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Friday night football forecast

Bob Putnam



Games to watch

Robinson (4-0) at Jesuit (6-0), 7:30

Outlook: The Knights, who are off to their best start in years, are dealing with COVID issues that forced their starting quarterback and kicker to quarantine. Being depleted does not bode well against the Tigers, who could likely finish the regular season undefeated. 

Pinkos’ pick: Jesuit by 42

Putnam’s prediction: Jesuit 42-14

Victory Christian (4-1) at Calvary Christian (5-0), 7

Outlook: This is the biggest test of the season so far for the Warriors. Expect a high-scoring game. Last week, the Storm fell short in a 41-35 loss to Berkeley Prep. 

Pinkos’ pick: Victory Christian by 10

Putnam’s prediction: Calvary Christian 35-34

Wesley Chapel (3-1) at River Ridge (3-2), 7:30

Outlook: Both teams are trying to rebound after losing last week. Points could be at a premium. The Wildcats have allowed 34 points all season. The Knights have given up 67.  

Pinkos’ pick: River Ridge by 19

Putnam’s prediction: River Ridge 28-13

Sickles (2-2) at East Lake (3-2), 7:30

Outlook: Three of the Gryphons’ four games have been decided by a combined eight points. This could be another tight one that could come down to the last possession. 

Pinkos’ pick: East Lake by 21

Putnam’s prediction: East Lake 20-13

Tampa Bay Tech (2-3) at Armwood (3-1)

Outlook: The Hawks have reeled off three straight wins since losing by a point to Bloomingdale in the season opener. The Titans know all about close outcomes. Twice, they have lost on the final play of regulation.  

Pinkos’ pick: Armwood by 13

Putnam’s prediction: Armwood 27-26

The remaining schedule

NFEI at Zephyrhills Christian, 4 p.m.

Pinkos’ pick: Zephyrhills Christian by 18 

Putnam’s prediction: Zephyrhills Christian 31-16

Jacksonville Young Kids in Motion at Keswick Christian, 6

Pinkos’ pick: Keswick Christian by 1 

Putnam’s prediction: Keswick Christian 30-28

Bishop McLaughlin at CFCA, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Central Florida Christian by 26

Putnam’s prediction: Bishop McLaughlin 27-26

Academy at the Lakes at Shorecrest Prep, 7

Pinkos’ pick: AATL by 21

Putnam’s prediction: AATL 35-21

Jordan Christian Prep at Cambridge Christian, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Cambridge by 37

Putnam’s prediction: Cambridge Christian 42-7

Northside Christian at Bradenton Christian, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Bradenton Christian by 4 

Putnam’s prediction: Northside Christian 21-16

Central at Crystal River, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Crystal River by 21

Putnam’s prediction: Crystal River 14-7

AACA at Carrollwood Day, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Carrollwood Day by 20

Putnam’s prediction: Carrollwood Day 35-14

Pasco at Lake Minneola, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Lake Minneola by 32

Putnam’s prediction: Lake Minneola 26-21

Countryside at Clearwater, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Clearwater by 24

Putnam’s prediction: Clearwater 31-14

Chaminade at Clearwater Academy, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Chaminade by 21

Putnam’s prediction: Chaminade 38-34

Cypress Creek at Dunedin, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Cypress Creek by 3 

Putnam’s prediction: Dunedin 17-14

St. Petersburg Catholic at Sarasota Out-of-Door, 7

Pinkos’ pick: SPC by 13

Putnam’s prediction: SPC 28-13

Pinellas Park at Sunlake, 7

Pinkos’ pick: Pinellas Park by 24

Putnam’s prediction: Pinellas Park 27-14

Nature Coast at Springstead, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Nature Coast by 24

Putnam’s prediction: Nature Coast 31-7

Blake at Steinbrenner, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Steinbrenner by 47

Putnam’s prediction: Steinbrenner 48-6

Parrish Community at Hudson, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Hudson by 29

Putnam’s prediction: Hudson 35-7

Jefferson at Brandon, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Jefferson by 55

