Football: Tampa Bay top 25 (week 1)

1. Jesuit (1-0)

Up next: TBD

Last spot: No. 1

Why they stayed put: The Tigers defense has been dominant, posting back-to-back shutouts counting the preseason kickoff classic. Luke Knight played well in his debut as the starting quarterback, throwing for three touchdowns in a win over Ocala West Port.  

2. Hillsborough (1-0)

Up next: at Armwood

Last spot: No. 2

Why they stayed put: The Terriers jumped out to a 41-3 halftime lead and cruised to a 53-17 victory over Steinbrenner in the opener. Caleb Pierce threw for two touchdowns and Jordaan Bailey, a Pittsburgh commit, ran for a pair of scores on his only two carries of the night.  

3. Lakewood (1-0)

Up next: vs. Palmetto

Last spot: No. 3

Why they stayed put: It was not pretty, but the Spartans maintained their dominance over rival Boca Ciega, scoring twice in the fourth quarter to turn a close game into a 27-12 victory. Montravious Lloyd showed he can be the workhorse in the run game with 137 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.  

4. Armwood (1-0)

Up next: vs. Chamberlain

Last spot: No. 4 

Why they stayed put: Those thinking the Hawks were still not among the elite, think again. Armwood beat Miami Booker T. Washington in the preseason and followed that up by cruising to a 35-6 win over Chamberlain in the regular season opener. James Smiley had a knack for the end zone, scoring all five of the Hawks’ touchdowns on the ground. 

5. Gaither (1-0)

Up next: at Chamberlain

Last spot: No. 5

Why they stayed put: Timely plays on offense and an opportunistic defense helped the Cowboys get past Bloomingdale 25-15 in the season opener. Gaither’s defense recorded two sacks and picked off four passes, one of which was returned for a touchdown.  

6. Berkeley Prep (1-0)

Up next: vs. Calvary Christian

Last spot: No. 6

Why they stayed put: In their annual clash with rival Clearwater Central Catholic, the Buccaneers got a pair of big-time runs from Travis Bates and Xavier Townsend to win 35-21. Townsend, an Iowa State commit, scored three touchdowns.  

7. Tampa Bay Tech (1-0)

Up next: at Steinbrenner

Last spot: No. 7

Why they stayed put: The Titans always have an offense that can put up points. Take last week. James Evans scored three of Tampa Bay Tech’s five touchdowns on the ground in a 34-0 victory. But it was the Titans’ defense that was just as impressive in the shutout.  

8. Newsome (1-0)

Up next: at Bloomingdale

Last spot: No. 10

Why they stayed up: For a while, the Wolves were in a shootout with Lennard in last week’s season opener. Eventually, the ground game, led by the 1-2 punch of Jason Albritton and JC Roque, took control in a 37-20 victory.  

9. Bloomingdale (0-1)

Up next: vs. Newsome

Last spot: No. 8

Why they stayed down: It’s hard to drop the Bulls down too far after a close contest against Gaither in the season opener. Kendall Jones emerged as a playmaking threat, catching four passes for 83 yards, two going for touchdowns. 

10. Pinellas Park (1-0)

Up next: vs. Largo

Last spot: No. 13

Why they moved up: The Patriots got past their first big test, beating East Lake 34-21 in the season opener. Eric Jackson showed off his versatility, catching six passes for 163 yards and a touchdown on offense and picking off two passes on defense.  

11. Clearwater Central Catholic (0-1)

Up next: vs. Ocala Trinity Catholic

Last spot: No. 14

Why they moved up: It’s rare for a team to move up after a loss. But look at the body of work. The Marauders opened some eyes by shutting out Wiregrass Ranch’s high-powered offense in a 37-0 preseason victory, then went toe-to-toe with defending state finalist Berkeley Prep before falling in the season opener.  

12. Tampa Catholic (1-0)

Up next: vs. Lakeland Kathleen

Last spot: No. 15

Why they moved up: The Crusaders got off to a strong start, racking up 280 yards on the ground in a 42-7 victory over IMG Academy. Better still, they averaged 9.7 yards per carry. 

