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Friday night football forecast

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Games of the week

Armwood at Bloomingdale, 7:30

Seating capacity: Game participants (athletes, cheerleaders, band members) were allowed to select four spectators and submit names by this past Wednesday. They must sit together. 

Masks: Required by all fans

Tickets: Online only through HillsboroughSchools.org/athletics

Live stream: Fans can watch for free at identitytb.com

Outlook: The teams played twice last season with the Hawks prevailing in both. The region semifinal win (28-13) was one of the closest games Armwood had all year. One of the biggest storylines has to do with Bloomingdale receiver Agiye Hall, an Alabama commit who played with the Hawks the past two seasons and is going up against his former team. He is part of an influx of transfers that helped the Bulls solidify an already talented roster. Armwood still has plenty of playmakers. Cam’Ron Ransom is back at quarterback. So is receiver Charles Montgomery, a Florida commit. Some of the offensive fireworks could be doused by two of the best defenses in the area. A big key will be how well Bloomingdale’s offensive line does in containing Hawks defensive tackle Desmond Watson, a Florida recruit. 

Pinkos pick: Armwood by 31

Putnam’s prediction: Armwood 20-16

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Clearwater at Jesuit, 7:30

Seating capacity: Each team was given an allotment of tickets to distribute to families in advance. 

Masks: Required

Tickets: Sold out

Live stream: Fans can watch by going to Jesuit’s football Facebook page

Outlook: This was a defensive slugfest last year with the Tornadoes coming through on a goal line stand to preserve the win. Both defenses are still as stingy as ever. The offenses will look a little different, especially at quarterback. Joe Pesansky took over quarterbacking duties for the Tigers and threw for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Fort Myers Bishop Verot. Kamrhen Simpkins, a transfer from Largo, is now Clearwater’s signal caller. 

Pinkos pick: Jesuit by 13

Putnam’s prediction: Clearwater 14-13

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Clearwater Central Catholic at Tampa Catholic, 7

Seating capacity: 500

Masks: Fans need to bring one but only have to wear it when social distancing cannot be practiced. 

Tickets: Sold out. They were available to players, cheerleaders, Crusaderettes and students at school. 

Live stream: Available through Tampa Catholic’s YouTube and Facebook channels.  

Outlook: This is one of the best rivalries in the area. The Marauders have won the past five meetings, four by double digits. The Crusaders have a ton of returnees, including college-bound seniors such offensive linemen Jordan and Jaden Sandlin (FAU), lineman/tight end Cole Essek (Appalachian State) and defensive back DD Snyder (Illinois). CCC, meanwhile, had 20 players graduate from last year’s team and could start as many as 15 sophomores. Still, it is a talented and explosive group. 

Pinkos pick: Tampa Catholic by 3

Putnam’s prediction: Tampa Catholic 20-19

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Tampa Bay Tech at Steinbrenner, 7:30

Seating capacity: Game participants (athletes, cheerleaders, band members) were allowed to select four spectators and submit names by this past Wednesday. They must sit together. 

Masks: Required by all fans

Tickets: Online only through HillsboroughSchools.org/athletics

Live stream: Fans can watch for free at identitytb.com

Outlook: The key matchup will be the Warriors defense, led by lineman Garret Cates, linebackers Austin Brannen and TJ Hubbell and defensive back Matthew Durrance, going up against the Titans passing game, powered by quarterback David Wright and receivers Greg Gaines and Jamari Gassett. 

Pinkos pick: Tampa Bay Tech by 3

Putnam’s prediction: Tampa Bay Tech 27-21

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Calvary Christian at Carrollwood Day, 7

Seating capacity: N/A

Masks: N/A

Tickets: N/A

Live stream: N/A

Outlook: The Patriots, winless last year, broke that streak by beating Northside Christian in last week’s season opener. The roster is completely different with Carrollwood Day benefitting from the addition of several high-profile transfers, including tight end Michael Trigg, a four-star prospect. Calvary Christian has just as much firepower with running back Kai Martin and receiver Richie Ilarraza, a Howard commit, both returning. It will be up to the defenses to stop this one from becoming a shootout. 

Pinko’s pick: Calvary Christian by 32

Putnam’s prediction: Calvary Christian 35-21

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Gaither at Chamberlain, 7:30

Seating capacity: Game participants (athletes, cheerleaders, band members) were allowed to select four spectators and submit names by this past Wednesday. They must sit together. 

