Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Oct.7-Friday, Oct. 13. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.
Jessica Angelo, volleyball, Palm Harbor University: The junior outside hitter had 15 kills in the final of the PCAC championship against Tarpon Springs. The Hurricanes won 2-1 for their third straight PCAC title.
Amara Eziakonwa, volleyball, Wharton: The junior middle hitter had seven kills in two games against King in the Wharton tournament last weekend to win the title. It was King’s first loss of the season. She also had nine kills against Hillsborough in the final match of the regular season.
Chloe Grimm, swimming, Sunlake: The sophomore sprinter won the 50 free (23.93), the 100 free (52.72) and was part of the winning 200 free relay (1:42.08), all with record-setting times at the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet. …Full Story
ZEPHYRHILLS —Zephyrhills Christian Academy was taken a little bit by surprise when Carrollwood Day requested that their non-district matchup be moved up a day early. The Warriors obliged and Thursday night came out full of surprises, as Zephyrhills Christian picked off three passes and returned a fumble for a touchdown in a 56-16 rout of Carrollwood Day (2-3) on homecoming night. Full Story
Key plays: Many were made by defenders on Zephyrhills Christian's defense, with junior linebacker Javan Smith picking off a Chris Butash pass and returning it 35 yards for the game's first score. ... Also returning an interception for a touchdown was junior cornerback Tommy Scott in the third quarter. ... Butash scored the Patriots' first touchdown with 31.5 seconds before halftime on a 3-yard scamper. …
EAST LAKE – Five days ago, East Lake traveled to Waycross, Ga., for a regular-season game. The Eagles returned from the 526-mile trip with their playoff hopes in limbo after the Florida High School Athletic Association ruled the team used an ineligible player and had to forfeit its first three games, including two wins.
The school self-reported the infraction and is appealing the decision.
There was no time to dwell on what happened. East Lake had to get ready for a game this week against bitter rival Tarpon Springs.
It was the Spongers who notified East Lake of the infraction.
The game was supposed to be held Monday but a transformer blew up, causing a power outage in the East Lake area and forcing the game to be moved to Tuesday.
That only added to the drama leading up to the game.
The Eagles took out their frustrations, pounding the Spongers in a 34-7 victory.
The win was East Lake’s ninth straight in the series, the longest streak by any team. …Full Story
Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Sept. 30-Friday, Oct. 6. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.
Cameron Fitzpatrick, volleyball, Clearwater Central Catholic: The senior outside hitter had 24 kills, including the final kill in the fifth game, in a 3-2 win over Tarpon Springs on Tuesday. She leads the team with 185 kills.
Mariella Haimes, volleyball, Mitchell: The senior outside hitter/libero, had 15 kills and 26 digs combined in two wins over district rival Springstead.
Jenna Hampton, volleyball, Berkeley Prep: The senior outside hitter had nine kills, eight digs and two aces in a win over Illinois Lincoln-Way East in the silver bracket final of the Chicago Asics tournament on Sept. 30.
Bailey Hertenstein, cross country, Newsome: The senior took first in the flrunners.com race of champions in 18 minutes, 10.36 seconds, more than three seconds ahead of former teammate Alyssa Hendrix of Riverview. …Full Story
Scott Purks | Special to the Times
With four minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter last Thursday, a brawl broke out between players from Middleton and Jefferson.
The Florida High School Athletic Association fined Jefferson and Middleton a combined $2,250 and placed both football programs on administrative and restrictive probation stemming from a fight between players in a game last week.
The fight, which included Middleton players leaving the bench, occurred in the third quarter last Thursday night with the Dragons leading 17-3. The referees halted play.
The players involved received suspensions ranging from one to six weeks. There has not been a decision by administrators for a makeup date to play the rest of the suspended game, which is a district contest.
Middleton did not have any footage from the incident. Jefferson’s film was from the end zone, making it hard to determine everyone involved. On Sept. 29, a day after the brawl, school and Hillsborough County administrators met with the official who filed the report to review the film and identify the players.
In the FHSAA report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, the names of the players were redacted.
Jefferson was fined $700. Three players were suspended for six weeks; the other was suspended for one game. …Full Story
Monica Herndon| Times
Wesley Chapel's Isaiah Bolden is off the team.
