SMQ team of the week
Calvary Christian. The Warriors have played varsity football since 2003 and have never had a winning season, nor made the playoffs. Both of those streaks should end after Friday's 17-0 win over Admiral Farragut. Calvary improved to 4-1, 1-0 in Class 3A, District 5. While beating district favorite Clearwater Central Catholic is a tall task, an expected win Oct. 31 over winless St. Petersburg Catholic would clinch second in the district and a playoff berth. Calvary Christian is the only team in Pinellas County never to have made the playoffs. "This is what we've been working toward for a long time," coach Todd Yoder said. "There have been a lot of people who have supported this program for a long time and to see it come to this is just great."
SMQ player of the week
Lennard QB Devin Black. We've known for weeks that the Longhorns are the real deal, but their freshman quarterback drove that point home in a district win Thursday against Robinson. Black threw a 72-yard touchdown to Diontae Johnson on the first play from scrimmage, and Lennard jumped to a big lead. Black, who has 1,132 passing yards and six interceptions for the Longhorns, finished 10-for-20 with 302 yards — Lennard's first 300-yard passing game in school history.
SMQ coach of the week
Tico Hernandez, Wesley Chapel. Last year in Hernandez's first season at the helm, the Wildcats finished 0-10. After Wesley Chapel lost its first four games this year, it appeared the Wildcats might suffer a similar fate. But this week, Wesley Chapel not only won its first game in two years, it did so handily. Wesley Chapel scored on its first drive of the night on a 59-yard pass from quarterback Austin Sessums as it cruised to a 25-9 win against Ridgewood.
Four numbers that say a whole lot
3 Different ways Patrick Brooks scored for Plant. Once again, Brooks was big for the Panthers in their 46-16 win against Riverview. But the running back, who came into the game with 747 rushing yards, showed his talents aren't just on the ground. Late in the first half he scored on a 15-yard screen pass from Rex Culpepper. After the break he had a 63-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, then ran one in from 34 yards.
61 Tackles for Plant City LB Pat Colleran. The junior has had a breakout year for the Raiders and added 21 tackles to his total in Plant City' 21-6 win against East Bay on Thursday. Colleran, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior, also has four for loss and three forced fumbles. "(He) just flat out brings the wood when he tackles," coach Greg Meyer said.
670 Rushing yards for Bloomingdale. A year ago, the Bulls rushed for 772 yards as a team, just more than 77 per game. This season, Bloomingdale has nearly that many five games in. First-year coach Brian Surcy attributes much of the new rushing success to an improved offensive line, but having Riverview transfer Fred McCoy, who rushed for more than 700 yards last year, certainly doesn't hurt.
1,181 Rushing yards for River Ridge's Chris Schwarz. He not only set River Ridge's single-season rushing record in the Knights' 47-0 win against Anclote, but he became the first in the Tampa Bay area to surpass 1,000 yards this season. And with four games still to go (and possibly the postseason), there's a solid chance Schwarz, who rushed for 204 as a sophomore, could hit 2,000.
Four big performances in losses
QB Chris Oladokun, Alonso: Bloomingdale, which beat Alonso 43-21, shut the Ravens out in the first half and held Oladokun to 37 passing yards before the break. Afterward, the junior threw for 237, including 65- and 16-yard touchdowns, and ran one in on a 16-yard dash.
ATH Todd Sims, Spoto: Spoto started its night on the right foot when Sims scored on a 65-yard touchdown reception from Kevin Hobley on its first drive against Jesuit. The Spartans lost 32-20, but not before Sims found the end zone twice more, on a 65-yard interception return and a 2-yard run.
RB Chris Garza-McLean, Seminole: The Warhawks couldn't take down East Lake, but Garza-McLean sure tried. The junior had an 80-yard touchdown in the second half of the 52-28 loss.
QB DJ Johnson, Gibbs: Johnson missed some of the second half with cramping but had big numbers early. The junior ran for 89 yards on eight carries in the first half and threw for 165. After the break he added 41 yards on three carries, but started cramping after the last two and didn't return. Tarpon Springs won 31-26.
Four districts still up in the air
Class 2A-5: Indian Rocks Christian was the favorite and that remains the case. What is up for grabs is the second playoff spot. Northside Christian threw things into disarray when it came back to beat Cambridge Christian 26-22 on Friday. Cambridge came in 5-0 and expected to be the second-place team. Now Carrollwood Day, Northside and Cambridge are all 1-1 in the district. The Northside/Carrollwood Day game on Oct. 31 could have a lot of meaning.
Class 5A-7: Only Anclote appears to be out of this six-team district. River Ridge leads with a 2-0 record, but Gulf, Hudson, Ridgewood and Wesley Chapel are deadlocked at 1-1. At the midway point, the second playoff spot appears to be up for grabs. The Gulf/Ridgewood game on Oct. 24 could go a long way in determining that second spot.
Class 7A-7: Sickles is leading and probably will win this district. As for second? It's anybody's game. After Thursday and Friday's matchups, the other five teams in the Gryphons' district — Wiregrass Ranch, Gaither, Freedom, Tampa Bay Tech and Steinbrenner — are all 1-1 in district play. It appears the Cowboys could have the best shot, but they'll have to stay strong through three straight games vs. district opponents starting Oct. 17.
Class 7A-9: It's a three-team race, but which team gets aced out is yet to be determined. East Lake, Pinellas Park and Countryside are all 2-0 in the district. Games against each other are on the horizon. The second half of the season will be pivotal.
Four things you may have missed
1. He doesn't look like a pass-rushing linebacker, but Gulf's Uly Velez, a 5-8, 155-pound senior, terrorized Hudson's quarterbacks in a 31-22 Buc win. He had three sacks in the fourth quarter (four total), including two on back-to-back plays. Velez also knocked down a pass in the quarter and finished with 11 tackles as Gulf has won two straight for the first time since 2010.
2. Hudson's Joey Caruso, who lined up at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker and safety, ran over a handful of Bucs on a 25-yard run in the first half, then turned in a nearly identical 25-yard run later in the half. Caruso also caught a 66-yard touchdown. Right before the play, Caruso told coaches to put him in on third and 17 and get him the ball. A Gulf defender just missed an interception on the play. Caruso bobbled the ball then took off down the sideline, ran through an arm tackle, lowered his shoulder and plowed over a defensive back into the end zone.
3. In addition to Schwarz's big night on the ground, River Ridge's defense had its first shutout since Nov. 11, 2011, against Hudson. Senior DT Dillion O'Toole had two sacks.
4. Central picked up its second win, topping Weeki Wachee 12-6 with the help of De'Vonta Smith's 202-yard, two-touchdown performance. His 38-yard dash to the end zone in the second quarter put the Bears up 12-0. The last time Central won two or more in a season was in 2010.
Staff writers John C. Cotey, Rodney Page and Bob Putnam contributed to this report.