Times’ super 7
1. Armwood (8-0, 7-0): Hawks coach Sean Callahan said top recruit Byron Cowart is finally coming into his own after recording a sack, fumble recovery and forced fumble against King. Look out, Chamberlain.
2. Plant (7-1, 4-0): The Panthers clinched their ninth straight district title, and looked good doing it. That loss to TBT is looking more and more like a fluke.
3. Sickles (7-1, 4-0): Josh Black and the Gryphons nearly recorded their second shutout of the year. Next up: A date with TBT with a chance to win the district title.
4. Tampa Catholic (7-1, 4-0): The Crusaders got their district title in commanding fashion: with a shutout win against Lakeland Christian. No wonder Tampa Catholic is so confident about its state title run.
5. Jefferson (7-1, 6-1): It wasn’t pretty, but Derrick Ingram and the Dragons survived perhaps Tampa Bay’s toughest district and are headed to the playoffs.
6. Tampa Bay Tech (6-2, 3-1): Three of the Titans’ last seven losses have come against Gaither ...by a combined 10 points.
7. Plant City (6-2, 2-1): Plant City makes its way back in the rankings after a couple rough weeks, thanks to a blowout win against a Strawberry Crest team ready to lock up the district. Raiders said think again.
Tweet of the night
Armwood Football @Armwood_Hawks: “Big win tonight! Great game by the defense!!! 28-0 on to the next step! Step 9! District of Death champions!”
Some things we didn’t see coming
1. Plant City’s blowout win: Strawberry Crest could have sealed up its first district title with a victory against Plant City, but the Raiders had other plans. The Plant City offense hit a rough patch a couple weeks ago, but Landon Galloway had a big night for the Raiders as they kept their district title dreams alive.
2. Spoto shutting out Middleton: The Tigers had started to click with an underrated offense, but Spoto dominated from the start. The Spartans are young but understood that their brutal schedule - losses to Wharton, Plant City and others - were all building up to the only game that mattered. So with Friday’s lone win, Spoto is likely bound for the playoffs.
3. Insanity in 7A-7: Gaither beating Tampa Bay Tech threw a wrench into the district standings, and now there are too many possible outcomes to count. Sickles controls its own destiny; the Gryphons can take the championship with a win against the Titans next week. But as we saw Friday, no team is going to give up its playoff spot without a fight.
4. Chamberlain scaring Jefferson: The loaded Dragons needed a 13-point fourth quarter to escape with a 28-24 victory over Chamberlain. The Chiefs’ ground game was strong enough to give Jefferson problems, but the Dragons recovered to clinch the runnerup spot in Class 6A, District 8.
Class 8A, District 6: Plant is the champion. Bloomingdale can clinch the No. 2 spot with a win over Wharton. If Wharton and Alonso both win, they’ll force a three-way tiebreaker with the Bulls for the other playoff berth.
Class 7A, District 8: If Plant City and East Bay win this week, they’ll force a three-way tiebreaker with Strawberry Crest for the two playoff spots.
Class 7A, District 7: If Sickles beats Tampa Bay Tech, the Gryphons are district champs. If TBT and Gaither both win, the Titans, Cowboys and Gryphons will have a three-way tiebreaker for two playoff spots. A Steinbrenner win over Gaither and a Sickles win would force a three-way tie for second place.
Class 6A, District 8: Armwood is the champion. Jefferson is No. 2.
Class 5A, District 9: Jesuit would clinch the district title with a victory over Middleton, and Spoto would be runnerup. If Middleton wins, the three-team district will have a three-way tiebreaker to decide the playoffs.
Class 3A, District 4: Tampa Catholic is the champion. Frostproof is No. 2.
Class 2A, District 5: Indian Rocks Christian is the champion. Carrollwood Day is No. 2.
Five stars of the night
1. Spoto DB James Bethea: The 5-foot-9 senior locked down Middleton standout receiver Shug Rhynes, holding him to four catches, 59 yards and no touchdowns. Rhynes had been averaging 143 receiving yards per game.
2. Steinbrenner ATH Shaheem Barthel: On senior night, the Warriors senior rushed for his team’s only two touchdowns in a 17-15 win over Freedom that kept Steinbrenner’s playoff hopes alive.
3. East Bay WR Christian Ashford: He returned two punts 60 yards for touchdowns in his team’s 22-21 comeback win over Brandon to stay alive in Class 7A, District 8.
4. Plant City QB Landon Galloway: The UCF commit threw for 163 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another in a dominant 41-14 win over Strawberry Crest.
5. Jefferson QB Deiondre Porter: The USF commit threw for two TDs - including the winner in a 28-24 win over Chamberlain. He also ran for a score.
By the numbers
41 Points scored by Plant City against Strawberry Crest
24 Points allowed by the Chargers in their three previous district games
4 Touchdowns scored by Lennard freshman Jahryn Bailey in his team’s first victory of the season, a 68-0 triumph over Leto
138 Rushing yards by Durant’s Chris Atkins in a surprising 32-30 victory over Hillsborough
5 Victories by single digits for East Bay this season
7 Games (out of eight) in which Seffner Christian has scored at least 35 points
Final five words
Late upsets making things interesting.