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ATOP THE STATE

It might not have seemed significant on the surface, but Jacksonville Trinity Christian's loss last week to Miami Pace has shined the spotlight on Armwood. Trinity Christian entered with the state's longest active winning streak at 27 games. Now Armwood, which has won 18 straight after beating rival Jefferson 54-7, holds the honor.

"Maybe it's just the way we do things, but it's really not that big a deal for us right now," Hawks coach Sean Callahan said. "The thing we always say is, "Just win this coming Friday night.' "

It's working.

Armwood's last loss was in the second round of the 2002 playoffs. The Hawks, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A and the defending state champs, have outscored opponents this season 161-26. Few teams in Florida likely have as much talent, but Callahan said he thinks the squad's focus has just as much to do with the streak.

"They don't get caught up in all the frilly stuff," the coach said. "It's just a group that's a little bit different. Our kids really know how to flip the switch on when they have to."

Armwood has excelled despite missing several key athletes because of injuries. Most of are expected to return in the coming weeks, which should boost an already powerful lineup.

ARMED AND READY: Standout Armwood quarterback Jameel Williams, one of the area's top players, missed Friday's game against Jefferson with a sprained ankle. No problem.

All backup Justin Hickman, a sophomore, did in his first regular-season start was pass for 136 yards and a touchdown, run the offense well and even look good carrying the ball. Hickman, like a veteran QB, was quick to credit his teammates, most notably running back Kalvin Bailey, who rushed for 170 yards.

"I felt comfortable after our first play (a 34-yard run by Bailey)," Hickman said. "Kalvin is my sparkplug."

Williams' injury is not considered serious.

STATE'S LONGEST

WINNING STREAKS

52 _ Lake Butler Union County 1994-97

47 _ Belle Glade Glades Central 1998-01

42 _ Baker 1983-86

36 _ Dunnellon 1977-80

CURRENT

18 _ Armwood 2003-04

+_Armwood's streak is the county's longest since the current state playoff system began in 1963.

FROM GUY TOPH TO . . .

After a 163-yard, two touchdown performance against Gaither in the season's opening week, some thought Alonso's 250-pound running back Rob Williams was the heir to John Forbes, Hillsborough County's leading rusher last year and winner of the Guy Toph award, given each year to the county's top player.

By Week 4, however, Williams was off the team.

Williams quit after last week's loss to Freedom which he sat out due to disciplinary measures for missing practice.

"One player doesn't make a team, we'll press on without him," Ravens coach Mike Heldt said. "We'll find a way to get it done."

One thing appears certain: it won't be easy.

Heading into this season Alonso appeared to have a logjam in the backfield with three running backs who could possibly start. But Antwan Watson, Williams' brother, will miss the season due to grades, and backup Michael Forbes, little brother of John, tore his ACL.

Now freshman Carlos Anderson, who wasn't even on the varsity roster opening week, is thrust into the starting role. In his first start against Freedom, a 23-13 loss, Anderson rushed 17 times for 33 yards.

QUOTABLE

"When they downed their punt on our 1-yard line, all we wanted to do was run a quarterback sneak for some breathing room. They bunched up at the line of scrimmage hoping to get a safety off us. But once I got past the linebacker, it was clear sailing all the way to the end zone."

_ MIKE PEREA, Temple Heights quarterback on his 99-yard touchdown run against Indian Rocks Christian. Indian Rocks still won 21-14.

_ Compiled by Times staff writers Keith Niebuhr and Scott Purks and correspondents Jim Reese and David Norrie.

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