    Footballpreps

    The statistics do not jump off the screen.

    Zephyrhills rushes for 185 yards per game, pretty much average for teams across Florida. No one running back has eye-popping stats. Senior Jaylen Pickett leads the team with 404 yards and three touchdowns in five games.

    Yet the Bulldogs are 4-1 and have scored at least 45 points in each of those wins. Throw out a 45-10 loss two weeks ago to South Sumter — ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 5A — and Zephyrhills has beaten opponents by an average score of 48-12....

    Zephyrhills’ Lorine Parker is part of the Bulldogs’ balanced ground attack that has been the strength of the offense this season.
  15. Three questions with Clearwater Central Catholic OH Shea Hamilton

    Volleyball Preps

    Clearwater Central Catholic senior outside hitter Shea Hamilton has been a major contributor for the Marauders since her freshman year. Hamilton, who was last season's Tampa Bay Times player of the year, was recently named the C-M Cares Tournament's most valuable player after she helped CCC to a 5-0 record and the championship in Miami. Hamilton had 41 kills in the tournament and now has 219 for the season. ...

    Clearwater Central Catholic’s Shea Hamilton (4) spikes the ball between Calvary Christian’s Summer Shores’ arms during a Sept. 9 volleyball match at Calvary Christian.