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  1. Football: Armwood 40, Gainesville 20


    SEFFNER — Armwood has been no stranger to the state final four during the past decade, and usually, the defense has gotten the Hawks there. But as the team kneeled before Sean Callahan in the end zone after Armwood's 40-20 Class 6A region final win against Gainesville on Friday, the veteran coach couldn't help but acknowledge the new unit reigning supreme at Lyle Flagg Field.

    "In the past the defense has been the heart of our team," quarterback Darrian McNeal said. "But this year, we have heart on the offense, too."...

    Armwood's Jerome Ford puts a big hit on Gainesville's Tyrik Baker on a kick return during a region final football game between Gainesville and Armwood at Armwood High in Seffner, Fla., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015.
  2. Football: Green Cove Springs Clay 40, Nature Coast 28


    GREEN COVE SPRINGS — For 12 games leading up to Friday night's Class 5A region final against Clay, Nature Coast's DeShawn Smith was the best player on the field. In most cases, it wasn't even close.

    But on this night, Blue Devils' running back Bilal Ally stole the spotlight.

    Ally rushed for 322 yards on 52 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead Clay to a 40-28 win. Smith, on the other hand, was "held" to 116 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving). It was his lowest rushing total in a game this season....

    Snap goes over the head of Nature Coast's Deshawn Smith (4) against Clay during the first half of high school Class 5A Regional Final football action at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, Fla., Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. (Gary Lloyd McCullough, Special to the Times)
  3. Football: Delray Beach American Heritage 31, Clearwater Central Catholic 24


    DELRAY BEACH — Few people in South Florida thought Clearwater Central Catholic could beat Delray Beach American Heritage in the Class 3A state semifinals.

    The Stallions, after all, won last year's meeting 63-13 and were defending state finalists. American Heritage was supposed to be too fast, those on social media sites predicted. Too explosive. Too much.

    But the Marauders insisted this was a different team. Last year, they were missing seven key starters, including CJ Cotman. They were more balanced and not dealing with serious injuries this time....

    Clearwater quarterback Jakob Parks (12) hands off to C.J. Cotman (21) during the Class 3A state football semifinal between American Heritage (9-2) vs. Clearwater Central Catholic (12-0) at American Heritage in Delray Beach, Fla.  (Brianna Soukup / Palm Beach Post)
  4. Saturday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio


