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TOP 10

Times preps columnist John C. Cotey's Top 10 is back, better than ever, with a special football kickoff edition:

1. Tampa Bay Tech

The Titans, after years of futility, are looking like state contenders all of a sudden. A dramatic come-from-behind victory over defending Class 4A champ Plant is the signature moment for coach C.C. Culpepper, who seems to be doing the impossible.

2. Jefferson

Speaking of signature wins, let's hear it for the Dragons, who got a clutch performance from junior quarterback Quentin Williams to beat Hillsborough 16-15. The high hopes at Jefferson look like they might be justified.

3. 40-6

Possibly the two best teams in Pinellas County, Largo and Lakewood, kicked off the 2009 season with nearly identical victories: slow start, big finish, 40-6 score on back-to-back nights.

4. Ricky Trinidad

The Mitchell running back is delivering a lot more punch these days than, say, Felix Trinidad, KO-ing River Ridge with two 70-yard-plus TD runs, and a kickoff return for 94 more yards.

5. Alex Skinner

The Canadian transfer threw four touchdown passes for Largo. A pretty nice debut, eh?

6. New coaches

Hey, Jeremy Shobe (Wiregrass Ranch), Brian Wachtel (Mitchell), Mark Lee (Nature Coast), Matt Kitchie (Land O'Lakes), Kenny Crawford (Pinellas Park), James Harrell (Freedom) and Floyd Graham (Steinbrenner) - nice job winning your debuts. It's all downhill from here.

7. Patrick Kronk

The big, big, biiiiig Land O'Lakes lineman scored a touchdown Friday on a short run, making him the Tampa Bay leader in pounds (312) per touchdown.

8. Tony Dungy

The former Bucs coach and Super Bowl winner for Indianapolis did a cameo on the Times' magnificent football show (you know, the one with the hunky hosts), Friday Night Rewind, and needed all of one take to not only master his lines, but ad lib them as well. Bravo, Coach.

9. Phillip Ely

Hurry back.


Plant football

10. Football-palooza

A Thursday night win for Largo. A full schedule on Friday. And Saturday, thanks to some faulty lights Friday night in Spring Hill, a Saturday morning tilt and overtime victory for Springstead.