Masks: Required by all fans

Tickets: Online only through HillsboroughSchools.org/athletics

Live stream: NFHS Network 

Outlook: The rivals will play twice this year. This one was a late addition after their scheduled opponents, Jefferson and Hillsborough, had to cancel because of a player testing positive for coronavirus. The Cowboys 33-28 win last year snapped a two-game losing streak in the series.Jayden Mendez had a monster game with six catches for 158 yards and three touchdowns. The Chiefs’ Antony Guzman also played well, rushing for more than 90 yards and scoring twice.

Pinko’s pick: Gaither by 25

Putnam’s prediction: Gaither 30-21

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Fivay at River Ridge, 7:30

Seating capacity: There are a limited number of tickets guaranteed for each team. Fans are encouraged to go to their school’s website for more information. 

Masks: Required at all times

Tickets: gofan.com

Live stream: NFHS Network

Outlook: The Royal Knights are 5-1 in the series and have won the past four meetings, including three by shutouts. But the Falcons made dramatic improvements last season, going 7-3 and just missing the playoffs. Melvin Rivera, who had 112 tackles last season, returns at linebacker for Fivay and will be tasked with stopping River Ridge’s passing game, led by quarterback Trenton Hawks.

Pinkos pick: River Ridge by 20

Putnam’s prediction: River Ridge 34-19 

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Pinellas Park at Largo, 7

Seating capacity: Reduced to 25 percent

Masks: Required and must be worn during the game

Tickets: Online only through www.gofan.co

Livestream: NFHS Network or for free at identitytb.com

Outlook: After years of playing in the spring, the two teams met in the regular season last year. The Patriots relied on their running game to win 22-18. Expect another heavy dose of the ground game by Pinellas Park, only this time it will be done by committee rather than with Lawrance Toafili, now a freshman at Florida State. It will be to the Gurney twins, Garrett and Connor, and Zayvion McCluster to stop them. 

Pinko’s pick: Largo by 3

Putnam’s prediction: Pinellas Park 14-13

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Sunlake at Wesley Chapel, 7:30

Seating capacity: There are a limited number of tickets guaranteed for each team. Fans are encouraged to go to their school’s website for more information. 

Masks: Required at all times

Tickets: gofan.com

Live stream: NFHS Network

Outlook: This is one of the area’s most competitive series. The Seahawks lead the series 5-4, including shutouts the past two seasons. The Wildcats do come in with some momentum after winning four of their final six games last season. 

Pinkos pick: Wesley Chapel by 6

Putnam’s prediction: Wesley Chapel 20-14

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Sarasota Riverview at East Lake, 7:30

Seating capacity: Reduced to 25 percent

Masks: Required and must be worn during the game

Tickets: Online only through www.gofan.co

Livestream: NFHS Network

Outlook: The Eagles were supposed to play rival Palm Harbor University but had to switch opponents after a Hurricanes player tested positive for coronavirus. East Lake still is searching for a permanent replacement for quarterback Matt Trotto, who graduated. Four quarterbacks — Jake Bechtel, Mark Brady and Aidan MacLean — will all see playing time against the Rams.

Pinko’s pick: Riverview by 10

Putnam’s prediction: East Lake 21-17

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Durant at Newsome, 7:30

Seating capacity: Game participants (athletes, cheerleaders, band members) were allowed to select four spectators and submit names by this past Wednesday. They must sit together. 

Masks: Required by all fans

Tickets: Online only through HillsboroughSchools.org/athletics

Live stream: NFHS Network

Outlook: If you like running games, this is the rivalry game for you. The Wolves might be better equipped for that earthbound approach, thanks to the return of Jason Albritton, who ran for more than 1,400 yards last season.

Pinko’s pick: Newsome by 14

Putnam’s prediction: Newsome 27-14

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Sickles at East Bay, 7:30

Seating capacity: Game participants (athletes, cheerleaders, band members) were allowed to select four spectators and submit names by this past Wednesday. They must sit together. 

Masks: Required by all fans

Tickets: Online only through HillsboroughSchools.org/athletics

Live stream: NFHS Network

Outlook: Last season’s meeting was a nailbiter with the Indians scoring a touchdown in the first half then holding for a 7-6 victory. This could be another low scoring affair. East Bay should be strong on defense with lineman Ethan Lyons and linebackers Nathan Carter, Jordan Kow and Greg Graham all returning. They will try to stop a Gryphons offense led by quarterback Brandon Dessi, running back Anthony Vega and linemen Nohl Settlemire and Luke Barrow.   

