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High school football rankings for Tampa Bay, Week 8

The unbeaten teams are starting to drop the farther we get into the season.
Armwood senior Tavaris Thomas returns an interception against Wiregrass Ranch a few weeks back. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]
Published Oct. 7

Perfect records were in peril last week. Three teams — Berkeley Prep, Cambridge Christian and Tampa Bay Tech — fell from the unbeaten ranks. That caused some movement throughout the rankings. But the top spot remains the same. Armwood keeps its No. 1 spot and appears to be getting better after beating Wiregrass Ranch and Plant City the past two weeks by a combined 83-3.

1. Armwood (5-1)

Up next: at Tampa Bay Tech

Last week: No. 1

Why they stayed put: In their five games against area opponents — all wins — the Hawks have allowed just 27 points. Last week, Armwood recorded its first shutout of the season in a 35-0 rout of Plant City. The Hawks tallied two interceptions and held the Raiders to 100 yards of offense. The offense is getting healthy at the right time, too. Agiye Hall returned to the lineup and had two touchdown receptions. On Friday, Armwood plays Tampa Bay Tech in a rematch of last year’s season opener ― the last time the Hawks lost to an area opponent. If Armwood wins, it wraps up the Class 7A, District 8 title.

RELATED: Armwood’s staunch defense helps negate any mistakes

2. Lakewood (7-0)

Up next: at Osceola

Last week: No. 3

Why they moved up: After giving up a combined 40 points in wins over Braden River and Madison County, the Spartans’ defense returned to its dominant ways. Last week’s 38-0 win over Sebring was Lakewood’s fifth shutout of the season. They could be in store for another Friday at Osceola. After that, two more tough tests await — an Oct. 25 matchup with Largo and Nov. 1 game against Fort Myers Dunbar. If Lakewood wins out, it will have its first undefeated regular season in school history.

3. Gaither (6-0 )

Up next: vs. Land O’Lakes

Last week: No. 4

Why they moved up: Facing their biggest rival, the Cowboys survived an early scare to top Chamberlain 33-28 and stay undefeated. Tony Bartalo hooked up with Jayden Mendez on three touchdown passes, and Gaither’s defense forced three turnovers. A win against 1-5 Land O’ Lakes will all but guarantee the Cowboys the Class 6A, District 6 title, their first since 2012.

RELATED: Gaither ends scoreless skid against Chamberlain

4. Bloomingdale (5-1)

Quarterback Lance Alderson looks for an open receiver during Friday's game against Tampa Bay Tech. [LUIS SANTANA | TIMES | Tampa Bay Times]

Up next: at Lakeland Kathleen

Last week: No. 11

Why they moved up: The Bulls unleashed a ferocious pass rush to knock Tampa Bay Tech from the unbeaten ranks. Bloomingdale recorded seven sacks and picked off a pass. Since losing to Armwood last month, the Bulls have won four straight. After beating a pair of rivals in consecutive weeks, Bloomingdale now turns its attention to district games. The Bulls close out the regular season with three straight games against Class 7A, District 7 foes, the biggest coming in two weeks against defending state champion Lakeland.

RELATED: Blocked punt turns the tide for Bloomingdale

5. Tampa Bay Tech (5-1)

Up next: vs. Armwood

Last week: No. 2

Why they moved down: At this point, the Titans have to dread playing Bloomingdale each season. For the second straight year, Tampa Bay Tech had its perfect start end with a loss to the Bulls The Titans cannot dwell on that setback for too long. Up next is Armwood in a game that likely will decide the Class 7A, District 8 title.

6. Largo (4-2)

Up next: vs. Seminole

Last week: No. 6

Why they stayed put: Two weeks ago, the passing game got on track in a big way. Brandon Coppola (339 yards passing) and Khaishef Edwards (179 yards receiving) both set single-game school records in a win over Countryside. After a bye last week, the Packers return to close out district play with games against Seminole on Friday and Osceola on Oct. 18.

7. Jesuit (4-2)

Up next: at Robinson

Last week: No. 7

Why they stayed put: After starting 1-2, the Tigers are putting everything together. They have won three straight, including victories over Chamberlain and Clearwater Central Catholic the past two weeks. Beating the Marauders was particularly gratifying for Jesuit, especially after losing the previous three meetings to its rival.

RELATED: Jesuit ends recent skid against Clearwater Central Catholic

8. Berkeley Prep (5-1)

Up next: vs. Cape Coral Oasis

Last week: No. 5

Why they moved down: The Buccaneers’ perfect start ended with a 19-13 loss to the top-ranked team in Class 2A, Victory Christian. Travis Bates ran for more than 100 yards and scored once. And Berkeley Prep’s defense played well, holding the Storm to 169 yards of offense. Despite the loss, the Buccaneers are still in good position for one of the top seeds provided they keep winning the second half of the season.