13. Wharton (1-0)

Up next: TBD

Last spot:No. 16

Why they moved up: Since last season, the Wildcats have allowed just 91 points. Last week, they recorded their fourth shutout in that span, blanking Freedom 48-0. The offense had its moments, too. Carson Mohler, who transferred from Plant City, threw for three touchdowns.  

14. Zephyrhills (1-0)

Up next: vs. Hernando

Last spot: No. 17

Why they moved up: With eight starters returning, the defense was expected to be a strength for the Bulldogs. They delivered in a season-opening 16-12 win over Lakeland Kathleen. Nick Sheldon had a monster game, recording 12 tackles, forcing a fumble and recovering two, one of which he returned for a touchdown. 

15. Wiregrass Ranch (0-0)

Up next: vs. Wesley Chapel

Last spot: No. 9 

Why they moved down: The Bulls have been wanting to get back on the field to atone for their loss to Clearwater Central Catholic in the preseason. They get their chance Friday after last weekend’s opener against Hernando was postponed until November. 

16. Steinbrenner (0-1)

Up next: vs. Tampa Bay Tech

Last spot: No. 11

Why they stayed put: It was a tough start for the defending region semifinalist Warriors, who were routed by Hillsborough in the season opener. Steinbrenner will try to bounce in its home opener against Tampa Bay Tech. 

17. Plant City (0-1)

Up next: vs. Jefferson

Last spot: No. 12

Why they moved down: The Raiders have to regroup after getting shutout against Tampa Bay Tech in their season opener. One bright spot was linebacker Cole Highsmith, who had 10 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. 

18. Clearwater (0-1)

Up next: vs. East Lake

Last spot: No. 18

Why they stayed put: Sure, the Tornadoes lost their preseason game and regular season opener. But they played two of the best teams in the area, Hillsborough and Lakeland, and were competitive in each one.  

19. Mitchell (1-0)

Up next: vs. River Ridge

Last spot: No. 20

Why they moved up: The Mustangs were impressive in their season-opening 43-0 over Fivay. The ground game racked up 227 yards. The defense recorded five sacks. And the special teams blocked two punts.  

20. Largo (1-0)

Up next: at Pinellas Park

Last spot: No. 21

Why they moved up: The Packers gained some much-needed momentum with a 35-14 victory over Winter Haven in their season opener. Largo has an even tougher test Friday against Pinellas Park. 

21. Calvary Christian (1-0)

Up next: at Berkeley Prep

Last spot: No. 22

Why they moved up: Alex Kemp hauled in a pass from Jacob Drackett for the winning score with just under three minutes left to beat Lakeland Victory Christian 14-7 in the opener. The win exacted revenge for a 35-14 loss to the Storm last season.  

22. Nature Coast (1-0)

Up next: at Pasco

Last spot: No. 23 

Why they moved up: The Sharks allowed less than 200 yards in a 14-10 win over Tavares to open the season. This week, Nature Coast faces Pasco in its opener.  

23. Hernando (0-0)

Up next: at Zephyrhills

Last spot: No. 24

Why they moved up: The Leopards won their preseason game, then had to postpone their opener against Wiregrass Ranch. Now, Hernando gets to start its season against Zephyrhills.  

24. Seffner Christian (1-0)

Up next: vs. North Florida Educational Institute

Last spot: No, 24

Why they moved up: The Crusaders had to do some last-minute shuffling in order to secure a game for the season opener. The result was a success with Seffner Christian pulling away in the second half to beat Master’s Academy. 

25. Carrollwood Day (1-0)

Up next: vs. Northside Christian

Last spot: Unranked

Why they moved in: Bredell Richardson had three touchdown receptions and Anthony Carrie ran for two scores in the Patriots’ 39-13 victory over St. Petersburg Catholic to open the season. 

On the bubble: Northeast (1-0), Hudson (1-0), Wesley Chapel (1-0), Plant (1-0)