Call them, simply, the season’s best performances. A 10 spot of the finest single-day athletic achievements that helped shape this school year’s North Suncoast athletic scene. These triumphs are the best of the best. Some led to state titles. Others brought their teams to never-before-seen heights. All combined to provide area fans with some of the most spectacular memories from the 2010-11 season.
Sept. 10, Ricky Trinidad, Mitchell (football): Trinidad had the North Suncoast’s highest single-game rushing output of the season when he carried for 257 yards on just nine attempts in a Week 2 blowout of Ridgewood. Trinidad scored three times, including a 99-yard run that went for a touchdown. A week later against Clearwater Central Catholic, Trinidad rushed for 210 yards on 14 carriers before tearing his ACL, ending his prep career.
Oct. 1, Stevie Weatherford, Land O’Lakes (football): Weatherford threw for a touchdown, rushed for a touchdown and caught a pass for a touchdown in the Gators’ 56-6 demolition of Gulf. The gunslinging senior was near perfect through the air, going 16-of-20 for 360 yards and a season-best six touchdowns. He scored on a 21-yard option keeper for the Gators’ first score and added a five-yard touchdown catch from backup quarterback Ryan Bird just before halftime to complete the scoring trifecta.
Nov. 5, Chris Reaves, Zephyrhills (football): Reaves scored seven touchdowns, and the Bulldogs needed every one of them, in a 51-41 victory over Anclote. Reaves did most of his work on the ground, where he scored three second-half touchdowns and gained 154 yards on 18 carries. The senior caught a 25-yard touchdown in the second quarter and added a 12-yard catch and score in the third. Reaves was also a special teams monster, returning a first-quarter kickoff 64 yards for a touchdown and capping his night with an 80-yard kickoff return late in the game.
Nov. 12, Devin McCaffrey, Mitchell (swimming): McCaffrey won gold in the 100-yard breaststroke at the state swim meet (Class 2A) after touching the wall in 58.70 to edge Osceola’s Matt Tomlin. But he wasn’t done. That same day, McCaffrey added a bronze medal by placing third in the 100 butterfly in 50.29 to reach the podium stand a second time.
Nov. 29, A.J. Blount, Wiregrass Ranch (soccer): Blount had a hand in every one of the Bulls’ eight goals against Fivay. The lightning-quick forward scored six of her 40 goals on the season against the Falcons, and she assisted on the Bulls’ other scores in a 8-0 win. Paced by Blount’s goal-scoring proficiency, Wiregrass Ranch went on to reach its first region final.
Jan. 27, Nicole Adams, Gulf (basketball): Adams was a scoring machine all season, and even Class 3A state champion Tampa Catholic couldn’t slow the Kennesaw State signee. Sparked by a 5-for-10 effort from beyond the 3-point line, Adams pumped in 36 points in a one-point loss to the Crusaders. Adams recorded a double double after grabbing a season-high 10 rebounds, and she was 13-of-17 from the free-throw line.
Jan. 27, Tyler Bergantino, Nature Coast (basketball): Against Hudson, one of the North Suncoast’s top teams, Bergantino had perhaps his best game. The 6-foot-9 behemoth scored a season-high 37 points on 17-of-28 shooting from the field. Bergantino made it a double double when he grabbed 17 rebounds, which tied his season-best effort on the boards. And he also blocked six shots in the Sharks’ 61-55 victory. Bergantino, a Division I-A recruit, also could have made this list for his triple double against Lake Region (19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks) on Dec. 20.
April 1, John Michael Gant, Wiregrass Ranch (baseball): Gant tossed his second no-hitter of the season against Zephyrhills, leading the Bulls to a 7-0 regular-season district win over the Bulldogs. Gant struck out a season-high 16 batters and was one walk and one hit batter from a perfect game. At the plate, Gant provided all the offense his team needed, going 1-for-3 with a home run and a sacrifice fly.
May 3, Courtney Brandt, Pasco (softball): Pasco fell 4-3 to Harmony in nine innings, but in defeat, Brandt cemented her legendary status in Pirates softball lore. The senior, who signed with Stetson in November, struck out 21 batters, tops for any pitcher on the North Suncoast this season. Harmony only managed five hits off Brandt but was able to pull through in the ninth inning on a pair of Pirates errors, the third of four losses for Pasco to Harmony in regionals.
May 6, Raqurra Ishmar, Central (track and field): Ishmar went to the Class 3A state meet with hopes of bringing home a gold medal. Instead, she came back with two. Ishmar tossed the shot 44 feet to win a state title and followed with a 131-foot toss in the discus to win that event. Both state-title winning distances came on Ishmar’s first attempt.