Recap: Team, Coaching and “The Showstopper”

Jesuit vs. Lakewood
Team effort: Jesuit showcased their brilliance at simplistic excellence against Lakewood. Huh? You’re probably asking, or if you’ve seen the Tigers play, you’re probably nodding your head in agreement. Listen, the Tigers aren’t going to get mistaken for an Armwood team that can be downright abusive to other teams, but the beauty of Jesuit is their consistency, efficiency and proficiency. Heading into the contest against Lakewood, many wondered if the offensive line could contain the blitzkrieg of the Spartans’ defensive line. Against Gibbs, Lakewood blitzed often and seemingly always with five-star recruit Dante Fowler demonstrating how dominating he can be. The offensive line of Jesuit not only kept Tommy Eveld upright most of the game, it demoralized Fowler, who did not record a sack and came away with just three tackles. When Eveld was rushed, the Tom Brady impersonator managed to wiggle away and either pass for a first down or run for one. The balanced offensive attack — 137 rushing yards, 145 passing yards — kept the Spartans on their heels, allowing Travis Johnson to account for 139 receiving yards and Will Lucas (72 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Kevin Newman (47 yards, one TD) to dominate the running game. On the defensive side, the Tigers gave the home team an immediate mountain to climb when Nick Otheguy picked off Lakewood quarterback Tracy Johnson’s pass and return it 75 yards for a touchdown early in the first quarter. Much can be said about Lakewood’s mistakes and lack of composure for losing this game, but I think it was Jesuit’s ability to keep Johnson from getting into a rhythm. While Johnson managed to record three touchdowns, he completed less than half of his passes (16-for-36, 1 INT) and was forced out of the pocket several times.

Coach: Midway through the second quarter, Jesuit coach James Harrell sternly requested one of his assistants on the sidelines to radio up to the press box and have offensive coordinator Ty Alvarez to “come down to the field, now.” Harrell wasn’t necessarily at odds with the play-calling; he just was fed up with the technological connection. His assistants smoothed things over and Alvarez stayed up in the box for the rest of the half. Apparently, though, whatever “miscommunication” was corrected as the Tigers opened the second half with a methodical 15-play, 85-yard drive resulting in two-yard touchdown run by Newman. On one of the plays, Eveld picked up a first down on a third-and-12 play on a quarterback keeper. When Eveld hustled back over to the sidelines to get the next play, Harrell reached up and patted the tall, lanky Eveld on the helmet and said, “Way to go, kid.” There’s something about Harrell’s stoicism and occasional fiery behavior. You can tell it carries over to the team in the way they stay poised, but generate electricity and excitement at just the right time. I keep thinking to myself, “The New England Patriots,” whenever I watch the Tigers carry themselves on and off the field.

The Showstopper: This is a toss-up between Jesuit’s Travis Johnson and Lakewood’s Rodney Adams. Johnson was once again as steady and as reliable as always with six receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. Some of his catches were the routine Johnson-type catch where the 6-foot-4, 200-pound receiver does his Megatron-impersonation. A few of his catches were the highlight-reel variety, including two first-down saving variety — a sliding 31-yard grab and in-between-three-defenders 12-yard snare.

Adams, though, put his name in lights with his eight receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns. The first score was a remarkable, no-he-didn’t play on an over-the-shoulder catch in the corner of the end zone. The second score was just straight speed when Adams blew by the defender on a go route and Tracy Johnson hit him in stride at around midfield. Adams distanced himself and easily score on an 82-yard play. The play brought Lakewood to within a 26-19 deficit with a little over seven minutes left in the game.

Team Effort: Jesuit’s ability to execute plays when they had to along with a physical toughness that I haven’t seen in a long time. They acted like bullies in what can be an intimidating place to play in South St. Pete.

Coach: If Coach Ciao is like the Yoda of Hillsborough County, then James Harrell is the Luke Skywalker of the county. Week in and week out they’re one of the well-prepared teams in the State of Florida, much less Tampa Bay. Some great play calls to by Ty Alvarez mixing up the pass/run to keep Lakewood completely off balance in the 4th Quarter when they had some momentum. Jesuit finished with 144 yards passing, 137 rushing.

