Prime Time 10: Football rankings for Pinellas County

Because of the abbreviated schedule, the midpoint of the season is fast approaching. By the end of this week, every Pinellas County team will have played at least one game. Starting sports have been sorted out. Mechanics are improving. And now it is time to start thinking about possible runs in the postseason. Here are the latest rankings. 

1. Lakewood (2-0)

Up next: at Braden River

Last week: No. 1

In the Spartans last eight games against Pinellas County teams, they have posted six shutouts and allowed a combined nine points. No county opponent has come within 30 points of beating Lakewood. The latest rout came last week when the Spartans dismantled Boca Ciega 40-6. The Spartans forced nine turnovers, two of which they returned for touchdowns. 

2. Clearwater (1-1)

Up next: vs. Plantation American Heritage 

Live stream: Fans can watch for free on Identity Tampa Bay as part of their Prime Time Friday Game of the Week

Last week: No. 2

As the finals ticked away, the Tornadoes started celebrating. Years of frustration were finally. Last week, Clearwater rallied to beat its archnemesis, Largo. It was the first the Tornadoes had beaten their neighboring rival since 2016. Clearwater quarterback Kamrhen Simpkins accounted for 200 yards and scored twice, the last coming on a short run in the fourth quarter that turned out to be the winning score. The tough early season schedule continues with a game against state powerhouse Plantation American Heritage. 

3. Calvary Christian (2-0)

Up next: at IMG White

Last week: No. 5

The Warriors showed their balance on offense in a 17-7 win over Seffner Christian. Brandon Marcsisin threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns. And running backs Makkah Jordan and Jordan Mouzon each rushed for more than 100 yards. So far, Calvary Christian has knocked off two of the area’s top playoff contenders in Class 2A. The perfect start should continue against IMG White this week. 

4.  Clearwater Academy (0-2)

Up next: at Jacksonville Sandalwood

Last week: No. 3

Sure, the Knights are winless but they have one of the toughest schedules of any county team. Last week, they traveled to play Lynn Haven Mosely and lost 31-28. It doesn’t get any easier. The traveling show continues this week with Clearwater Academy going to Jacksonville to take on Sandalwood. 

5. Boca Ciega (1-1)

Up next: at Seminole 

Last week: No. 4 

In their last two meetings against Lakewood, the Pirates have been outscored by a combined 75-6. It was supposed to be a more competitive game in last week’s true opener, especially considering all the skill players Boca Ciega had returning. But turnovers were costly. The Pirates will try to bounce back this week against undefeated Seminole. 

6. Clearwater Central Catholic (1-1)

Up next: vs. Sebring

Last week: No. 9

The Marauders defense is made up of four sophomores, four juniors, two seniors and a freshman. Many are new faces. Cohesiveness was going to take time. But CCC needed that unit to take a stand, they delivered. Carson Schiavello, a sophomore who had 14 tackles, made his biggest in the fourth quarter last week against Wiregrass Ranch, resulting in a turnover on downs. That gave the Marauders the momentum they needed as Lenwood Sapp scored on a 3-yard in the final minute for a much-needed win. 

7. East Lake (1-1)

Up next: at Tarpon Springs

Last week: No. 7

The defense was dominant in a 15-0 win over Sunlake. Rylan Bostick had 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery and Jonny Emerson had nine tackles and 2.5 sacks to lead the Eagles. The momentum should continue against Tarpon Springs, a rivalry East Lake has owned for the past decade. 

8. Countryside (2-0)

Up next: vs. Palm Harbor University (Thursday)

Last week: No. 8 

The offense found its groove, racking up more than 500 yards in a win over Osceola last week to remain undefeated. Gabe Olds threw for 187 yards, ran for 78 and accounted for four touchdowns (two passing, two running). Zyterius Watts took on the bulk of the work in the ground game, rushing for 155 yards on 20 carries. 

9. Pinellas Park (1-1)

Up next: vs. Leto

Last week: No. 6

After winning wild against Mitchell a year ago, the Patriots were not able to have the same success on the ground in last week’s rematch. Pinellas Park fell behind in the first half and could not catch up in a 42-12 loss. But the Patriots should have no trouble rebounding against winless Leto this week.    

10. Seminole (2-0)

Up next: vs. Boca Ciega

Last week: Unranked

The Warhawks are 2-0 for the first time since 2002 thanks to a stingy defense that has allowed a combined 12 points. Jonathan Brown picked off two passes and had four tackles in last week’s win over Dunedin. 

On the bubble

Largo (0-2), Hollins (0-1)