Mismatches were prevalent last week. There were running clocks. Benches were emptied. The result was no major upsets — and little movement in the rankings. Armwood, which has manhandled area foes, remains in the top spot.
1. Armwood (6-1)
Up next: vs. Jefferson
Last week: No. 1
Why they stayed put: The Hawks, ranked fourth overall in the state and 42nd nationally, have won five straight, all by 20 or more points. During that streak, Armwood’s defense has been dominant, recording three shutouts and allowing a combined 24 points. The latest shutout came last week in a 32-0 win over Tampa Bay Tech. Beating the Titans was particularly gratifying for the Hawks, who lost to their rival in last year’s season opener. Armwood recorded a whopping 15 sacks, including a school record five by UNC recruit Clyde Pinder Jr. The Hawks also forced four fumbles, two of which were recovered by Noah Biglow.
2. Lakewood (8-0)
Up next: Bye
Last week: No. 2
Why they stayed put: Once again, the Spartans blanked an opponent, this time routing Osceola 49-0. It was Lakewood’s sixth shutout of the season. Cortez McKenzie, a Miami recruit, has a team-leading 11 sacks. Derrveron Maxwell-Black also has been a force with 63 tackles, four sacks and three fumble recoveries. Lakewood has the week off before returning to face Largo and Fort Myers Dunbar, both of which are 5-2. If the Spartans can win both, they will go undefeated in the regular season for just the second time in school history.
3. Gaither (7-0)
Up next: at Tampa Bay Tech
Last week: No. 3
Why they stayed put: The Cowboys kept their win streak intact last week, beating Land O’Lakes 40-0. The passing game continued to put up big numbers with Tony Bartalo throwing for four touchdowns against the Gators. Still, Gaither has not been tested much. During this perfect start, the Cowboys have played just one team with a winning record — Jefferson in the season opener. So this week’s matchup with Tampa Bay Tech gives Gaither something it has craved for a while: a challenge.
4. Bloomingdale (6-1)
Up next: vs. Lakeland
Last week: No. 4
Why they stayed put: The Bulls continued to stay hot, winning their fifth straight with a 46-10 victory over Lakeland Kathleen last week. In four of those wins, Bloomingdale has allowed 14 or fewer points. The Bulls will have to be at their best this week when they host defending state champion Lakeland in a game that will decide the Class 7A, District 7 title.
5. Largo (5-2)
Up next: at Osceola
Last week: No. 5
Why they moved up: Since losing to Palmetto, the Packers have won two straight. The offense is starting to click, scoring 40 or more points in each of the past two victories. Khaishef Edwards provided the big plays in last week’s 42-7 win over Seminole. On Friday, Largo can clinch the Class 6A, District 7 title with a win over Osceola.
6. Jesuit (5-2)
Up next: vs. Gibbs
Last week: No. 7
Why they moved up: The Tigers have won four straight, all by double digits. Last week, Jesuit jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and had a running clock in the second half. Six players scored in the first half — three rushing touchdowns from Nick Spurlin, Ricky Parks and Myles Coates and three Kiael Kelly touchdown passes to Joquez Smith, Carter French and Christian Jones.
7. Berkeley Prep (6-1)
Up next: vs. Titusville Astronaut
Last week: No. 8
Why they moved up: After a loss to Class 2A powerhouse Lakeland Victory Christian, the Buccaneers bounced back in impressive fashion, routing previously undefeated Cape Coral Oasis 44-13. RJ Garcia stood out. The junior had five receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another score. Xavier Townsend also returned to the lineup and had 83 yards rushing and two scores and was on the receiving end of Garcia’s touchdown pass.
8. Tampa Bay Tech (5-2)
Up next: vs. Gaither
Last week: No. 5
Why they moved down: After starting 5-0, the Titans have lost two straight. Both were to quality opponents -- Armwood and Bloomingdale -- who are each ranked in the top five. The slide is due in part to Tampa Bay Tech’s inability to produce points. The offense has scored just 14 points combined in the last two games. It does not get any easier with a matchup against undefeated Gaither on Friday.
9. Clearwater (5-2)
Up next: vs. Seminole
Last week: No. 9
Why they stayed put: It was close, but the Tornadoes got the result they wanted, beating rival Countryside 23-21 to avenge last year’s loss in the series. Rent Montie threw three touchdown passes — all to different receivers. Keedrik Murray is on the verge of becoming the best pass catcher in school history. He needs nine more receptions and three more touchdowns to set school marks in both categories.
10. Steinbrenner (7-0)
Up next: vs. Palm Harbor University
Last week: No. 10
Why they stayed put: The Warriors continued their demolition of opponents, beating Blake 54-6 last week. It was Steinbrenner’s fifth win this season by 40 or more points. Most of the damage against the Yellow Jackets was done on the ground. Deon Silas and Jonathan Mallan each scored two rushing touchdowns. A win against Palm Harbor University on Friday all but clinches the Class 8A, District 7 title.
11. Clearwater Central Catholic (5-3)
Up next: vs. Fort Lauderdale University
Last week: No. 11
Why they stayed put: Jordan Niles has been the workhorse of the offense all season. Last week, he had his best game yet, setting a school record with five touchdowns against Sarasota Cardinal Mooney. Niles had 189 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He also scored on a 100-yard kickoff return. The Marauders’ two-game win streak will be put to the test with a game against Fort Lauderdale University (6-1).
12. Springstead (7-0)
Up next: at Groveland South Lake
Last week: No. 12
Why they stayed put: Defense continues to be the reason for the Eagles’ perfect start. Last week, they recorded their fourth shutout of the season in a 40-0 victory over Lecanto. In seven games, Springstead has allowed a combined 38 points. Next week, the Eagles play Lake Minneola in a game that will decide the Class 6A, District 5 title.
13. Newsome (7-1)
Up next: vs. Sarasota Riverview
Last week: No. 13
Why they stayed put: The dream season continues. Two weeks ago, the Wolves secured their second winning season in school history. Last week, they won their seventh straight, matching the program’s longest win streak set in 2009. Another win Friday clinches the Class 8A, District 8 title.
14. Pinellas Park (4-3)
Up next: at Sickles
Last week: No. 14
Why they stayed put: Lawrance Toafili made the most of his limited opportunities against Sunlake. The Florida State recruit rushed for 228 yards and four touchdowns on just nine carries. The 52-0 win over the Seahawks kept the Patriots undefeated in Class 7A, District 9 play.
15. Mitchell (6-1)
Up next: vs. Sunlake
Last week: No. 15
Why they stayed put: As expected, the Mustangs cruised to a 69-6 win over Leto last week. Ezra Brennan threw for three touchdowns and Tyler Williams ran for three more scores. The defense recorded seven interceptions, including two each by Nic Fairbank and Khamari Smith.
On the bubble
Chamberlain (3-4), Plant City (3-5), Wiregrass Ranch (6-1), Dixie Hollins (6-1), Calvary Christian (5-2), Boca Ciega (6-2), Riverview (6-2), Tampa Catholic (4-3), Lennard (5-2), Seffner Christian (3-3), Cambridge Christian (7-1)