Pinko’s pick: East Bay by 3

Putnam’s prediction: East Bay 16-14

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

Clearwater Academy at Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy, 7

Outlook: It’s becoming a trend for area teams to travel to on powerhouse Brentwood Academy. Clearwater Central Catholic did it last year and lost. The Knights, who have a loaded roster, have the talent to win and help put their program on the national map. 

Pinko’s pick: Clearwater Academy by 7

Putnam’s prediction: Clearwater Academy 28-14

Which team will win?
Which team will win?
Which team will win?

The remaining schedule

Keswick Christian at Bishop McLaughlin, 7

Pinko’s pick: Keswick Christian by 14

Putnam’s prediction: Keswick Christian 17-13

Zephyrills Christian at Bradenton Christian, 7

Pinko’s pick: Zephyrhills Christian by 3

Putnam’s prediction: Zephyrhills Christian 21-7

Cambridge Christian at Northside Christian, 7

Pinko’s pick: Cambridge Christian by 49

Putnam’s prediction: Cambridge Christian 28-21

Dunedin at St. Pete Catholic, 7

Pinko’s pick: Dunedin by 3

Putnam’s prediction: Dunedin 27-10 

Cypress Creek at Osceola, 7

Pinko’s pick: Cypress Creek by 7

Putnam’s prediction: Cypress Creek 21-7

Gibbs at Lakewood, 7

Pinko’s pick: Lakewood by 59

Putnam’s prediction: Lakewood 49-7

Wiregrass Ranch at St. Petersburg, 7

Pinko’s pick: Wiregrass Ranch by 28

Putnam’s prediction: Wiregrass Ranch 34-13

Leto at Alonso, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Alonso by 20

Putnam’s prediction: Alonso 20-6

Middleton at Blake, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Blake by 3

Putnam’s prediction: Middleton 14-12

Brandon at Robinson, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Robinson by 21

Putnam’s prediction: Robinson 37-7

Wharton at Freedom, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Wharton by 25

Putnam’s prediction: Wharton 33-14

Strawberry Crest at King, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: King by 14

Putnam’s prediction: King 7-6

Lennard at Plant, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Plant by 4

Putnam’s prediction: Lennard 28-21

Riverview at Plant City, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Plant City by 21

Putnam’s prediction: Plant City 35-13

Spoto at Sumner, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Spoto by 21

Putnam’s prediction: Spoto 13-6

Anclote at Hudson, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Anclote by 6

Putnam’s prediction: Anclote 21-20

Pasco at Auburndale, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Auburndale by 31

Putnam’s prediction: Auburndale 24-10

Seffner Christian at Lakeland Christian, 7:30

Pinko’s pick: Lakeland Christian by 7

Putnam’s prediction: Lakeland Christian 28-14

Shorecrest at All Saints Academy, 7

Pinko’s pick: All Saints by 37

Putnam’s prediction: All Saints 42-21

Bell Creek Academy at Indian Rocks Christian, 7

Pinko’s pick: IRC by 19

Putnam’s prediction: IRC 30-21

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Flag Football

Sydney Stout reaches 100 touchdown passes — this season

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Robinson quarterback Sydney Stout reached an impressive milestone with her 100th touchdown pass on Monday.   

That is not a career mark.

Stout reached that total this season.

The senior already had shattered the flag football single-season state record of 79 touchdown passes and entered the Class 2A region final needing just three touchdowns to hit triple digits. 

No problem. 

Stout threw four touchdown passes — in the first half. 

She added another in the second half to give her 102, a number that will continue to grow. 

After all, the Knights beat Lecanto 34-0 in the region final. Robinson, which has won state titles in five of the past six seasons (the 2020 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic), advances to the state semifinals on Friday. Stout could end up playing in two more games if the Knights keep their state title streak intact. 

And there’s a good chance of that happening considering Robinson has outscored foes by a combined 816-50 this year.  

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College Football

Former PHU/UCF star Jacob Harris goes to Rams in 4th round

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Jacob Harris, a former star at Palm Harbor University and Central Florida, was taken in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Rams.

