1. Archive


King at Bloomingdale

Time and site: 7:30 p.m., Charlie Harris Stadium, 1700 E Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico.

Records: King 3-1, Bloomingdale 1-3.

Analysis: Since dropping its opener 32-10 to Plant City, King has given up just 13 points in three games, all victories, despite a secondary depleted by injuries. Lions cornerback Kirby Smith is out (broken ankle) and replacement Stanley Bradford missed last week and is questionable for tonight, as is Ashanti Webb on the other side. Bloomingdale has been outscored 104-44 this season, but its passing game, led by quarterback Chad Hermida and receiver Bobby Lentz, is ranked sixth in the county. The Bulls won last year's meeting 20-7.

Plant City at Chamberlain

Time and site: 7:30 p.m., Chamberlain Field, 9401 N Boulevard (at Busch Boulevard), Tampa.

Records: Plant City 3-1, Chamberlain 2-2.

Analysis: Plant City needs to rebound from last week's heartbreaking 21-16 loss at Lakeland. Quarterback Alan Kicklighter (56-of-118, 757 yards, 8 touchdowns, no interceptions) is the county's top passer by more than 330 yards and has the ability to rally the Raiders. Running back Edwin "Scooby" Washington was shut down last week (32 yards), but is fourth in the county in rushing (333). Chamberlain's defensive line gives away nearly 50 pounds a man to the Raiders. Chamberlain has lost two in a row because of a sputtering offense. Last week, the Chiefs' longest drive lasted five plays. Coach Billy Turner said Matt Clapp may start at quarterback tonight over Grant Plamondon. Each may play a half. Plant City has won the last two meetings.

East Bay at Gaither

Time and site: 7:30 p.m., Cowboy Stadium, 16200 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.

Records: Both teams are 1-3.

Analysis: When Clyde Jensen and Sauvallie Hagins went down with injuries, East Bay lost starters at four positions: quarterback, free safety (Jensen), split end and cornerback (Hagins). The Indians' fortunes changed from a 33-0 win over Lakewood to a 14-0 loss to Jefferson last week. Jensen (knee) is out indefinitely and Hagins (ankle) probably won't return until next week. Gaither sophomore Jose Blair is one of the county's top new players, rushing for 113 and 110 yards in his first two starts. Despite Buck Beisswanger, the county's No. 3 passer (34-of-79, 420 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions), Gaither has been held to seven points or less three times, but the Cowboys' size advantage and wing-T running game could pose problems for the Indians defense.

Hillsborough at Plant

Time and site: 7:30 p.m., Dad's Stadium, 2415 S Himes Ave., Tampa.

Records: Both teams are 3-1.

Analysis: Tampa's oldest rivalry has lost some of its luster since the days when it was played it on Thanksgiving Day, but both teams are talented and need momentum heading into a district game next week. Plant dominated Tampa Bay Tech in the rain last week, rolling up 294 yards on the ground with its wing-T. But the Panthers have allowed an average of 15 points a game and may be without defensive tackle John Stokes (knee) and strong safety Shawn Threadgill (leg) tonight. Hillsborough couldn't stop the wing-T last year and lost 35-14 to the Panthers. The Terriers stopped Gaither's wing-T last week and showed a more diversified offense in a 27-6 win, even though fullback Corey Durant scored all four Hillsborough touchdowns.

Tampa Bay Tech at Robinson

Time and site: 7:30 p.m., Jack Peters Stadium, 6311 S Lois Ave., Tampa.

Records: Tampa Bay Tech 0-4, Robinson 1-2.

Analysis: Tech showed improvement last week in a 19-6 loss to Plant, but still has averaged just three points a game. Edward Anderson (242 yards) is ninth among county rushers, but the passing game, under capable Cori Curtis, has yet to flourish (107 yards in four games). Robinson had last week off to bask in its first victory, 34-0 over St. Petersburg. The Knights had been outscored 40-0 in dropping their first two games. Robinson's running backs, Jarrett Daniel and Corey Simpson, can establish a running game if quarterback Joe Escalante keeps the defense honest.