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Prime Time 10: Football rankings for Pinellas County

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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) 

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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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