Florida State wide receivers coach and Tampa Bay recruiter Lawrence Dawsey liked what he saw.
In Tampa last Friday night to watch the
vs. Alonso (Tampa)
district showdown, Dawsey was concerned about the nagging ankle injury that had been limiting future Seminole (and current Plant) standout running back James Wilder, Jr
But Wilder shook that off to torch Alonso for 118 yards and three touchdowns in one half of play.
The Panthers won 34-7 and all but wrapped up the Class 5A, District 5 crown and a trip to the playoffs to begin defense of their state championship.
“Just checking on my investment,’’ Dawsey said. “He’s looks good. Just have to keep all these (linebacker) hits off him.’’
But Wilder was not the only Tampa Bay-area standout to enjoy a fantastic recent outing. Jefferson (Tampa)
quarterback Quentin Williams
became Hillsborough County’s career yardage passing leader. With his 202-yard effort against Spoto (Riverview), Williams now has 8,136 yards in his career, breaking the mark of former Jefferson and current University of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia (8,081).
With two more touchdown passes, Williams will pass current Georgia starter and Plant alum Aaron Murray’s county career mark of 84 touchdowns.
Williams, with 30 touchdown passes this season, also has his eyes on Murray’s state record of 51 touchdown passes in a single season. He also has an outside shot at former Plant and current Purdue quarterback Robert Marve’s single-season state record of 4,380 yards.
Other standouts this season include St. Petersburg
running back Rashad Lewis'
1,194 yards and Bay area-best 20 touchdowns. Newsome (Lithia)
fullback Conner Powers
has bulled his way to a Bay area-high 1,272 yards along with 15 touchdowns - all that after missing most of last season with a knee injury.
And Spoto (Riverview)
wide receiver Tyron Baker
has been almost unstoppable. He leads the area with 47 receptions for 919 yards and 14 touchdowns – in eight games.
And as for defense, Armwood has no peers. The Hawks D has:
• Allowed 28 points in seven games.
• Posted three shutouts.
• Allowed more than one score in just one game.
• Enjoyed an average margin of victory of 39-4.BEST OF THE BAY AREA ARMWOOD (Seffner) 7-0 –
The Hawks gave up their first points since Sept. 16, but still managed to beat Hillsborough (Tampa) by three touchdowns and wrap up their fourth straight district title. Hosting Gaither this week.JEFFERSON (Tampa) 7-0 –
Prolific offense led by Williams and his stable of weapons beat district rival Spoto (Riverview) 54-18 to move closer to league crown. Hosting Dixie Hollins (St. Petersburg) this week. ST. PETERSBURG 7-0 –
The Green Devils have had an extra week to prep for Friday’s showdown with Northeast (St. Petersburg) in a game to decide the Class 5A-9 district championship. PLANT (Tampa) 6-2 –
The Panthers may be rounding into form at the right time, evidenced by a 34-7 thrashing of Alonso (Tampa). Off this week.JESUIT (Tampa) 6-0 –
Cruising Tigers need to beat Middleton (Tampa) this week to take the Class 2A-5 crown. ROBINSON (Tampa) 6-1 –
Robinson, coming off a 50-21 crushing of Lennard (Ruskin), wants a piece of the 2A-5 pie as well. The Knights can inch closer Friday with a win at Steinbrenner (Lutz). BRANDON 6-1 –
The hard-running Eagles were stymied in a disappointing 24-6 league loss to Tampa Bay Tech. Will take it out on Chamberlain (Tampa) this week. PASCO (Dade City) 7-0 –
The Pirates won the battle of Pasco County with their 20-14 win against rival Land O’ Lakes. A win against Mitchell (New Port Richey) and the 3A-7 crown is theirs. COUNTRYSIDE (Clearwater) 8-0 –
Cougars played outstanding in a 43-12 smashing of Palm Harbor University. Hosting East Lake (Tarpon Springs) for the likely 5A-8 crown.LAND O'LAKES (Land O'Lakes) 6-1 –
The Gators suffered an uncharacteristic four turnovers in their loss to rival Pasco. Now the Gators must win this week at undefeated Sunlake to earn a playoff spot.
Making a push: Largo
6-1, King (Tampa)
6-2, Sunlake (Land O'Lakes)
7-0, Hillsborough (Tampa)
5-3, Admiral Farragut (St. Petersburg)
On the state scene, Armwood (4A) and Jefferson (3A) are ranked No. 1 this week in Florida. Jesuit is ranked fourth in 2A, while St. Petersburg (5th) and Countryside (7th) are state ranked in Class 5A.RECRUITING UPDATE
Largo defensive lineman Adarious Raynor
has verbally committed to Colorado State. A 6-foot-2, 250-pounder, Rayner also has played offensive line.
Meanwhile, Gaither (Tampa)
defensive lineman Chadd Hannah
(6-foot-4, 220 pounds) has picked up his second offer. Hannah, who has six sacks this season, has received an offer from Bowling Green and already has an offer from Rutgers.
In other recruiting news, Pinellas Park (Largo)
volleyball player Andrea Ezell
, a 6-foot-3 middle hitter, has verbally committed to Georgia State, Jesuit (Tampa)
junior baseball catcher/infielder Joey Altieri and Wharton (Tampa)
right handed pitcher Kyle Brett
has verbally committed to the University of Tampa.