9. Clearwater (4-2)

With players like Rent Montie, right, and Marquvion Jeter, no deficit is too steep for Clearwater. [ALLIE GOULDING | Times]

Up next: at Countryside

Last week: No. 9

Why they stayed put: Trailing 24-0, the Tornadoes staged a monster comeback to beat Pinellas Park 38-24. Rent Montie, who threw for 242 yards, become the Tornadoes’ all-time career passing leader with 4,152 yards. Clearwater fared well during its brutal early-season schedule. Now, the Tornadoes get a little breather with three straight games against teams without a winning record.

RELATED: Clearwater scores 38 unanswered points to prevail

10. Steinbrenner (6-0)

Up next: at Blake

Last week: No. 13

Why they moved up: The Warriors were downright giddy after routing Plant 49-0. Not only did Steinbrenner remain undefeated but it is on the verge of winning the program’s first district title. And the Warriors made history, too, becoming the first team to beat the Panthers in a district game in 15 years. Steinbrenner has won 10 straight games (12 counting spring jamborees and the preseason).

RELATED: Steinbrenner ends Plant’s district dominance

11. Clearwater Central Catholic (4-3)

Up next: at Sarasota Cardinal Mooney

Last week: No. 8

Why they moved down: After falling to rival Jesuit last week, the Marauders have now lost three regular-season games for the first time since 2010. But there is certainly no need for panic. All three losses were to quality programs, including one to national powerhouse Brentwood Academy. CCC will try to get back on track against Sarasota Cardinal Mooney.

12. Springstead (6-0)

Up next: vs. Lecanto

Last week: No. 12

Why they stayed put: They needed double overtime, but the Eagles were able to beat rival Hernando 19-16 to remain undefeated. Adrian Cabrera, who came back from injury, scored the winner vs. the Leopards. In two weeks, the Eagles play Lake Minneola in a game that likely will be the biggest roadblock to an undefeated regular season and the Class 6A, District 5 title.

RELATED: Springstead-Hernando rivalry doesn’t disappoint

13. Newsome (6-1)

Up next: vs. Haines City

Last week: No. 14

Why they moved up: The Wolves have won six straight, all by double digits. The latest rout came against Robinson, 41-7. The one-two punch of Jason Albritton and Landon White combined for 298 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. On defense, Newsome recorded six sacks, including two by Jeremiah Ross, and forced three turnovers.

RELATED: There’s more to Newsome than just a ground game

14. Pinellas Park (3-3)

Quarterback Brandon Brearley (16) and Pinellas Park still control their own district destiny. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times]

Up next: vs. Sickles

Last week: No. 10

Why they moved down: The Patriots had their three-game win streak snapped with their loss to Clearwater. All three losses are to teams expected to make the playoffs, including two (Palmetto and Lakewood) that are undefeated. Pinellas Park’s district title goals are still attainable with three straight games coming up against Class 7A-9 foes.

15. Mitchell (5-1)

Up next: at Leto

Last week: No. 15

Why they stayed put: A loss to Pinellas Park last month makes it difficult for the Mustangs to win their fifth straight district title. But a playoff berth still is within reach. Mitchell, which won two straight before a bye week, has to keep the momentum going with three straight games against Class 7A-9 opponents, starting with Friday’s matchup against Leto.

On the bubble

Chamberlain (2-4), Plant City (2-5), Wiregrass Ranch (5-1), Dixie Hollins (5-1), Calvary Christian (5-1), Boca Ciega (5-2), Riverview (6-1), Tampa Catholic (4-2), Lennard (4-2), Seffner Christian (3-3), Cambridge Christian (6-1)


  1. Northside Christian's Brianna White (14) blocks the ball during a district volleyball game against Clearwater Central Catholic on Tuesday. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    The Tampa Bay area will be well represented, although a few teams are left out under the new rankings system.
  2. Football teams around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 9 of the regular season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    After Fort Lauderdale University closes in on the Marauders, the home team comes out of the break on fire.
  3. Football teams around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 9 of the regular season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The energy is high early before the Dreadnaughts and weather dampen spirits.
  4. Football teams around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 9 of the regular season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The Hawks notch their fourth shutout of the season, this one against Jefferson.
  5. Football teams around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 9 of the regular season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Lawrance Toafili and Co. aren’t deterred by the conditions in a key district victory over Sickles.
  6. Quarterback Addison Fulton hands the ball off to running back Jason Albritton during the first half against Sarasota Riverview. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    But the Wolves still have their chances, keep things close in a key district matchup.
  7. Football teams around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 9 of the regular season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Quarterback Tony Bartalo keeps flinging the ball and the Cowboys keep racking up the wins.
  8. Football teams around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 9 of the regular season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The Bulls and Land O’ Lakes agree to a running clock in the first half to help ward off the weather, injuries.
  9. Robinson junior Meg Courtney, center, celebrates after sealing up a 25-16, 21-25, 25-15, 25-17 victory over Land O' Lakes in the Class 5A, District 6 title match. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The Knights may not have as many reps as other top teams, but appear solid in dispatching Land O’ Lakes for the district title.
  10. Football teams around Tampa Bay are in action for Week 9 of the regular season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    And the unbeaten Warriors close in on their first district title.