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Clearwater football coach Don Mesick steps down

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Clearwater’s Don Mesick, one of the most successful football coaches in school history, has stepped down from the program after six seasons. He officially made the announcement during a meeting with the players Thursday afternoon. 

Mesick was 45-21 during his tenure with the Tornadoes and guided the program to playoff appearances in each of his six seasons, the longest postseason streak ever at the school.

Part of the reason Mesick is leaving is because he wanted more support.

“I have a really good staff, but the community, parents and administration were not supportive,” Mesick said. “Six playoff appearances in six years and three district titles and still can’t get support.

“I did my part. I needed a change of scenery.” 

Before Mesick was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach in 2015, Clearwater had gone through four straight losing seasons, including 0-10 in 2013 and were mired in a 13-game losing streak that ended September of 2014. 

He turned things around by sticking with a wide-open offense that honed its skills in 7-on-7 tournaments in the summer. Two of Mesick’s former quarterbacks, Austin Day (Marist) and Rent Montie (Lafayette), are currently playing in college. Another former signal caller, Garrison Bryant, is one of the top pitching prospects in the New York Mets’ minor league system. 

The rebuilding job did not end with the product on the field. Mesick was instrumental in getting new lockers and office space, as well as replacing the concession stand. 

But it was not enough.

“It takes more than quality coaches to build a championship program,” Mesick said. “It’s no coincidence that Pinellas County has never won a state title.”

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Football: Friday night scoreboard

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Final Tampa Bay Tech 21, Wharton 12

Final St. Petersburg Catholic 47, Bishop McLaughlin 15

Final Gibbs 50, Gulf 21

Final Countryside 28, Sunlake 7\

Final Berkeley Prep 49, New Orleans Newman 24

Final Zephyrhills Christian 30, Bradenton Christian 7

Final Boca Ciega 28, Seminole 21

Final Lakeland Christian 38, Calvary Christian 13

Final Clearwater 48, Tarpon Springs 7

Final Clearwater Central Catholic 56, Kissimmee Gateway 0

Final Northeast 21, Hollins 20

Final Sumner 14, Braden River 10

Final Legacy Charter 21, Indian Rocks Christian 14

Final Mount Dora Christian 48, Keswick Christian 0

Final Seffner Christian 62, St. Joseph Academy 16

Final Zephyrhills 35, Nature Coast 0

Final Largo 25, Sickles 7

Final Osceola 48, St. Petersburg 9

Final Steinbrenner 35, Chamberlain 21

Final Carrollwood Day 42, Cambridge Christian 7

Final Tampa Catholic 38, Winter Haven 0

Final Land O’ Lakes 36, Pasco 0

Final Jesuit 44, Blake 0

Final Armwood 41, Wiregrass Ranch 11

Final Palmetto 23, Bloomingdale 3

4th Q Alonso 52, Robinson 17

Final Plant City 31, Plant 24

Final Wesley Chapel 44, Hudson 6

Final Newsome 55, Riverview 7

Final Pinellas Park 46, Palm Harbor University 0

Final Fivay 27, Freedom 25

Final Bradenton Manatee 29, East Bay 13

Final Dunedin 48, Anclote 22

Final Spoto 46, Brandon 0

Final Durant 49, Middleton 6

Final Cypress Creek 43, Weeki Wachee 0

Final Lennard 33, Jefferson 31

Final Gaither 48, Leto 7

Final McCallie (Tenn.) 47, Clearwater Academy 14

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Football: FACA District 14 team announced

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Here are the selections for the Florida Athletic Coaches Association District 14 team, which includes all Pinellas County schools. The picks were made by coaches who belong to the FACA.