    F1: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying8 a.m.CNBC
    Super Welterweights: Charlo vs. Campfort3 p.m.Ch. 8
    Heavyweights: Klitschko vs. Fury4:30 p.m.HBO
    Middleweights: DeGale vs. Bute11 p.m.Showtime
    College basketball
    Bryant at GeorgetownnoonFS2
    Souther Ill.-Edwardsville at Butler5 p.m.FS2
    Emerald Coast Classic, final: Virginia Tech or Iowa State vs. UAB or Illinois7 p.m.CBSSN
    Georgia at Seton Hall7:30 p.m.FS1
    Cleveland State at Maryland7:30 p.m.Big Ten
    Western Illinois at Creighton8 p.m.FS2
    Great Alaska Shootout, final: Toledo or Loyola-Chicago vs. Middle Tenn. or NC-Asheville12:30 a.m.CBSSN
    College football
    Ohio State at MichigannoonCh. 28; 620-AM
    Clemson at South CarolinanoonESPN
    Georgia at Georgia TechnoonESPN2
    Louisville at KentuckynoonSEC
    Virginia Tech at VirginianoonESPNU
    SMU at MemphisnoonESPNews
    Iowa State at West VirginianoonFS1
    Florida Atlantic at Old DominionnoonCh. 38
    Southern Miss at Louisiana TechnoonFSF
    Cincinnati at East CarolinanoonCBSSN
    Indiana at PurduenoonBig Ten
    Duke at Wake Forest12:30Ch. 44
    Boston College at Syracuse12:30Fox Sun
    Alabama at Auburn3:30Ch. 10; 1040-AM
    North Carolina at N.C. State3:30Ch. 28
    Penn State at Michigan State3:30ESPN
    UCLA at USC3:30ESPN2
    Northwestern at Illinois3:30ESPNU
    UTEP at North Texas3:30FSF
    BYU at Utah State3:30CBSSN
    Wisconsin at Minnesota3:30Big Ten
    Vanderbilt at Tennessee4SEC
    Kansas State at Kansas4FS1
    Southern at Grambling State6NBCSN
    Connecticut at Temple7ESPNU
    Mississippi at Mississippi State7:15ESPN2
    Florida State at Florida7:30ESPN; 620-AM; 1010-AM
    Notre Dame at Stanford7:30Ch. 13
    Texas A&M at LSU7:30SEC; 1250-AM
    Oklahoma at Oklahoma State8Ch. 28
    Colorado State at Fresno State9CBSSN
    Arizona State at Cal10FS1
    Air Force at New Mexico10:15ESPNU
    Nevada at San Diego State10:45ESPN2
    College volleyball, conference final
    Big East: Villanova vs. Creighton2 p.m.FS2
    PGA Europe: Dunhill Links Championship5:30 a.m.Golf
    PGA Australia: Australian Open8 p.m.Golf
    Nuggets at Mavericks8:30 p.m.NBA
    Islanders at Lightning7 p.m.Fox Sun; 970-AM
    Capitols at Maple Leafs7 p.m.NBCSN
    Aspen Winternational3:30 p.m.NBSN
    German: Hetha Berlin at Bayern Munich9:30 a.m.FS1
    German: Borussia Monchengladbach at Hoffenheim9:30 a.m.FS2
    EPL: Southampton at Manchester City10 a.m.NBCSN
    EPL: Manchester United at Leicester City12:30 p.m.Ch. 8
    Mexican: Tigres at Chiapas6:45 p.m.Univision

  5. Photo gallery: Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation’s annual Holiday Lights in the Gardens event


    Times staff photographer Jim Damaske got a sneak peek on Monday at the Florida Botanical Gardens holiday lights display, which opens to the public starting today. Here are some photos of what you can expect to see.

    Click here for more info on this annual event.


    A Don Juan rose blooms in front of a display of lights in the Florida Botanical Gardens holiday lights display.
  6. Football playoff schedule


    Playoff slate

    State semifinals

    All games 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission $9

    Class 6A

    • Cantonment Tate at Armwood

    Class 5A

    • Orlando Bishop Moore at Jesuit

    State final

    At the Citrus Bowl, Orlando. Admission $12; parking $10

    Class 2A

    • Cambridge Christian vs. Jacksonville University Christian, 1:07 p.m. Friday...

  7. Mystery over Tyler Johnson's early exit

    Lightning Strikes

    WASHINGTON — The frustrating season for C Tyler Johnson continues.

    Johnson left the Lightning's 4-2 loss to the Capitals on Friday for undisclosed reasons after playing one shift, the opening 48 seconds. Johnson had just returned to the lineup Wednesday against the Kings after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

    "That's tough," coach Jon Cooper said, "to get 48 seconds out of him."...

    Lightning center Tyler Johnson scores against the Kings on Wednesday in his return from an upper-body injury. He leaves Friday’s loss to the Capitals after one shift.
  8. Two pedestrians killed in separate Pinellas County crashes


    The Thanksgiving weekend got off to a deadly start for pedestrians in Pinellas County.

    Two people were killed in unrelated crashes, one on Thanksgiving Day, the other early Friday. The second crash resulted in the arrest of a woman who authorities say left the scene.

    In the first incident, Paul Richard Miller, 58, of Madeira Beach was walking home about 7 p.m. Thursday after spending Thanksgiving with family when he was struck by a Jeep Liberty in the 134th block of Gulf Boulevard. ...

    Christina M. Bayes is charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death.
  9. Photo gallery: Pope Francis visits Africa


    The pope got a taste of Kenyan slum life on Friday, writes Jeffrey Gettleman for the New York Times

    He stepped out of his car on a muddy street and walked slowly past hundreds of poor children who live in shanties. He heard stories of gangs preying on women, of people dying from homemade alcohol and of sinister plots by businessmen to flood children out of their schools and steal land....