Wesley Chapel's Isaiah Bolden, one of the top players in the Tampa Bay area, was dismissed from the team on Tuesday, Wildcats coach Tony Egan said.
Bolden, a four-star recruit who has already committed to Oregon, said there was an incident Tuesday that led to his dismissmal. Egan said it was for "undisclosed reasons."
After transferring from Bartram Trail last year, Bolden helped Wesley Chapel go 7-2 and nearly make the playoffs.
This season, Bolden was used in a variety of ways, but he made his biggest impact on defense and special teams. He returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown and a punt 93 yards for a score. The Wildcats are 4-2 heading into Friday's game against Ridgewood.
Bolden said his family is trying to talk to the coaching staff to see if the situation can be rectified.
"I really don't know what's going on right now," Bolden said.
Any chance of returning would be up to the school's administrators according to Egan.
"(Tuesday) at practice he was sent home and told he was off the team," Egan said. "I don't know if he'll be able to return. I'll have to talk more with him, his family and our administration."Full Story
BROOKSVILLE – The historic 24-game regular-season win streak was snapped for Nature Coast only four nights ago, but the Sharks escaped Tuesday night at Central with another important streak still intact.Full Story
The Sharks have won 12 consecutive games against Hernando County rivals, but Central came out fast and jumped on Nature Coast, leading 14-0 midway through the second quarter. In a game rescheduled because of Hurricane Irma last month, the Bears looked hungry in this crucial mid-week Class 5A, District 7 contest.
Key plays: The Bears (2-3, 1-2) received the opening kickoff and struck quickly. Central QB Izzy Zena tossed a 49-yard bomb to Central WR Isaiah Brown less than two minutes into the game. … Down 28-26, the Bears milked nearly six minutes off the clock before attempting a 30-yard field goal from the right hash mark. Zena, who had yet to attempt a field goal in his two seasons as the team’s placekicker, had plenty of distance on the attempt but missed just right. … After holding Nature Coast (3-1, 2-0) to a fourth down and 2, Central was out of timeouts, so Sharks coach Cory Johns elected to go for the first down to ice the game. The gutsy call paid off with Nature Coast QB Fabian Burnett gaining 3 yards to cement the win.
Key drive: Nature Coast RB Mike Weston (11 carries, 99 yards) sat during the first half of the game due to a violation of team rules, but in his first action of the second half, his 30-yard run set up a 26-yard touchdown from Burnett to TE Willie Coffey. The score represented the lone points of the third quarter for either team and put the Sharks ahead 21-20, the team’s first lead of the night.
Stars of the night: Brown looked as polished an any receiver to come out of this area. Not only did he high-point catch the 49-yard deep ball to start things for the Bears, but his second touchdown was even more impressive. On fourth and goal, Zena threw a back-shoulder fade to the sophomore. The defensive back batted the ball in the air, but Brown, showing great focus, snagged the pass and got his feet down for the score. The sophomore already has 31 receptions for 491 yards and eight touchdowns halfway through the campaign. … Zena was the dual threat that coaches on the Central sideline have come to expect. He not only went 5-of-19 passing for 122 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but did even more damage with his legs, rushing for 145 yards on 14 carries. … Burnett (15 carries, 144 yards, one touchdown) gashed the Bears defense on more than one occasion. He also connected on 4-of-6 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. … Coffey scored three of the Sharks’ four touchdowns. Replacing Weston for most of the first half in the backfield, he rushed five times for 51 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 52 yards and two touchdowns.
Key stats: While Central is now 5-9 all-time in the series with Nature Coast, the Bears had lost the previous eight meetings by an average score of 49-7. This was the first competitive meeting between the two in years. … The Bears could easily be 5-0. With this two-point loss, Central has lost its three games by a combined four points (21-20 to Springstead, 34-33 to Weeki Wachee). … Nature Coast fumbled eight times, losing six. The Sharks also had 13 penalties for 110 yards on the night.