Putnam’s prediction: Jefferson 49-0

Newsome at Haines City, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Newsome by 60

Putnam’s prediction: Newsome 

Lennard at Ridge Community, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Lennard by 1 

Putnam’s prediction: Lennard 20-19

Anclote at Zephyrhills, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Zephyrhills by 27

Putnam’s prediction: Zephyrhills 35-20

Durant at Lakeland, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Lakeland by 24

Putnam’s prediction: Lakeland 30-14

Middleton at King, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: King by 1

Putnam’s prediction: King 14-12

Citrus at Hernando, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Hernando by 24

Putnam’s prediction: Hernando 42-21

Fivay at Freedom, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Fivay by 36

Putnam’s prediction: Fivay 42-7

Gaither at Land O’ Lakes, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Gaither by 59

Putnam’s prediction: Gaither 41-0

Sarasota Riverview at Riverview, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Sarasota Riverview by 31

Putnam’s prediction: Sarasota Riverview 42-13

Lakeland Kathleen at Bloomingdale, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Bloomingdale by 45

Putnam’s prediction: Bloomingdale 49-6

Hillsborough at Spoto, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Hillsborough by 46

Putnam’s prediction: Hillsborough 52-7

East Bay at Wiregrass Ranch, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Wiregrass Ranch by 17

Putnam’s prediction: Wiregrass Ranch 24-14

Avon Park at Seffner Christian, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Seffner Christian by 14

Putnam’s prediction: Seffner Christian 21-7

Gibbs at Chamberlain, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Chamberlain by 28

Putnam’s prediction: Chamberlain 26-20

Gulf at Tarpon Springs, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Tarpon Springs by 34

Putnam’s prediction: Tarpon Springs 14-0

Alonso at Wharton, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Wharton by 20

Putnam’s prediction: Wharton 24-6

Cardinal Mooney at Clearwater Central Catholic, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: CCC by 14

Putnam’s prediction: CCC 20-14

Lecanto at Weeki Wachee, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Lecanto by 3

Putnam’s prediction: Weeki Wachee 14-10

Palm Harbor University at Plant, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Plant by 24

Putnam’s prediction: Plant 23-14

Strawberry Crest at Plant City, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Plant City by 52

Putnam’s prediction: Plant 56-7

Leto at Mitchell, 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Mitchell by 63

Putnam’s prediction: Mitchell 49-0

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Flag Football

Jared Watson, Casey Contreras receive Minahan awards

Bob Putnam



The finalists for the Bill Minahan Award in football and flag football were not selected solely for what they did on the field. The criteria had to do more with leadership, loyalty and compassion — among the many traits that best describe the former Jesuit football coach the award is named after. 

Berkeley Prep offensive lineman Jared Watson and Steinbrenner wide receiver/linebacker Casey Contreras, the two winners, embodied those characteristics. 

Watson, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year, devoted plenty of his time helping other children while going through the grueling stages of chemotherapy. He also spent more than 500 hours with community service projects, such as Meals on Wheels and Feeding Tampa Bay. 

Contreras, now in her fourth season with the Warriors’ flag football team, has served as a particularly on the academic side. Her help is a big reason Steinbrenner is the four-time defending Class 2A academic state champions, an honor awarded to the team with the highest combined GPA.

“(The award) is more than just how I am as a player or what I do on the field,” Contreras said. “It means a lot to get an award that’s based on more than that, one that is based more on my character and how I serve others in my community. 

“It’s really important to me to make sure that the blessings I’ve received throughout my life I’m giving back to others”

Watson and Contreras each received a scholarship check for $2,500.

The other finalists, who each received a $1,500 scholarship, included:

  • Henry Griffin, Wharton: The defensive tackle/linebacker overcame the loss of his father to excel in academics and athletics. He plans to honor his father;s Navy background by serving in the United States military.
  • Deon Silas, Steinbrenner: The 2019 Minahan Award winner is an Iowa State signee who has been elected the Warriors’ team captain a school record three straight seasons. 
  • Deborah Carvajal, Leto: The student government officer also is an academic leader and is passionate about changing the culture at her school. 
  • Catalina Rodriguez-Kretz, Sumner: She is president of the Student Government Association, a member of JROTC and is on the school’s swim, soccer and flag football team. 

