What we learned
1. Hank McCloud is Tampa Catholic's first-half MVP: The running back has played in the shadows of two of the nation's top offensive recruits - QB Christian Green and OT Chaz Green - but McCloud is the biggest reason the Crusaders are 5-0. Tampa Catholic has many weapons, Christian and Chaz, vertical threat QB/WR D.J. Williams and hard-nosed FB Hunter Joyer (creating a defensive coordinator's nightmare). But McCloud has been the go-to guy all season. Take Friday's 49-13 win over CCC, when McCloud ran for two touchdowns and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score.
2. Speaking of first-half MVPs ... Mike Mirabella may have laid claim to that honor for Plant. The senior linebacker was his usual disruptive self Friday against Spoto, which managed 18 first-half yards and was rendered one-dimensional. Mirabella entered that game as Plant's top tackler (47). We're pretty sure he exited it that way also. "Mike Mirabella didn't play in that first game (a preseason loss to Manatee)," coach Bob Weiner noted. "He's played since then, and I don't know if there's a better defensive player in the state over the last three years."
3. Robinson can rebound: The Knights were flying high before falling to Newsome last week. A young team such as Robinson could have stumbled after that loss, but the Knights dominated St. Petersburg Catholic to make District 2A-5 theirs to win. Their remaining district opponents - Lennard, Steinbrenner and Strawberry Crest - have one combined district win, so a focused Robinson team can head into Week 10 with its first district crown in 32 years and a date with Plant for South Tampa supremacy.
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Bobby Eveld, QB, Jesuit: A repeat game ball winner, Eveld tossed a career-high four touchdown passes in a 63-0 win over Strawberry Crest. He has 13 touchdown passes this season, tied for second most in Hillsborough County (Jefferson's Quentin Williams has 15, Hillsborough's Tarean Austin also has 13).
Blake Rice, QB, Robinson: Threw two of this three touchdown passes in the first quarter, helping the Knights run out to a 21-0 lead in a 33-7 win over St. Petersburg Catholic.
Ronnie Johnson, RB, Riverview: In a 28-20 win over rival East Bay, Johnson carried the load for the Sharks, rushing for 176 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.
T.J. Glover, RB, Plant: The Panthers senior showed again how multidimensional he is, accumulating 126 yards total offense, including 71 yards receiving on four catches.
Chris Nahat, WR, Sickles: A week after making the biggest defensive play of the season, he turned in a fantastic performance on offense, making 10 catches for 185 yards, one TD.
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Numbers of the day
35.25 After its 63-0 loss to Jesuit, Strawberry Crest's average margin of defeat in its four varsity losses. The first-year Chargers (0-4), who are playing a mixed varsity-junior varsity schedule, will have their best chance to win in next week's rematch against fellow newbie Steinbrenner. The Warriors won 16-8 in Week 1.
638 Receiving yards for Hillsborough WR Charles Lovett, left, making him the bay area's leading receiver. The talented junior took advantage of his opportunities in the Terriers' 49-0 win over Blake, catching touchdown passes of 55 and 65 yards. He totaled three catches for 153 yards.
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This week's games to watch
Spoto (6-1, 2-0) at Jefferson (4-1, 2-0). Quite possibly the game of the year in Class 3A, District 8. A Jefferson win essentially wraps up the district title for the Dragons, while Spoto assumes the driver's seat with a triumph.
Hillsborough (5-1, 1-0) at Armwood (5-1, 1-0). The de facto Class 4A, District 9 title game. Could the Hawks lose twice in three home games?
Freedom (3-2, 0-1) at Wharton (2-4, 1-0). While determining New Tampa supremacy, it could be for a 5A-7 playoff spot also.
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"With the weapons we have on offense and if we keep getting better on defense and people don't get caught up in the stats, we can be awfully dangerous." -Bob Henriquez, Tampa Catholic coach, after the Crusaders' 49-13 win over rival CCC
"When their defensive line re-establishes the line of scrimmage in our backfield, it's tough to take three steps and throw. Five steps might have put the kid in the hospital." -Dale Caparaso, Spoto coach, whose team attempted only five passes (completing two) against Plant