Some things are clearer. Some things are cloudier than a December day in Seattle. Hillsborough County definitely got interesting between Thursday and Friday of last week. If it got interesting last week, it’s straight-up Tom Clancy-esque around these parts this week. Big games. No, make that HUGE games on tap for this week. First, let’s recap before putting the cart before the horse. Or is it? Ah nevermind. Here we go.
Don’t look now, but…Gaither es en fuego. That means they’re like playing good football and stuff. I had them buried after 2 games. Guess that makes me as accurate as a meteorologists, fantasy football analysts, and Congress. After starting out 1-2, the Cowboys have won four-straight and they’ve done it by an average score of 32-6. Dadgum East Bay game at 17-16 ruined the average too, which means Gaither is absolutely crushing their opponents at the moment. What started the season as an offense that was downright offensive, just put up over 300 yards against Freedom last week and will hope to keep it going vs. Chamberlain this week. Don’t want to get ahead of myself, but of you listen real close you’ll hear the sound of a “Clash With the Titans” off in the distance. But more on that next week…
Say what?!…is going on in Plant City at the moment?Okay, so the Alonso game they score 9 and win, then give up 36 to East Bay the following week…but win. Notice I said “win” at the end of each of those, but if you want to play with the big boys, or at least be considered a favorite to make it to the regional finals or beyond, you’ve got to be ready for a little criticism that comes with the territory. This sort of up and down isn’t going to work fellas. East Bay may not be Sisters-of-the-poor, but you can’t give up 36 to Lakeland and think you can win can you? Can you?! I don’t think you can give up 36 to anybody left on your schedule (Brandon, Newsome, and TBT) and keep that record at 10-0. Let me just say that Bennie Coney is an absolutely freakish player at the QB position, but Dazmond Patterson is without question the heart & soul of that squad. Put some of the weight on his shoulders too. He’s just as special as Bennie.
I’ve found the small school version of Loyola-Marymount or the Phoenix Suns or anybody that doesn’t feel comfortable unless they’re halfway to 100 points. If you subscribe to the theory that defense wins championships, then may I suggest that you skip down to the next paragraph. Carrollwood Day is averaging 45 points a game and they’re headed across the bridge to play Indian Rocks Christian this Friday who is averaging 44 points a game. Neither team is going to the playoffs, but CDS managed to put up an average of 30 points on two of the state’s best 2A teams in Admiral Farragut (41) and Canterbury (20). Haven’t figured out what’s going to happen this week, but one things for certain. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count that high, and this may be the first time someone literally scores a TD while getting off the bus. Get your popcorn ready. And your Abacus.
Is there any doubt that Berkeley Prep could beat half of the teams in Pinellas and Hillsborough County? A rhetorical question, but there’s plenty of reasons to be excited about the Buccaneers potential run. After their 21-0 shutout in front of a television audience and Charlie Weiss sitting underneath the goalposts like Tony Soprano sitting in front of Bamonte’s in Williamsburg (That’s Brooklyn, not Virginia), Coach Ciao and his merry band of swashbucklers are ready to start preparing for their run to Orlando. Even though it’s still the regular season, but they’re ready. They get First Academy this week, one of the best teams in 3A and with only one loss to 5A Bishop Moore who is potential 1st Rd opponent of Robinson or Lakewood. This won’t be easy folks. The 4 teams in the bracket beneath Berkeley are a combined 28-1 right now. Cardinal Newman, University, Chaminade-Madonna, and American Heritage could all finish .500 or better in some 8A districts in this state, let alone 3A. Ask East Lake about Trinity Catholic. 3A is pound-for-pound (next to 5A and 6A) the 3rd best classification in this state. The Bucs will have made some serious history if they’re holding the trophy in December. Good luck fellas! Oh yeah, Nelson Agholor. He good.
Speaking of district championships, let’s congratulate Armwood and Plant on their crowns achieved by their wins over Hillsborough and Alonso respectively. Cool. The sun just came up in the East y’all, now let’s get to the fun part. Not only do they play this week, (which I will get to shortly), but we can now begin to map out the 1st couple of rounds for our two behemoths. Plant looks like they will play host to either Dr. Phillips, Boone, or Freedom. Not sure who just yet, because Dr. Phillips is digressing quicker than USF, but Freedom lost to Boone this last week and has yet to play DPHS. Most likely it’s Boone coming to South Tampa since it’s highly unlikely Freedom beats Phillips. Second Rd. gets interesting. Armwood most likely gets Lakewood Ranch and will face the winner of Largo-Hillsborough which is sure to be one of the best games in the state the 1st week in my opinion.
I believe the word “crunk” is an appropriate adjective for this week’s action. The statewide and somewhat national circus is coming to Seffner when “you know who” plays “you know who.” What? I was talking about Seffner Christian vs. Cambridge Christian. Kidding. Let’s not avoid the 3-ton pink elephant currently sipping scotch on your couch any longer. I know this game isn’t for any district title, but it couldn’t have been scheduled at a more perfect time. Plant is now fully into their push towards excellence as the season progresses, and Armwood is rolling along with a defense that could probably hold the Miami Dolphins or the Jaguars to a FG until the 3rd or 4th Quarter. Again I kid, well, not really about the Jags but the Hawks will need every ounce of that defense to beat Plant. Nowhere near a prediction, but if this game is played on some sort of EA Sports Simulator, I’d have to believe the final score looks like Plant’s 12-7 win over Bergen Catholic. Not saying if it’s the same team on the winning side or not though. At least not yet.
Game(s) of the Week: Aside from the aforementioned CDS at Indian Rocks Christian game, and the Plant at Armwood clash, I’d like to give you 1 non-district, and 2 district games that will be sure to not disappoint.
Alonso (5-2) at Tampa Catholic (6-1) : Great matchup. I’ve seen both and this game could see multiple 100+ rushers. Ish Witter and Brandon Holloway for Alonso, and Jordan Rich-Rogers for TC could run farther than Forrest Gump leaving the scoreboard operator just as tired as the rest of us. Alonso finishes with TC, Wharton (for a playoff spot) and Sickles. They go 3-0 or 2-1 (as long as the one loss is not Wharton) and the Ravens have soared above expectations. The Crusaders must pull of the NC State v Phi Slamma Jamma style upset vs. Berkeley to have a shot at the postseason and then head down the street to Jesuit to finish. Not an easy order.
Lakewood (6-1) at Robinson (6-1): 2nd best game in all of Pinellas and Hillsborough. Not much hype needed. Between the district implications, the pregame fanfare in Port Tampa, the food, and the Lakewood Marching Band, this one may provide more entertainment than a Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias Concert. The Spartans are salty after their golden opportunity lost to seize the 8-5A Title outright against Jesuit. Winner of this game can start getting ready for Bishop Moore in the 1st Round. Robinson still has Plant and Lakewood still has St. Petersburg, but let’s face it, the playoffs are what this is about.
King (3-4) at Hillsborough (5-2): So maybe this isn’t what we were thinking exactly when we looked at this one in the middle of August, but that’s not going to stop this game from being on the short list for most fireworks. Chelo Huerta and Seminole Heights will be rocking this Friday. The Big Red would like to get this over with, take their BYE, then use Chamberlain as their prep for the 1st Rd against Largo. What they don’t like is the idea of Greg Windham with time to throw and a King team that would consider it Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Easter rolled into one if they were to beat Hillsborough and give them a reason to doubt themselves. The Terriers escaped with a win against the Lions last year on their home field and what no part of that sort of drama this year.