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Football: Class 6A play-in preview

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Class 6A

2020 FHSAA Football State Championships Class 6A Region 1 and 2

The schedule

Gaither (8-0) at Seminole (3-5), 7:30

Outlook: The Cowboys, ranked second in 7A and favored to reach the state title game, had an extra week to prepare after picking up a forfeit win in its first play-in game against Osceola. This one could be over quick considering Gaither has outscored its opponents by a combined 260-38 during its undefeated regular season. 

Pinkos’ pick: Gaither by 51

Putnam’s prediction: Gaither 49-0

Clearwater (4-4) at St. Petersburg (1-6), 7:30

Outlook: Though it’s been an uneven season, the Tornadoes should be able to breeze through to the next round, setting up a possible rematch with Gaither in the quarterfinals. 

Pinkos’ pick: Clearwater by 56

Putnam’s prediction: Clearwater 42-0

Countryside (6-3) at Springstead (1-3), 7:30

Outlook: The Cougars advanced by beating Northeast in their first play-in game last week. Now, Countryside has to go on the road to face the Eagles, who are honoring their seniors tonight. 

Pinkos’ pick: Springstead by 3

Putnam’s prediction: Countryside 21-20

Lecanto (4-2) at Pasco (4-5), 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Lecanto by 1

Putnam’s prediction: Lecanto 20-14

Largo (3-4) at Hollins (2-7), 7

Outlook: After hanging with undefeated Lakewood in last week’s regular season finale, the Packers have some confidence that they can make a run in the playoffs. 

Pinkos’ pick: Largo by 25

Putnam’s prediction: Largo 30-7

Freedom (0-8) at Deltona (2-4), 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Deltona by 20

Putnam’s prediction: Deltona 31-10 

Land O’ Lakes (1-6) at Lake Minneola (6-1), 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Lake Minneola by 56

Putnam’s prediction: Lake Minneola 49-7

2020 FHSAA Football State Championships Class 6A Region 3 and 4

Bayside (3-4) at Jefferson (7-1), 7:30

Outlook: The Dragons are flying under the radar. They have built up a solid record thanks to a stingy secondary led by Eric Felder and Alloysius Tyson, who have a combined 11 interceptions this season. 

Pinkos’ pick: Bayside by 6

Putnam’s prediction: Jefferson 27-21

Hillsborough (6-1) at Heritage (1-6), 7:30

Outlook: The Terriers, who have won six straight, should be able to keep that streak going thanks to a talented offensive backfield led by quarterback Caleb Pierce and running backs Jordaan Bailey and Joey Sipp Jr.  

Pinkos’ pick: Hillsborough by 45

Putnam’s prediction: Hillsborough 56-14

Spoto (3-5) at Lake Gibson (8-1), 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Lake Gibson by 63

Putnam’s prediction: Lake Gibson 48-16

Westwood (6-1) at Middleton (4-4), 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Westwood by 9

Putnam’s prediction: Westwood 32-23

Auburndale (4-3) at King (5-3), 7:30

Pinkos’ pick: Auburndale by 24

Putnam’s prediction: Auburndale 24-13

The stats

6A area leaders

Passing yards (average per game)

185.0 Taffrey Peterman, Boca Ciega (13 TDs, 6 INTs)

182.0 Caleb Pierce, Hillsborough (14 TDs, 6 INTs)

177.0 Riley Allan, Osceola (5 TDs, 10 INTs)

169.0 Kiael Kelly, Gaither (10 TDs, 3 INTs)

164.8 Chris Moore, King (9 TDs, 4 INTs)

Rushing yards (average per game)

134.4 Markese Norfleet, Northeast (11 TDs)

134.4 TJ Holmes, Largo (7 TDs)

98.8 Malik Mazion, Jefferson (11 TDs)

86.9 Khaleef Stewart, Spoto (0 TDs)

84.0 Aidan Marsh, Land O’ Lakes (4 TDs)

Receiving yards (average per game)

81.0 Omarie Sherrod, St. Petersburg (1 TD)

64.0 David Hayes, King (0 TDs)

59.9 Dwayne Taylor, King (2 TDs)

56.0 Jacobie Dilworth, Spoto (0 TDs)

54.7 Drelin Pittman, Gaither (2 TDs)

Tackles (average per game)

14.4 Cortland Mitchell, Osceola

11.7 Joey Sipp Jr., Hillsborough

10.4 Matt Sattinger, Countryside

9.7 Melvin Rivera, Fivay

9.5 Tommy Smith, Osceola

Sacks (average per game)

2.5 Mario Eugenio, Gaither

1.7 Wayne Bennett, King

1.7 August Salvati, Clearwater

1.6 Zavion McKinon, Land O’ Lakes

1.3 Asa Van Buren, Gaither

Interceptions (average per game)

0.9 Eric Felder, Jefferson

0.8 Alloysious Tyson, Jefferson

0.7 Mikhai Campbell, Gaither

0.5 Kaden Khammanivong, Osceola

0.5 Kennen Ayala, Land O’ Lakes

0.5 Burhaan Hamm, Largo

The rankings

6A state top 25 (compiled by MaxPreps)

1. Miami Central (2-1)

2. Gaither (8-0)

3. Naples Palmetto Ridge (7-0)

4. Daytona Beach Mainland (6-1)

5. Pensacola Escambia (7-0)

6. Lake Minneola (6-1)

7. North Fort Myers (8-0)

8. St. Augustine (6-2)

9. Palmetto (5-3)

10. Jacksonville Lee (5-1)

11. Naples (5-1)

12. Lake Gibson (8-1)

13. Pensacola Booker T. Washington (4-2)

14. Hillsborough (6-1)

15. Boca Ciega (6-1)

16. Punta Gorda Charlotte (6-2)

17. Milton (5-2)

18. Braden River (3-3)

19. Fort Myers (6-2)

20. Lynn Haven Mosley (4-3)

21. Clearwater (4-4)

22. Fort Myers Dunbar (5-2)

23. Lake City Columbia (2-5)

24. Port Charlotte (5-3)

25. Palm Bay Bayside (3-4) 

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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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