These football playoffs are full of record setters

Clearwater quarterback Rent Montie throws during the first half against Boca Ciega. (TAILYR IRVINE | Times)
Clearwater quarterback Rent Montie throws during the first half against Boca Ciega. (TAILYR IRVINE | Times)
Published November 7 2018

Rent Montie's fourth grade English teacher raved about his writing ability.

There was just one request.

"(The teacher) asked my wife and I if Rent could stop writing about football," said Rob Montie, his father.

The sport has always been the subject that mattered most to the record-setting Clearwater High quarterback.

Rob pushed his son to play Little League baseball when he was 9 years old.

"I signed him up, bought a mitt and a ball," Rob said.

RELATED: Pinellas story lines for the playoffs

The two went outside to play catch. They even measured the distance from the mound to home plate under Little League rules.

Rent was a natural. He kept firing strikes. But after 10 minutes, Rent had enough.

"Rent asked if we were done yet," Rob said. "There was no baseball. I had to get a Little League refund."

There are more stories. Last year, the Montie family evacuated for Hurricane Irma. Rob told his two children to grab any essentials in case they were uprooted for a while.

Rent took two items: a football and his cleats.

This obsession with football has paid off with Montie setting several single-game and single-season school records. In a win over Northeast, Montie threw for 249 yards and six touchdowns, breaking the school mark for touchdown passes in a game previously set by Walter Bowlin in 1980.

Montie also set single-season records for yards (2,122), completions (143) and touchdowns (22). The junior led his team to a 6-4 regular-season record and the No. 7 seed in Class 6A, Region 3. On Friday, the Tornadoes (6-4) travel to play Punta Gorda Charlotte (8-2).

Rob has been on the field to witness these eye-popping numbers. He was a coach for the junior varsity program last year. This season, he is coaching the offensive line on varsity.

But he made it a point to not coach his son directly.

"Rent already knows more than me anyway," Rob said.

After Wiregrass Ranch’s Dylan Ridolph gets a sack, guess what his next thought is? (MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times)

Sack machine

Wiregrass Ranch linebacker Dylan Ridolph had three sacks in the final regular-season game against Auburndale. That gives him 20 this season and puts him only three sacks away from the Pasco County single-season record held by Morgan Flournory of Pasco in 2012.

The 6-foot, 210-pound junior has 35 sacks for his career, which is tied with Jason Boyd of Wesley Chapel (2000-01) for the Pasco County record.

"I had no idea," Ridolph said.

That's probably because he is more focused on how to get his next sack. He said every play is a guessing game as he tries to figure out how to get past an offensive lineman and into the backfield.

"It really depends on every play," Ridolph said. "I'm trying to figure how the tackle acts and then use my speed to get around them. There have been a lot of times where teams will put two players on me or some 6-3, 280-pound guys, which does not make me a happy camper."

But the sacks have made his coach pretty happy.

"I didn't expect that number but I did expect that kind of performance out of him,'' Mark Kantor said. "We could kind of see it in his sophomore year and then he put in the work this season. In our system he is more on the outside. It's scheme based, and he has a knack of getting to the quarterback."

Of course, getting to Lakeland quarterback Dywonski McWilliams may be difficult. He has only attempted 61 passes in the unbeaten Dreadnaughts' run-first offense.

Ridolph said he only has one thought after getting a sack.

"Getting another one," he said.

RELATED: North Suncoast story lines for the playoffs

Bloomingdale bonanza

When it comes to postseason football, Bloomingdale has been more of an afterthought. The Bulls had made just three playoff appearances before this season. But the perception of the program is starting to change, especially after a storybook regular season.

Bloomingdale (9-1) set school records by posting its third straight winning season and making the playoffs for the first time in consecutive years.

That's not all. On defense, the Bulls have allowed the fewest points (68), fewest yards (1,698) and recorded the most shutouts (six) in school history.

The offense has scored the most points in a season (375) and had the most rushing touchdowns (36).

Even the kicker is establishing new marks. A few weeks ago, Jacob McDonald, a star on the soccer team, nailed a 52-yard field goal, the longest in school history.

RELATED: Hillsborough story lines for the playoffs

Pinellas Park’s Brandon Coppola has thrown just one interception this season. (BRONTE WITTPENN | Times)

Protective passer

This is a school record that may be hard to break. Pinellas Park quarterback Brandon Coppola has 117 passing attempts this season and has thrown only one interception.

"He was scrambling, threw off his back foot, tried to dump it off, it bounced off a kid's shoulder and the other kid from East Lake caught it. Very flukey," coach Kenny Crawford said.

Coppola has thrown 22 touchdowns in the Patriots' first-ever 10-0 season. He is a big part of Pinellas Park's well balanced offense. As the starter last season, Coppola threw 97 passes and had only two interceptions. The difference is he has thrown for 1,543 yards this season compared to 785 last year.

"He's out performed any quarterback I've ever had here," Crawford said. "And he's done it quietly. He's just done a great job of making plays, and he makes plays with his feet, too, which a lot of people don't know."


• Plant has won 13 straight first-round playoff games, all at home.

• Calvary Christian's Reggie Crume, Tampa Catholic's Jeris McIntyre, Jefferson's Joe Midulla and Hernando's Rob Kazmier all made the playoffs in the first year coaching their programs.

• Mitchell's Tyler Williams set the school record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 23.

• This is the second time Largo has faced North Fort Myers in the postseason. The first meeting in 2006 was a memorable one with the Packers' Brynn Harvey (UCF) and NFM's Noel Devine (West Virginia) putting together solid rushing performances. Devine had the better result, leading his team to a 23-19 victory. Largo is home for the rematch.

Playoff schedule

Region quarterfinals. All games 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Class 7A
Region 2
No. 8 Wiregrass Ranch at No. 1 Lakeland
No. 7 Sickles at No. 2 Viera
No. 6 Gaither at No. 3 Plant
Region 3
No. 8 Tampa Bay Tech at No. 1 Venice
No. 7 Palmetto at No. 2 Pinellas Park
No. 6 Bloomingdale at No. 3 Fort Myers Riverdale
No. 5 Braden River at No. 4 Plant City
Class 6A
Region 2
No. 7 Groveland South Lake at No. 2 Armwood
No. 6 Lake Weir at No. 3 Mitchell
Region 3
No. 7 Clearwater at No. 2 Charlotte
No. 6 North Fort Myers at No. 3 Largo
Class 5A
Region 2
No. 8 Gainesville Eastside at No. 1 Nature Coast
No. 7 Crystal River at No. 2 Zephyrhills
No. 5 Hernando at No. 4 Baker County
Region 3
No. 8 Jefferson at No. 1 Hardee
No. 7 DeSoto County at No. 2 Jesuit
No. 5 Sarasota Booker at No. 4 Lakewood
Class 3A
Region 3
No. 1 Clearwater Central Catholic, No. 2 Berkeley Prep get byes
No. 6 Calvary Christian at No. 3 Sarasota Cardinal Mooney
No. 5 Lakeland Christian at No. 4 Tampa Catholic
Class 2A
Region 2
No. 6 St. Francis Catholic at No. 3 Zephyrhills Christian
Region 3
No. 1 Admiral Farragut, No. 2 Seffner Christian get byes
No. 6 Southwest Florida Christian at No. 3 Carrollwood Day
No. 5 Cambridge Christian at No. 4 Fort Myers Evangelical Christian