Final word: “When you turn the ball over six times, you can’t really expect to be in anything else but a tight game. We turned the ball over three times last week, but that was in the pouring rain. I can’t explain what happened (Tuesday night).” – Johns
CLEARWATER — Both Tarpon Springs and Clearwater Central Catholic were hoping for a competitive match Tuesday night in preparation for postseason tournaments. They got what they wanted.
The Spongers took the first two games, but the Marauders came back to win the final three and take the match 24-26, 16-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-7 on senior night. This was the third straight five-game match for CCC and the fourth this season. The Marauders are now 2-2 in five-game matches.
“This is probably the youngest team that I’ve had,” said CCC coach Stephen Shepherd, who has two seniors on the roster. “So with that, they are up here, and then they’re down here. Every match against good competition has gone five, which is great for us because we are growing quickly.”
The first game was an indication of how things would go the rest of the night. The game was tied eight times with no team holding more than a five-point lead. With the score tied at 24, Spongers outside hitter Mackenzie Dufresne had a kill and CCC had a kill attempt go wide to end the game.
“We had 17 errors in that first game,” Shepherd said. “That’s way too many points to give to a good team.” …Full Story
TAMPA — Blake played its second game in four days while Hillsborough suited up for the second time in five days. So, rust and mistakes were bound to happen on Monday night.
The Terriers (3-2, 2-0) defeated the Yellow Jackets 42-10 in a game that featured 42 total penalties.
Blake (3-2, 0-2) held a 2-0 lead until midway through the second quarter. However, Hillsborough used a hard-nosed rushing attack and a solid overall performance from its defense to pull away after that.
Key plays: Ahead 7-2, the Terriers shifted momentum their way with a heads-up play to end the second quarter. Junior quarterback Tyler Thomas connected with senior wide receiver Taaj Pringle for a 28-yard touchdown strike. It marked the final play of the first half and gave Hillsborough a 12-point advantage. …Full Story
TAMPA — After losing first three games to open the season, and its last eight dating to last year, Brandon (1-3, 1-0) finally got to celebrate Monday with a 33-0 shutout over King (0-5, 0-2) in a Class 6A, District 7 matchup. Quarterback Tavaris Thomas threw a touchdown and ran for another as the Eagles gave first-year coach Isaac Anderson his first career win.
"This was a win we really needed because of how hard these kids have worked, for our self-esteem and just to build a winning culture here," Anderson said.
Key plays: After Thomas was sacked on fourth down on Brandon's opening drive, Eagles junior Jamal Nash set up his team's first touchdown by returning an interception to the Lions' 3-yard line. J'lon Horton scored four plays later to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead.
Stars of the game: A 5-yard touchdown run by Phillip Harris and Thomas' 10-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Mendez late in the second quarter gave the Eagles a 19-0 lead at halftime. ... Horton and Harry Kanu each added touchdowns in the second half for Brandon. ... The Eagles' Jaylon Godbolt and Asheron Michel each recorded sacks in the defensive effort. …Full Story
Scott Purks | Special to the Times
Armwood quarterback Devin Black looks for running room as Chamberlain linebacker Johnny Walker gives chase. Chamberlain hung tough with the talented Hawks through the first half and trailed only 10-7 heading into the third quarter.
SEFFNER — Armwood is one of the best teams in the state and everybody inTampa Bay knows it. The Hawks have, in fact, flat out intimidated some area teams with their reputation.
The Chiefs came into Monday night’s Class 6A, District 7 contest ready to not only play tough with the Hawks, but to beat them.
And for more than three quarters it was anybody’s ball game before two late touchdowns finally gave Armwood a 24-7 victory.
“Chamberlain is a tough, well-coached team,” Armwood coach Evan Davis said. “We knew they were tough coming into this game and we were concerned.”
The victory puts Armwood (4-0, 2-0) in the district driver’s seat, but the game gave Chamberlain (3-1, 1-1) plenty of good vibes to build on.
“We played fast and we gave it everything we had and I couldn’t be more proud,” Chamberlain coach Jason Lane said. “We see this game as the pre-test and we hope we’ll see (Armwood) in the playoffs for the post-test. We have that goal to play for.”