Minahan, who died in 2013, coached at area high schools for 38 years, including 28 at Jesuit, where he led the Tigers to the 1968 state football title — the only one in school history. Minahan’s widow, Martha, was instrumental in starting the award in 2015. More than $55,000 in scholarships have been given to winners and finalists in the past seven years.     

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College Football

Seminole’s Chris Miller selected to coach in Tropical Bowl

Bob Putnam



Seminole’s Chris Miller was named one of the head coaches for the Tropical Bowl, an all-star college football game featuring mostly FBS players who are potential NFL draft picks. 

Miller will coach the American team. He left Thursday to start practices for Sunday’s game, which kicks off at 11 a.m. at Kissimmee’s Celebration High. 

The staff Miller assembled includes Warhawks assistants Rob Ewing and Chris Parker and former Admiral Farragut standout Kreg Brown. 

After spending more than a decade as a player and a coach at Admiral Farragut, Miller left to become coach at Seminole in 2013. 

This is his third year coaching in a college all-star game. He was the receivers coach for the National Bowl in 2018 and was offensive coordinator for the game in 2019. 

Two locals are playing in this year’s Tropical Bowl — USF defensive back Mike Hampton (Hillsborough) and Florida International offensive lineman Shane McGough (Gaither).  

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Hillsborough track star Erriyon Knighton reportedly turns pro

Bob Putnam



Hillsborough’s Erriyon Knighton, who solidified himself as one of the nation’s top sprinters after an impressive performance this summer, has decided to forgo his high school and collegiate eligibility by signing with Adidas according to a report by Track and Field News. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Knighton becomes the second area track athlete to turn pro before exhausting his amateur status. In 2015, former Gibbs and Baylor sprinting sensation Trayvon Bromell signed with New Balance. A year later, Bromell was in the Olympics. 

Knighton is on the same path.  

At the Junior Olympics this past summer, Knighton won the 200 meters in a wind-legal time of 20.33 seconds, the fastest-ever recorded in the 16 year old’s age group (15-16) at the Junior Olympics and the nation’s top time by a high school athlete at that point last year. 

Knighton shaved 56 seconds off his personal best set in June of 2020. And his blistering 20.33 time was just 0.20 seconds off the under-18 world record set by Usain Bolt. 

That was not all. 

In the 100 meters, Knighton again sprinted to the head of the class at the Junior Olympics, this time winning in 10.29 seconds, a time that was tied for the nation’s top mark by a high school athlete this past year.

Those eye-opening times got the attention of the track-and-field aficionados — and the sporting world.

It also put him on the fast track to potential Olympic stardom. That was in part why he made the decision, according to Track and Field News. 

By doing so, Knighton is all but giving up a promising career in football. 

Knighton’s big-play ability, combined with his speed, made him a bona fide football prospect. He is already ranked as a four-star recruit and considered the state’s 15-best player for the Class of 2022 on 247 Sports’ composite list.

As a junior this past season, Knighton had 201 rushing yards, 484 receiving and accounted for eight touchdowns.  

Colleges took notice. Knighton has offers from several Division I-A programs, including Florida, FSU, Michigan and Tennessee. 

Knighton’s future is coming into his focus.

So is his vision. 

This summer, Knighton failed a physical because of poor eyesight. He had 20/100 vision in one eye and 20/80 in the other. He now has glasses and plans on getting contacts. 

“It didn’t really bother me in track,” Knighton told Prime Time Preps at the time. “I could still see. The only thing that was blurry was when I tried to read plays from the sideline in football.”

The picture is clear. No more football and track at Hillsborough, followed by four more years of both sports in college. 

The focus is now on the Olympics, something that Knighton said was a possibility this summer. 

“I might lean towards track, slightly,” Knighton told Prime Time Preps this summer.. “I’m thinking about the Olympics more and more.” 

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Copyright © Prime Time Preps

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