Harris, a former soccer standout who did not start playing organized football until senior year at Palm Harbor University, has gone through a meteoric rise to become a sleeper pick in this year’s draft.

He started off as a walk-on at Western Kentucky before transferring to UCF. For the past two seasons, Harris was a dependable receiver for the Knights. As a senior, he had 30 catches for 539 yards and eight touchdowns.

Harris’ most memorable game came against USF this past season when he had five catches for 110 yards and three touchdowns.

With the Rams, Harris will join former East Lake star Tyler Higbee in a group of tight ends that features plenty of locals.  

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College Football

The local list of potential NFL picks

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The NFL Draft concludes Saturday. Plenty of locals have the potential to be picked. Below is the list of former area stars who could hear their name called. All were either on mock drafts or were selected to an all-star game or NFL Combine. 

Photos courtesy of UCF Athletics

TE Jacob Harris, Palm Harbor University/UCF

Harris, a former soccer standout who did not start playing organized football until senior year at Palm Harbor University, has gone through a meteoric rise to become a sleeper pick in this year’s draft. He started off as a walk-on at Western Kentucky before transferring to UCF. For the past two seasons, Harris was a dependable receiver for the Knights. As a senior, he had 30 catches for 539 yards and eight touchdowns. Harris’ most memorable game came against USF this past season when he had five catches for 110 yards and three touchdowns. 

OL Shane McGough, Gaither/Florida International

The younger brother of former Gaither and FIU quarterback Alex McGough redshirted as a freshman before becoming a consistent starter on the Panthers’ offensive line. He was an all-Conference USA honorable mention selection in 2018 and 2020. This past season, McGough started in four of FIU’s five games as a center.  

WR Antonio Nunn, Jefferson/Buffalo

Nunn, a dynamic deep threat at Jefferson, redshirted his first season at Buffalo before rocketing up the depth chart. He started every game the past two seasons, finishing with a combined 86 catches for 1,271 yards and eight touchdowns. Nunn was a third-team all-MAC selection in 2019 and second-team selection this past season. 

Photo courtesy of Indiana University Athletics

WR Whop Philyor, Plant/Indiana

A first-team, all-state selection at Plant, Philyor became Indiana’s most dependable receiving target during his college career. He finished with 2,316 all-purpose yards (2,067 receiving, 134 rushing, 66 kick return, 49 punt return) in 38 games (22 starts).Philyor also is the Hoosiers’ s all-time leader in double-digit catch games (7), ranks fourth in receptions (180), fourth in 100-yard games (7), ninth in yardage (2,067) and is tied for 16th in touchdowns (12). He capped off his career by setting a Big Ten bowl and Outback Bowl record with 18 receptions for 81 yards. 

DL Justus Reed, CCC/Virginia Tech

A first-team, all-state selection, Reed led Clearwater Central Catholic to its only state final appearance as a senior in 2013. He started out at Florida before spending three seasons at Youngstown State. This past season, Reed transferred to Virginia Tech as a graduate student. He started in 10 of the Hokies’ 11 games, finishing with 28 tackles and 6.5 sacks.  

Photo courtesy of USF Athletics

DB K.J. Sails, East Bay/USF

A highly touted high school recruit, Sails spent his first three years in college at North Carolina before transferring to USF. As a junior, he led the Bulls in interceptions with three and recorded 22 tackles this past season. Sails gained notoriety this past summer when he organized a unity walk during the social justice movement that was attended by about 400 teammates, coaches, administrators and community members.  

Oregon's Jordon Scott/Photo credit: Oregon Athletics
Photo courtesy of Oregon Athletics

DL Jordon Scott, Pinellas Park/Oregon

The three-star high school prospect originally committed to Florida before signing with Oregon. He immediately became a force on the Ducks’ defensive line, earning FWAA freshman all-America honors in 2017. Scott opted to return to Oregon as a senior rather than turn pro and helped the Ducks reach the Pac-12 title game for the second straight season. 

Photo courtesy of TCU Athletics Communications

TE Pro Wells, Hollins/Texas Christian

As a senior at Hollins, Wells had a breakout season, finishing with 31 catches for 952 yards and five touchdowns. He played at Milford Academy and Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he became the No. 4 JUCO tight end in the nation. After redshirting in 2018 at Texas Christian, Wells turned a reliable red-zone target and led the team in touchdown receptions each of the past two seasons. 

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