Pre Game Pot Luck: The Big Ticket

Tampa vs. Miami for the 6A and 8A State Championship, but how will Armwood and Plant fair vs. Central and Miramar having never defeated a Miami team in the championship game? We will find out soon enough, but here are the teams both Armwood and Plant have played in their respective championship games.

2003 4A Armwood 29-21 over Lake Gibson @Univ. of Florida, Gainesville
2004 4A Armwood 49-7 over Lake Gibson @Univ. of Florida, Gainesville
2005 4A Nease 44-37 over Armwood @Dolphin Stadium, Miami
2010 4A Lincoln 17-14 over Armwood @Citrus Bowl, Orlando

2006 4A Plant 25-21 over Nease @ Dolphin Stadium, Miami
2008 4A Plant 34-14 over Lincoln @Citrus Bowl, Orlando
2009 5A Plant 21-14 over Manatee @Citrus Bowl, Orlando
2010 5A St. Thomas Aquinas 29-7 over Plant @Citrus Bowl, Orlando

You want to talk about Division 1 prospects? Here are the ones that will be on display between the Armwood Hawks and the Miami Central Rockets

Keep in mind, Central starts 13 underclassmen, and have 7 others in the two deep, so here are the players who have been offered by D1 programs or who are committed to a D1 program.


WR – Darreal Joyner, 5-11,175 (West Virginia)
DE – Jordan Hinojosa, 603, 275 (Minnesota)
LB – Brian Nicholson, 6-1, 220 (Minnesota)
TE – Samad Hinds, 6-5, 210 (Minnesota)
LB – Joshua Ballesteros, 6-4, 215 (Minnesota)
DB – Donaldven Manning, 5-11, 170 (Virginia Tech)

Toree Boyd, DL, 6-3, 260
Deon Mann, LB, 6-1, 200
Austin Stock, QB, 6-2, 210
Pouchy Michel, LB, 5-11, 210


OL – Cody Waldrop (South Carolina)
OL – Cameron Dees (Marshall)
OLB – Eric Striker (Oklahoma)
RB – Matt Jones (Florida)
DT – Shelldon Lewinson Wake Forrest)
CB – Jarvis McCall (South Florida)


OT – Kevin McCoy
RB – Wade Edwards
OL/DL – Brandon Teeling
DL – Allen Covington

Over the past three seasons (2009-2011) Plant and Armwood are a combined 78-8. Plant sits at 38-5, while Armwood is slightly better at 40-3.

Which teams have Armwood and Plant lost to in the last 3 seasons?

Taking a look at which team that were able to defeat Armwood and Plant the last 3 years including these teams final rankings in State and Max Preps National polls.

Armwood Losses:

2009 Regular Season: Plant 17-7 (5A State Champion, State: 3, National: 23)

State Semifinal game: Dwyer 41-15 (4A State Champion, State: 1, National: 4)

2010 State Title game: Lincoln 17-14 (4A State Champion, State: 16, National: 139)

2011 None

Armwood’s 3 losses in the last 3 seasons have come to the eventual State Champion in their classification or above. The Hawks only scored an average of 12 points/game in those losses.

Plant Losses:

2009 Regular season: Tampa Bay Tech 32-30 (5A District 7 Champs, State: 46, National: 628)

2010 Regular season: @ Abilene, TX 27-17 (TX 5A State Semifinalist, State: 24, National: 158)

Regular Season: Armwood 17-0 (4A State Runner-up, State: 5, National: 40)

State Title game: St. Thomas Aquinas 29-7 (5A State Champion, State: 1, National: 4)

2011 Regular Season: @ Armwood 21-0 (6A State Finalist, State: 2, National: 16)

In the 5 losses the Panthers only scored 10.8 points/game and in the last 4 losses the scoring dropped to 6 points/game.

Doug Pugh and Eric Clark talk about: The Most Impressive Player of the 2011 season each has seen in person.

Impressive: making or tending to make a marked impression: having the power to excite attention, awe, or admiration.

Doug Pugh

By definition there’s no possible way to quantify the amount of times I was “impressed” by something this season. I’ve seen things that have left impressions both positively and negatively. Who stood out the most to me? I had to figure out if this was something that was based on their season overall or something that was mutually exclusive of their total body of work. Felt like I needed to keep this confined to single-games vs. the entire schedule.

Have to make it both on a local level and a state level. In Pinellas, the most impressive performance I saw this season was Tyler Lane’s 4 TD game against Tarpon Springs. Lane rushed for 157 yards on 21 carries (which by many standards is a pretty darn good night, but nothing like the Duke Johnson 377 yard performance) however it was the way in which each TD was scored. Every single TD run he made was beastmode that night.

