Playing to the Whistle: Week 7 in Hillsborough County


It’s a game of inches. Play to the whistle. You’ve got to play 4 Quarters of football. You’ve heard them all. Whatever cliche you choose to add, it might have been appropriate to describe the week of action in the ‘Big County’.  Armwood, Plant, and Jesuitscored a combined 187 points in their games against Strawberry Crest, Brandon, and Dunedin respectively. Doubt they’ll get to that this week, but you never know I guess. Armwood gets Hillsborough, Plant welcomes Alonso, and Jesuit travels to South St.Pete in a major district clash against Lakewood. You’ve got to love late October or there’s something seriously wrong with you.

Alonso LB Marcus Neuman and his Ravens have no time to worry about last week. They've got Plant this Thursday for the District Title.

Plant City was literally inches from no longer being in the ranks of the undefeated, but they did what good teams do. Win when they’re really have little business in doing so. Alonso is going to kick themselves for a while over last week. However a while may have lasted all of 24 hours or less. The Ravens head to Plant on Thursday. Probably for the best that they don’t have to stew long over that loss. Plant City will be fine as well. They may be balanced in terms of statistical output, but they’ve got to get diversified in their targets. If they’re thinking deep run in the playoffs (and I tend to agree) then they’ve got to get someone other than Lamarlin Wiggins or Daz Patterson opened up. Bennie Coney is lethal in the pocket, but teams like Kissimmee Osceola, Lakeland, First Coast, and Lincoln are good enough to match them man-for-man. I know it’s one game at a time right now, but you can’t tell me they’re not thinking about it already.

Cowboy up! Don’t look now, but the Gaither Cowboys have tallied 3-straight wins and have a pretty good shot at 4 with Freedom paying a visit in a crucial 7-7A battle. Their 2 losses have come to Alonso and Plant City who’s records are 11-1 combined. All of a sudden things are shaping up nicely. A win against Freedom on Thursday and the following week’s game at TBT is for the district championship. The ‘Boys have made some serious strides since that classic debacle against Sickles week zero.

Don't look now, but Gaither is fully in the hunt for the 7-7A District Title.

I think the only thing more jammed than the battle for 2nd in 8-7A is the dysfunction junction at 5:00pm on a Friday. Durant, Newsome, East Bay, and Brandon are all tied at 1-1 headed into Week 8. The titanic clash between Durant and Newsome will go a long way towards deciding the runner up, but keep an eye on Brandon and East Bay. Yeah, I said East Bay. What are you going to do about it? Both them and Brandon gets cracks at Plant City and Durant still has to play the Raiders as well. This could get interesting. Stay tuned. Brandon already showed us that Halloween can come early when they beat Newsome 34-0 earlier this month.

It’s finally here. IT’S FINALLY HERE! Yep. Talking about Strawberry Crest vs. Leto. Both teams are winless. Both represent each other’s best chance at a win. Strawberry Crest is getting beat by an average score of 51-3 while Leto is losing by a 57-10 margin. Something has to give. You can sit around and make jokes all you want, but the one thing that isn’t a joke is the meaning this has to the players, fans, and staffs on both sides.  People want to know why sports can be metaphors for life, then make your way to this one Thursday. Good luck to the both of them and keep fighting fellas!

Last, but not least it’s time to recognize one of the greatest accomplishments in Hillsborough County football. Coach Earl Garcia got his 200th victory against Sickles on Friday Night. It’s hard to make it to that point in any level of coaching. The amount of hours along with the pints of blood, sweat, and tears that it took to reach this milestone are unable to be quantified. Coach Garcia is the shining example of what being committed to family, kids, and winning is all about. Hasn’t always been smooth, but nothing in life is. Congratulations Coach G.  Here’s to another 200 if you can stand to do it. We appreciate what you’ve done for this area.


Game of the Week: There’s a few out there that definitely give me reasons to jump up and down screaming like a preteen at a Justin Bieber Concert. Okay maybe that was a little too much, but I must get my point across to you somehow and quite frankly it’s tough to describe it any other way. Two is always better than one (unless you’re talking about marriage) so here’s my choice (s).

Durant at Newsome: The Wolves must win or their shot at the playoffs is done for this season. I really like it out in East Hills. Reminds me of home. Which is where one of these two teams will be November 18th instead of the 1st Rd. of the playoffs. You have to love when postseason dreams rely on games between rivals as well. Extra special. Looking forward to this one.

Win or go home for Newsome this week vs. their rival Durant. East Hillsborough will be rocking on Thursday.

Berkeley Prep at Clearwater Central Catholic: Didn’t believe the folks telling me that CCC was a year away when I picked CCC to beat Berkeley last year. Marauders got mollywopped 37-7 by Nelson Agholor and his crew of swashbucklers. The final score MAY in fact still read as Berkeley the winner, but what this WILL be is the Buccaneers toughest game of the season and most likely closest game they play from a final score standpoint until they get to Orlando. Yes I said Orlando. My questions of whether or not they can make it to the title game are becoming to manifest as expectations to be playing for the 3A Title in December.