Showstoppers: Jesuit’s Travis Johnson with 6 catches for 139 yards and a TD, but William Lucas’ 78 yards on 17 carries and 2TD’s were just as important. Lakewood’s Rodney Adams straight went off. 8 catches, 199 yards and 2TD’s.

Plant vs. Alonso
Team effort: Plant overwhelmed Alonso in all aspects of the game, holding the Ravens to six points, forcing four turnovers and piling on 48 points.

Coach: Coach Robert Weiner and the Panthers clinched their seventh straight district title, but Weiner isn’t satisfied. “The lights only really come on during playoff time,” Weiner said. “And that’s when we’re at our best.”

The Showstopper: We could give this to a number of kids; James Few had his best game of the year completing 17-of-21 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns. Wesley Bullock totaled 154 yards offensive yards with a TD. Tate Rogers had 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery and Patrick Wright had 2.5 sacks while both were constantly in the Ravens’ backfield

Berkeley vs. CCC
Team Effort: Berkeley Prep’s decisive win over CCC was indeed a team effort. They were coached up to a T on how to stop CCC’s running game and it seemed like they were in their huddle all night. You could tell those kids were coached up well and they knew what was coming. Despite being outsized they consistently lived in the CCC backfield and harassed QB Jacob Shade on every pass attempt.

Coach: This was a tail of 2 sides. CCC sideline was not negative but you could tell they were worried as the game plan they put together for 2 weeks was pretty much dashed after the 1st two drives. They were not going to be able to run the ball downhill and use their size to wear BP down. They had no chance of getting to the outside as BP’s defense was extremely fast and flew to the ball on every play.

For BP it was business as usual Coach Ciao runs a tight ship and all guys were on point and doing their job.

Showstopper: The showstopper was none other than Nelson Agholor. Hey carried the ball 24 times for 177 yards and 3TD’s

Team Effort: Tale of two halves. Berkeley scores 21 the first 24 minutes then gets shutout in the 2nd two periods. Kudos to the Marauders Defense. The Buccaneers Defensive Front was manhandling CCC’s which outweighed them. Another strong aspect.

Coach: Deans of Tampa Bay HS football. Ciao and Davis. Coach Davis was not too pleased with his troops, but his staff made the right adjustments at the half. They just don’t have the QB or OL to hang with a team of Berkeley’s caliber.

Showstoppers: Obviously it’s Nelson. Coach Weiss got a chance to see him go 177 yards on 24 carries and 3TD’s. He was helped greatly by a big defensive effort from Schyler Myles, Basil Jackson (5’11 165) and David Wright (5-9/165) who both played down on the line at DT tonight. While they were outweighed by 100lbs they were able to constantly get pressure.

Durant vs. Newsome
Team effort: Durant’s defense played a solid game, holding a Newsome team, averaging 24 points per game, to just 14 points. The combination of Hamilton and Fabrizio proved too much for Newsome, but the Cougar defense flexed their muscle and played very well.

Coach: Even when they were down, Newsome HC was trying to keep his kids motivated. Encouraging them and trying to get his kids to focus on fundamental.

The Showstopper: Durant RB Jamarlon Hamilton – 172 yards, 1 TD, 27 carries. Newsome had no answer for “The Bus”. Hamilton again had an outstanding game. Coming into the Newsome contest, Hamilton had 554 yards.

Strawberry Crest vs. Leto:
Team Effort: Best effort from any side came in the 4th Quarter by the Strawberry Crest Defense. They gave up 23 points in the 3rd Quarter, but absolutely tightened up when they had to.

Coach: Both coaches were doing everything they could to keep their teams focused. Tough situation to keep your players staying positive when they have not tasted winning in so long.

Showstoppers: Strawberry Crest’s Karel Hamilton 3 catches for 75 yards. 179 yards on kickoff returns. Both for touchdowns.

Wharton vs. Bloomingdale
Team Effort: Wharton played well offensively and defensively. The offense used all their weapons and put up points. The defense played well and made some key stops at important times during the game.

Coach: Wharton coaches were very enthusiastic and solid and decisive with their play calling. They knew the importance of this game and coached like it was their last game.

Showstopper: The best player in this game was Wharton RB Darius Paige who had 27 carries, 234 yards and 3TDs.