The player that left the biggest impression to me on the Hillsborough side goes to Chamberlain’s Xavier Johnson against Bloomingdale. Johnson carried the ball 25 times for 155 yards and 2 TDs in the losing effort, but the simple fact this young man went on to rush for 1,736 yards for a 1-9 team is astonishing to me. There’s only one word to describe the way he ran that night and that’s authority. There’s not a single coach that couldn’t use a RB like that.

On the state level, the two most impressive young men were easily RB Greg Bryant from American Heritage and LB Matthew Thomas from Booker T. Washington. I counted ONE time that Bryant failed to shed not the first, but second tackler on his way to a state title. In the 4A title game, Thomas was everywhere getting credited for 15 tackles. His size (6’ 4” 210lbs) and the fact he’s still a junior means he’s on every major programs wish list.

Eric Clark

Going up and down the list of guys I have seen this year I always look for those guys that are just physically dominating and can take games over. They don’t have to be on teams that are still playing in December but it helps if this player has been able to do what others could not.

Based off of that criteria the most impressive player I have seen all year was none other than Delray Beach American Heritage RB Greg Bryant. Bryant a junior rushed for 247 yards on 39 carries and 3 TDs in the state title game against tough nosed Madison County Cowboys (KERR DOGS).

Wait a minute though… This has indeed been the year of impressive running backs all over the state, but that must also mean that the offensive linemen have been doing something too right?

Enter American Heritage OT senior Kelly Parfitt (6’ 6” 300 lbs) and junior Roderick Johnson (6’6” 285 lbs). These guys essentially dominated the line of scrimmage from start to finish. They are also mobile for their size. Bryant is an excellent running back, but running behind guys like these two it’s almost impossible to not run for 2000 yards.

One more nugget for an offensive lineman on a much less talented team yet can still hold up the state title trophy is Georgia commit John Theus (6’6 300) of the Bolles School. This guy is a road grader and is simply a wall. All I want to know is WHAT ARE THEY FEEDING THESE KIDS!!!

Chris Girandola’s most impressive offensive player he has seen:

Despite the loss to Admiral Farragut, Glades Day running back Kelvin Taylor proved to be everything advertised and then some. Taylor is a spitting image of his dad, Fred, both in the face, the body and the way he plays. In fact, the 6-foot, 190-pound record-setting halfback looks like he should be a junior in college, not a junior in high school.

Despite having to face a defense that loaded the box all night in the state semifinals, Taylor ripped off 168 yards and two touchdowns. He touched the ball on every rushing series until the last two minutes of the game and demonstrated the brute strength and athleticism that his dad did.

If the NFL had an early entry like Major League Baseball or the National Basketball Association, I’m positive Taylor would be able to succeed as an 18-year-old in the pro ranks.

Kyle Bennett talks about the most impressive defensive player he has seen:

Mike Tate [Plant LB 6′ 0″ 160 lbs]

Mike Tate is an animal. He has a keen nose for the ball and is one of the surest tacklers in the state. Tate leads the Panthers in tackles. Tate leads the county in tackles. Tate is the leading tackler in all of the state of Florida.

With 199 tackles, and a state championship still to play, Tate will likely be well over 200 tackles on the year (he’s averaging 14 tackles per game). Additionally the 6-foot senior has 11 sacks, 2 interceptions, 5 caused fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.

Offensively Tate is a bruising fullback who scored his first touchdown last week against Fletcher.

Jeff’s ‘Out of No Where’ Player

2014 RB – Shyheem Barthel – Steinbrenner

Barthel came out of nowhere to take charge of a beat up Warriors backfield midway through the season. While an elbow injury cost him the last part of the season, Barthel’s speed and “run ’til the whistle blows” mentality was a big help for Steinbrenner, especially when it counted against good teams. Look for him to emerge as a star in his next two seasons, as the Warriors prime themselves to become a force in Class 7A-District 7.

Hanna’s ‘Out of No Where’ Player

2015 DB – Josh Engram – Strawberry Crest

Engram is possibly the BEST freshman player in the Bay Area. This “rookie” will play any position he is put into by his coaches, whether offense, defense or special teams. He also has a willingness to learn and wants his world to revolve around football.

He was voted on by his own teammates to be a defensive captain this season and definitely lived up to the title in the eyes of the players and the coaches. Every coach on staff will tell you that he is one of the most coachable talented players they have worked with.

On field, his accomplishments show of a mature football player and not of the average freshman player on varsity. At their banquet, he was presented with numerous awards: Most Impact Player, Coaches Award, Defensive Player of the Year, and a Captain’s Award.

Engram is definitely one kid that will be making a name for himself throughout the following three years.