    A man wears his traditional tribal clothing as he waits for the arrival of Pope Francis during his visit to Munyonyo, Uganda, on Friday.
  10. Lightning 3-game win streak ends vs. Caps

    Lightning Strikes

    WASHINGTON — The Lightning was feeling good about itself, having won three straight heading into Friday's game in the nation's capital.

    Maybe too good.

    In a measuring-stick game against one of the Eastern Conference's top teams, the Lightning got stuffed like Thanksgiving turkeys in an admittedly embarrassing 4-2 loss to the Capitals at the Verizon Center.

    "We (laid) an egg," center Brian Boyle said....

    Capitals left wing Jason Chimera, right, get congratulations from the bench after his second-period goal for a 2-0 lead as Lightning defensemen Braydon Coburn (55) and Anton Stralman skate away.
  11. Bucs' injury situation in 'good shape'


    TAMPA — DE George Johnson and S Keith Tandy were ruled out for the Bucs' game Sunday in Indianapolis, and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins still hasn't been cleared for contact, making it unlikely he will play.

    Johnson will miss a second straight game with a calf injury. Tandy has a concussion.

    "We're in good shape," coach Lovie Smith said Friday. "We have (only) a couple of guys out. This time of year, that's a good thing."...

    Bucs defensive end George Johnson, front, is expected to miss a second straight game with a calf injury.
  12. Rays release 2016 spring training schedule

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays aren't sure where they will wrap up spring training, given the potential for a late-March trip to Cuba, but they will start exhibition play March 2 in Port Charlotte against new manager Dusty Baker's Nationals.

    The Rays on Friday released their 29-game spring schedule that, subject to change, includes 15 games at the Charlotte Sports Park and three road games in the Tampa Bay area — at Dunedin (Blue Jays, March 13, split squad); Clearwater (Phillies, March 17); and Tampa (Yankees, March 24)....

  13. Lightning-Islanders preview

    Lightning Strikes


    Lightning vs. Islanders

    When/where: 7 p.m., Amalie Arena

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 970-AM

    Key stats: As is the Lightning, the Islanders are playing the back end of back-to-back games, following a game against the Panthers on Friday in Sunrise. … New York entered Friday having lost two of its past three, both to the Canadiens. … The Islanders are led by C John Tavares, who had 10 goals and 10 assists entering Friday. … New York's power play ranked 24th at 15 percent. … Lightning G Ben Bishop, expected to start, has won his past three starts, allowing two goals. He has a 1.30 goals-against average since Nov. 4, which was the best in the league. … Tampa Bay is 0-1-1 in second games of back-to-backs this season. … The Lightning lost two of three meetings between the teams last season, winning the game at home Nov. 15, 2014....

  14. Cameron Brate proves smart choice for Bucs at tight end


    TAMPA — When Bucs tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins injured a shoulder in Week 2 against the Saints, the player who is best filling the void left by his extended absence was in street clothes on the other sideline.

    Harvard graduate Cameron Brate spent much of his rookie year on the Bucs' practice squad last season, catching a single pass for 17 yards. This year he again missed Tampa Bay's final cuts out of training camp, and a week later, he was released from the practice squad and signed to the same role by New Orleans....

    Cameron Brate, middle, keeps the ball close after catching a 4-yard touchdown pass against the Eagles on Sunday.
  15. Clearwater hires private eye to crack down on short-term rentals

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — He sounded like just another tourist calling to rent a waterfront vacation home.

    But really, this was good old fashioned detective work.

    Constantine Janus, private investigator, had been surveilling this three-bedroom house in Island Estates for days. He had crept by twice already to snap photos of the out-of-state cars in the driveway.

    Now with a phone call posing as potential customer, he was about to help his client — the city of Clearwater — crack down on one of the area's most problematic black markets....

    Constantine Janus is a private investigator hired by Clearwater to spy on homeowners illegally renting their houses short-term.