Friday Night was Pinellas County’s turn to take center stage and apparently it didn’t take long for the cream to rise to the top. On the big school side of things, county top-dogs Largo, East Lake, and Countryside are not missing a beat. Clearwater Central Catholic was played tough by a very scrappy Seminole team, but managed to handle their business. Lots of things happening. Here are some thoughts. Was on hand for Largo at Clearwater, then East Lake at Osceola, and then finished with Seminole at CCC. Those games plus a few others now on the BCP Spring Blitz.
Largo at Clearwater:
Stayed for the 1st Half of this game which was all I needed to see to firmly put the Packers on the short list for best team in Pinellas. Running Back Jarvis Stewart and FB/LB Harry Brown certainly carried the load for Largo in the absence of stud Derrick Doss while QB Juwan Brown faced live bullets for the first time since the middle of the regular season last year following an injury. Score was 14-0 at the Half and it appeared that the JV squads were primed to play the 2nd. Juwan Brown was elusive although his throws still needed some work. Names you’ll need to definitely pay attention to in addition to the Brown’s would be TE Chris Skukalek, and OL/DL Cellen Phillips. Skukalek at 6-1 285 moves like a TE but may in fact be a great 3-technique at the next level. Awesome speed too. Clearwater’s QB Robert Yarbrough was serviceable to say the least and made throws when he was moving out of the pocket away from the Largo DL that was loaded for bear. The Tornadoes have their work cut out for them, but apparently their district may be Countryside and everyone else so there’s plenty of optimism to be had on Gulf-to-Bay. Now, if Clearwater could just ban some of the “expert” analysts from the stands and maybe some of the negativity overheard from the peanut gallery would cease and these boys, make that babies (one of the youngest teams in Pinellas) could move on with improving.
East Lake at Osceola:
I made a joke on Twitter about EL scoring 2TD’s before they even get off the bus, and at first I thought the Eagles tandem of QB Pete DiNovo (’13) and WR Artavis Scott (’14) were going to try their hardest to make me look like Miss Cleo. On the 2nd play of the game DiNovo hit a streaking Scott in stride for a 60yd TD and East Lake never took their foot off the gas. The final for the Varsity portion of this game was 28-7 and probably should’ve been worse. I’ll make a pretty big statement right here and now and say that the Eagles have arguably the biggest OL in the Bay Area. RB Tyler Lane is back and Artavis Scott also gets some work out of the backfield when he’s not burning DB’s. Osceola’s misdirection and double-handoffs had the Eagles off balance for some portions of the half, but shot themselves in the foot with 2 fumbles on drives that would’ve have had the Warriors at least in a position for 3 points. OL Keaton Cole is a massive human being and it appears that East Lake will be my preseason #1 in Pinellas County without a doubt. Well, okay with a small doubt until they beat Countryside but that COULD happen this year. Osceola has a lot of fight in them though and their misdirection will fool some teams. An undisciplined team on defense will get upset by OHS if they’re not careful. Any given Friday folks.
Seminole at CCC:
Got to this game midway through the 3rd Quarter with the Marauders up on Seminole 13-0. The game finished 16-13 in favor of CCC. While I was there it was the Brandon Trezza show for Seminole however. The young man amassed over 130 yards and 2 TD’s on 2 carries while I was there. Justin Goodloe and Ian Koch are as advertised and Blake Gomez made some really nice throws towards the end. CCC also showed they’ve got the ability to score once inside the 30 with a FG Kicker that has a strong leg. Young man kicked a 45-yd FG with room to spare. Seminole will be competitive in the district for sure with apparently St. Pete, Pinellas Park, and Clearwater all having issues. Some more than others, but the Warhawks shouldn’t be disappointed with the effort by any means. CCC looks like a team ready to make a run. We’ll see…
Gray Crow with 4TD’s in the 1st half for Countryside as they pound St. Petersburg who is decimated by graduation and still apparently searching for an identity on offense with the Wing-T not exactly working too well with this crop of Green Devils. Countryside pounds Saint Pete 49-19.
Palm Harbor University defeats Boca Ciega 21-19 in which the starters played all four quarters. Matt Lepain’s debut was a successful one as the Hurricanes got the W and some momentum going into the Summer. One of the FIU Coaches in attendance at the Largo & CCC games mentioned specifically how impressed he was with QB Billy Pavlock for PHU. Should be a fun summer and an even more interesting Fall if the ‘Canes bring their “A” game under their new leader in Lepain.
Lakeland demolishes Lakewood 50-14 in a game that was not as important as the injury sustained to Dante Fowler. The Dreadnaughts are making a habit of making Pinellas County their personal whipping boys after last year’s undressing of Tarpon Springs. QB Tracy Johnson had a great night, but it doesn’t sound like the Lakewood Offense is the issue. Not much too interpret from this point however. Lakeland is Lakeland and we shouldn’t judge anything off of one-game from teams that really have no business playing each other.
In another “what exactly WERE you thinking?!” game, Gibbs was taken to the woodshed by Manatee 56-6 down in Bradenton. Again, this is a 5A team (Gibbs) playing a 7A team in Manatee (just like Lakewood was with Lakeland) that might as well be in 8A. Manatee’s program and Gibbs’ program stacked next to one another should never go in the same sentence, but I certainly commend the Gladiators for stepping outside of the comfort zone. Next year, try Pasco Co or Hernando Co. It worked for Pinellas Park and so it should for you too. Nothing accomplished by getting your brains beat in only to have that linger through the Summer.