Compiled By Rod Gipson
Plenty of moves on this week’s poll. Tampa Plant and Tampa Chamberlain swap spots after Plant’s 27-13 win against the previously unbeaten Chamberlain Chiefs. Losses by St. Petersburg Lakewood and Tampa Alonso knock them out of the top 10 while Tampa Wharton and Tampa Catholic, who have both already sealed playoff spots, move in.
More changes are likely by next week as teams go for playoff spots and district titles, including Tampa Hillsborough facing Tampa Bay Tech in a Class 4A, District 11 meeting and Dade City Pasco squaring off against New Port Richey Gulf in Class 3A, District 8.
1. SEFFNER ARMWOOD (9-0) – The Hawks, missing their starting quarterback Mywan Jackson (suspension) and running back Sherman Jessie (sore knee), played six freshmen and still rolled up 459 yards of offense in a 31-14 win against Tampa Freedom. The win captured the Class 4A, District 11 championship for the Hawks.
Up next: hosting Tampa Middleton (2-6)
2. TAMPA PLANT (7-1) – The Panthers move up a notch after upsetting previous No. 2 Chamberlain. Sophomore Phillip Ely passed for 200 yards and a touchdown and backup DeAndre Queen passed for another score as the Panthers outmuscled Chamberlain 27-13. Plant tight end Orson Charles scored all three of his team’s touchdowns (two receiving, one running) in the win. Plant’s meeting at rival Tampa Jefferson this week will determine the Class 4A-10 district champion.
Up next: at Tampa Jefferson (5-3)
3. TAMPA CHAMBERLAIN (8-1) – The Chiefs are looking to regroup after last week’s upset loss to Plant. Especially standout Chamberlain quarterback Dontae Aycock, who was rendered a mere mortal against the stout Plant defense. Still, the Chiefs are the 5A, District 6 champ and will start the postseason at home. However, the Chiefs would like a sharp outing before the postseason and likely will get it against last-place Tampa King.
Up next: hosting Tampa King (3-5)
4. TAMPA HILLSBOROUGH (6-3) – The Terriers needed a win and got it, beating Tampa Gaither 31-14. The win was the first for the Terriers in their last three games – the two losses were to Nos. 1 and 2 Armwood and Plant. That sets up a winner-take-all district meeting against No. 6 Tampa Bay Tech for second playoff spot in Class 4A-11.
Up next: at No. 6 Tampa Bay Tech (7-1)
5. NEW PORT RICHEY GULF (8-0) – Gulf topped Zephyrhills 30-14 and now can focus on its Nov. 7 date with Pasco. After defeating Pasco in 2005 and 2006, the Bucs fell to the Pirates last season. Gulf running back Adrian Golden (area best 1,824 yards and 25 touchdowns) and his teammates face district rival Pasco this year with plenty at stake – the Class 3A, District 8 championship and a home playoff game. The loser will start the postseason on the road.
Up next: at No. 7 Dade City Pasco (7-1)
6. TAMPA BAY TECH (7-1) – The dominant Titans’ defense held Tampa Middleton to 50 yards of offense in a 35-7 thrashing. Now the Titans will host no. 4 Hillsborough for a shot at advancing to the playoffs, somewhere the Titans have not been since the 2001 season.
Up next: hosting No. 4 Tampa Hillsborough (6-3)
7. DADE CITY PASCO (7-1) – Pasco coach Tom McHugh said it best after his Pirates defeated Wesley Chapel Wiregrass Ranch 33-7 last week, stating that Pasco has been preparing for Gulf all year. Pasco gets their chance this week as the unbeaten Buccaneers travel across the county to face their 3A-8 district rival.
Up next: hosting No. 5 New Port Richey Gulf (8-0)
8. LARGO (7-1) – The Packers have rebounded well from their upset loss to St. Petersburg Lakewood three weeks ago. Largo has won its past two games by a combined score of 78-9 to re-establish itself as a Pinellas County power heading into the playoffs. Still, the Packers need a win to claim the Class 5A-10 district title.
Up next: hosting St. Petersburg Gibbs (4-4).
9. TAMPA WHARTON (7-2) – The Wildcats return to the top 10 for the first time in several weeks after continuing its turnaround this season. After an 0-2 start, the Wildcats have reeled off seven straight wins. Most recently, the Wildcats pounded Class 6A Riverview 36-17. Now Wharton wants to put a stamp on its season with a Class 5A-5 district title but Gaither stands in the way.
Up next: hosting Tampa Gaither (4-5)
10. TAMPA CATHOLIC (6-2) – The Crusaders pounded Ruskin Lennard 31-0 for their sixth straight win. A huge shift from its 0-2 start two months ago. The win also earned Tampa Catholic its third straight Class 2A, District 5 championship. Coach Bob Henriquez’s team is beginning to look like the squad that advanced to the Class 2A title game.
Up next: hosting Fort Myers Bishop Verot (6-2)
ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN…
Tampa Alonso (6-3)
St. Petersburg Lakewood (6-2)
Tampa Jefferson (5-3)
Lithia Newsome (7-2)
Land O’ Lakes (6-2)
Valrico Bloomingdale (6-2)
St. Petersburg (6-2)
Palm Harbor University (6-2)
Tampa Gaither (4-5)