Overall Coach of the year: Shawn Davis, Northeast

Overall Player of the year: D’Angelo Hutchinson, Northeast

Players of the year (by classification)

Class 8A: Luke Yoder, Palm Harbor University

Class 7A: Tre’son Everett, Largo

Class 6A: D’Angelo Hutchinson, Northeast

Class 5A: CJ Lee, Clearwater

Class 4A: Terrell Crosby, Lakewood

Class 3A: Preston Cushman, Calvary Christian

Class 2A: Anthony Weaver, Keswick Christian

IND: Cortland Mitchell, Osceola

Coaches of the year (by classification)

Class 7A: Marcus Paschal, Largo

Class 6A: Shawn Davis, Northeast

Class 5A: Thor Jozwiak, Clearwater

Class 4A: Cory Moore, Lakewood

Class 3A: Chris Harvey, Clearwater Central Catholic

Class 2A: Phil Hayford, Keswick Christian

IND: Cody Montgomery, Osceola

Teams

Offense

QB Anthony Colandrea, Jr., Lakewood

QB Aidan MacLean, Sr., Clearwater

RB Lenwood Sapp Jr., Jr., Clearwater Central Catholic

RB Luke Yoder, Jr., Palm Harbor University

RB Terrion Williams, Sr., Pinellas Park

RB Jaden Griffin, Sr., Countryside

WR Amari Niblack, Sr., Lakewood

WR Nate Johnson, Jr., Clearwater Central Catholic

WR Eric Jackson, Sr., Pinellas Park

TE Wyatt Stiehl, Sr., East Lake

C Tyrek Tripp, Jr., Clearwater

C Jacob Johanning, Sr., Pinellas Park

OL Preston Cushman, Sr., Calvary Christian

OL Connor Homa, Sr., Palm Harbor University

OL Aaron Sanez, Sr., Clearwater

OL Franklin Miller, Sr., Northeast

K Robert Gunn III, Sr., Pinellas Park

UTIL CJ Lee, Sr., Clearwater

Defense

DL Jack Hostetler, Sr., East Lake

DL Maikeli Tuinakauvadra, Sr., Osceola

DL Jaylan Anderson, Sr., Northeast

DL Deondre Randall, Sr., Largo

LB Garrick Ponder, Sr., Pinellas Park

LB Melvin Jordan, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic

LB Adarius Hayes, So., Largo

LB Anthony Weaver, Sr., Keswick Christian

CB Terrell Crosby, Sr., Lakewood

CB London Hall, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic

SS Jaeden Atkins, Sr., Calvary Christian

FS D’Angelo Hutchinson, Sr., Northeast

P Logan Gregory, Sr., Countryside

UTIL Jordan Jiminez, Sr., Pinellas Park

UTIL Sammy Miller Jr., Jr., Gibbs

LS Mac Wiand, Sr., St. Petersburg Catholic

LS Liam Holden, Jr., St. Petersburg

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FNF Campus Tour Preview: Pinellas Park at PHU

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Pinellas Park (6-1) at Palm Harbor University (3-4), 7

Three things to know

Pound the rock

Both teams have strong rushing attacks. Palm Harbor University’s ground game is led by Luke Yoder, whose father is former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Todd Yoder. The younger Yoder currently leads the Tampa Bay area and ranks fourth overall in the state with 1,271 yards so far this season. Pinellas Park is more diversified in its approach. Isaiah Hampton (780 yards) and Terrion Williams (652 yards) are the Patriots’ top two leading rushers. 

Trap game

Pinellas Park is tied with Northeast for second place in Class 6A, District 11 and needs a win against Boca Ciega on Oct. 29 to force a three-way tie at the top of the standings. Before the Patriots can worry about playoff implications, they have to focus on Palm Harbor University. After starting 1-3, the Hurricanes have lost three straight and dropped out of contention for the 8A, District 11 title. That relegated Palm Harbor University to playing the role of spoiler the remainder of the season. 

Check out the FNF Campus Tour

The Friday Night Football Campus Tour, presented by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a free, interactive event that includes games and prizes for all fans, including the opportunity to get Tampa Bay Buccaneers swag. A 15-foot-tall replica of the NFL’s Super Bowl trophy is on display at each stop.. Buccaneers cheerleaders and Captain Fear, the Bucs’ mascot, also will be in attendance.   

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