On Monday, the Hawks struck first after Chamberlain shanked a punt and gave Armwood a first down at the Chiefs’ 26-yard line. Two plays later, Armwood quarterback Devin Black scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. …Full Story
TAMPA – Wiregrass Ranch (5-0, 2-0 District 7A-8) managed to stay undefeated Monday, with a little help from its opponent. Sickles (1-4, 1-2) committed a pair of critical post-play penalties to jump start the Bulls to a 91-yard drive, capped by an Adrian Thomas' 20-yard TD run with 1:07 to play. Sickles threatened to force overtime but was stopped inside the Bulls' 20.
Key plays: Sickles senior quarterback Jake O'Donnell came off the bench to engineer a go-ahead drive, ending with USF commit Jontrey Hunter's 10-yard TD, his second of the night, for a 14-13 lead with 10:22 to play. Even after Thomas' TD and two-point conversion run for Wiregrass, it looked like O'Donnell was poised to play hero again. He found Ricky Meadows for a sensational 33-yard hookup on the left sideline, ran for 11 yards down to the 25 and hit Hunter for a 7-yard gain. But with one second left, Wiregrass LB Nick Gaziano sacked O'Donnell to to end the game. O'Donnell completed his first five passes for 49 yards. …Full Story
RUSKIN — Braxton Plunk passed for 253 yards in a little less than three quarters before exiting with an ankle injury to lead Plant City to a 34-14 victory against Lennard in a Class 7A, District 9 game.
Mario Williams was his favorite target, with eight receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
The victory was the third in a row for Plant City (3-2, 3-0), which has a nondistrict battle with Armwood scheduled for Friday.
Plunk was injured when he was dragged down from behind while running for a first down. Plant City coach James Booth said he believed the injury was just a sprain and that Plunk would be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
Lennard remains winless (0-5, 0-3) and is home to Durant on Friday.
Turning point: Leading by six, 13-7, at halftime, Plant City received the kick to start the second half. After an incompletion on first down, Plunk connected with Williams on a pass behind the line the scrimmage. However, Williams got to the corner, escaped one tackle and sprinted 67 yards for the score that gave Plant City a 20-7 lead. …Full Story
DOVER – Tampa Bay Tech (3-1, 2-0) was dominant on both sides of the ball in a 54-0 shutout over Class 7A, District 9 foe Strawberry Crest (1-4, 0-3). Senior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. remained hot, throwing three touchdowns, giving him a total of eight in the past two games. The Tech defense allowed minus-6 net rushing yards and just two completed passes.
Key plays: The Titans controlled the game from start to finish with Penix connecting with Evan Lewis from 8 yards out on the opening drive for a 6-0 lead. Senior Darren Turner intercepted Strawberry Crest quarterback Jarrett Rappe on the second play of the next drive and returned the ball to the Charger 7-yard line. Penix kept it around end for a score on the following play to put Tech up 13-0. A Penix to Malik Young connection followed by a Treshaun Ward 1-yard plunge put the Titans up 26-0 after one quarter.
Key drives: It was more of the same in the second quarter, with Penix connecting with Levi Jackson from 17 yards out and Jaquavious Johnson scoring the first of two touchdowns on the ground to put Tech up 40-0 at the half. The second half was played with a running clock. …Full Story
TAMPA – It was only the first quarter of Middleton’s game against Bloomingdale, but the defense, having just allowed a 43-yard field goal, tiredly walked of the field and slumped down onto the sideline bench.
“You’re scared,” a coach shouted at them. “You can’t play this game scared.”
But for many of the Tigers, Monday night was the first time they’d seen that much of the field in a high school game.
Last Thursday, a brawl broke out during the third quarter of the Tigers’ matchup with Jefferson. Players from both sidelines got involved, and punches were thrown. The game was immediately halted, and 16 Tigers, including eight defensive starters, were suspended by the school for Monday’s game against the Bulls.
And all night, Bloomingdale capitalized on it.
The Bulls had more than 300 yards of offense Monday night, and running back Levi Williams stole the show, dismantling the Middleton defense on the way to a 36-9 victory.
With only a couple days to prepare for the Tigers since Thursday’s incident, Bloomingdale coach Max Warner said they didn’t make any changes to their game plan based on Middleton suspensions. Quite simply, they wanted to run the ball, and that’s exactly what they did. …Full Story