They may not be playoff foes anymore, but it is still Armwood vs. Plant.
The two best teams in the Tampa Bay area (a combined five state championships since 2003) will meet again Friday at Plant. And while Armwood (Seffner)
comes into the contest its usual dominant self (a 3-0 start with a 41-point average margin of victory), two-time defending state champ Plant (Tampa)
has been struggling.
Plant is 3-1, but looked un-Plantlike while letting a fourth-quarter lead slip away in a 27-17 loss on national television at Abilene (Texas). Plant also was shellacked in its preseason game, also televised to the nation on ESPN. Manatee (Bradenton) had its way with the Panthers in a 48-10 blowout.
But not all is bad for the Panthers.
In its 56-6 crushing of Riverview last week, Plant registered 42 first-quarter points. Quarterback Phillip Ely
has returned from a lower leg injury and running back James Wilder, Jr.
is as dominant as ever, piling up 400 yards and five touchdowns in four games this so far this season.
But as dominant as Armwood has been (wins by the counts of 54-0, 38-6, 42-7), the Hawks did receive some bad news last week. Standout wide receiver AJ King
(a Purdue commitment) is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Other top Bay area games this week include 4-0 Jesuit (Tampa)
at 3-0 Robinson (Tampa)
in Class 2A, District 5. Also, Sickles (Tampa)
at 3-1, tries to rebound from a 23-0 spanking at Largo against a strong-running Brandon
Also, 3-1 Lakewood (St. Petersburg)
plays at 4-0 Countryside (Clearwater)
and 3-1 Palm Harbor University (Palm Harbor)
is at 4-0 St. Petersburg
. BEST OF THE BAY AREA ARMWOOD (Seffner) 3-0 –
Another game, another dominant win. Hawks pounded Wharton 54-6 but lost standout wide receiver A.J. King for the season to a knee injury. This week: County showdown at Plant (Tampa).JEFFERSON (Tampa) 4-0 – Jefferson (Tampa)
has a Tampa Bay-area best 191 points in four games this season. They’ll add to that total this week at Wharton (Tampa). ROBINSON (Tampa) 3-0 –
Returner Frankie Williams
set a school record with his fifth career kickoff return for a touchdown as the Knights beat Middleton 48-6. Class 2A, District 5 showdown at unbeaten Jesuit is next. PLANT (Tampa) 3-1 –
After a routine win against Riverview, 56-6, Plant will get another test against a top team when it faces Armwood Friday night. ST. PETERSBURG 4-0 –
The Green Devils’ train keeps rolling with a 61-14 blasting of Seminole. Hosting Palm Harbor University this week. COUNTRYSIDE (Clearwater) 4-0 –
The Cougars stayed unbeaten with 44-7 win against Dunedin. Will host an interesting Lakewood (St. Petersburg) team this week. BRANDON 4-0 –
Ran over East Bay (Gibsonton) for 28-14 win. Will try to do the same against a Sickles group trying to rebound. JESUIT (Tampa) 4-0 –
Pounded Steinbrenner (Lutz) 49-14. Hosts district rival Robinson Friday with visions of last season’s 50-10 dismantling fresh on its mind. LAND O’ LAKES 3-0 – Land O'Lakes
had little trouble with Zephyrhills in a 38-7 win. Will play at Gulf (New Port Richey) this week. SICKLES (Tampa) 3-1 –
Gryphons have to quickly get over last week’s disappointing 23-0 thrashing at district foe Largo. Hosting a hard-running, unbeaten Brandon team this week. On deck: Pasco (Dade City)
3-1, Tampa Bay Tech
2-2, Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville)
3-0, Lennard (Ruskin)
4-0. BAY AREA VOLLEYBALL HAPPENINGS
National volleyball powerhouse Berkeley Prep (Tampa)
met its match Saturday during the championship match of its Berkeley Premiere national tournament.
Facing another power program, Mercy (Louisville, Ky.)
, Berkeley fell 3-2. Mercy topped the Buccaneers 21-25, 25-21, 25-17, 16-25, 19-17.
Ranked no. 1 in the nation by Max Preps, Berkeley lost for the first time this season. Berkeley hitter Jordan Burgess
posted 44 kills en route to being named the tournament MVP. Berkeley Prep (12-1) next plays at the ASICS Challenge national tournament in Chicago.
Also, Lakewood (St. Petersburg)
captured the title at the Hillsborough Community College High School Invitational tournament. Led by hitter Berkeley Wheley, a University of Florida commitment, Lakewood overcame a three-way tie for first with Tampa Academy of Holy Names and Bloomingdale (Valrico) to take the tournament crown.