Football: Hillsborough County Buzz — Oct. 14, 2023

Recaps. Scores. Schedules. It’s all here in the Hillsborough County football buzz. 

Games of the night

Tampa Bay Tech 23, Wharton 20

The Wildcats had everything going their way. Not only was Wharton ahead of undefeated Tampa Bay Tech, but the Wildcats were dominant in the process. 

Jackson Jensen ran for a touchdown and threw for two others – a 10-yarder to Terek McCants and a 30-yarder to Taquawn Anthony – to give Wharton a 20-0 lead with 8 minutes, 39 seconds left in the third quarter. 

Then it all unraveled – the momentum, the lead and eventually the game. 

The Titans’ comeback started when Xzavier Jackson threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Wilson. Then Rukeem Stroud returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown. 

Soon after, Rod Gainey ran 65 yards for a score to tie the game. 

With 1:40 left, Tampa Bay Tech completed the rally on Jakob Tramel’s game-winning 45-yard field goal. 

The Titans are tied with Armwood at the top of the Class 3M, District 4 standings. The two teams meet on Oct. 27 for the district title. 

Jesuit 36, Gaither 35 (OT)

Last year, the Tigers had no trouble getting past the Cowboys in the regular season and the playoffs, winning each game by 20 or more points. 

Midway through the first half, it appeared there would be another lopsided score. 

Jesuit built a 21-0 lead. Justin Thurman, a Notre Dame commit, ran for one score and had another touchdown on a pass from Will Griffin. Drew Woodaz also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. 

But this time, there was no rout. 

Gaither, led by quarterback Jayce Nixon, cut the deficit to 21-14 at the half. 

Thurman scored again on a short run to make it 28-14. 

The Cowboys answered with two scores to tie the game at the end of regulation. 

In overtime, Gaither scored first. The Tigers responded on Griffin’s touchdown run. Griffin then hit Peter Pesansky on a 2-point conversion for the win. 

Jesuit can clinch the Class 3M, District 5 title with a win over Hillsborough on Oct. 27. 

Sumner 40, Riverview 7

For the past two weeks, the Stingrays were without dual-threat quarterback Greg Smith III. 

During his absence, Sumner let a two score lead slip away against Durant and struggled to hold on to beat Lennard. 

On Friday, Smith III returned for the biggest game of the season, a matchup with unbeaten Riverview. 

He had an immediate impact. 

Showcasing his big play capabilities in the passing game, Smith III threw for three touchdowns – all to Malik Brown – in the first three quarters to help the Stingrays build a 25-7 lead.

It was more than enough as Sumner got back into contention in Class 4M, District 8. 

Still, the Stingrays will need some help. They have to beat Newsome on Oct. 27 and have Riverview beat Durant on the same night in order to create a three-way tie. 

In that scenario, the team with the highest FHSAA power ranking would win the title. 

Friday night scoreboard

Old Plank Christian 56, Tampa SLAM 0

Carrollwood Day 49, Seffner Christian 0

Tampa Catholic 38, Blake 17

Steinbrenner 32, Palm Harbor University 22

Robinson at Jefferson, 7:30

Hillsborough 62, Leto 7

Middleton 30, Brandon 25

Bloomingdale 35, Spoto 13

Durant 28, Newsome 13

Tampa Bay Tech 23, Wharton 20

East Lake 42, Sickles 7

Jesuit 36, Gaither 35 (OT)

East Bay 27, Lennard 17

Sumner 40, Riverview 7

Armwood 60, Freedom 0

King 15, Chamberlain 0

Plant 42, Plant City 0

Alonso 34, Strawberry Crest 30

This week’s schedules

Thursday, Oct. 19

Tampa SLAM at Canterbury, 7

Tampa Catholic at Fort Myers, 7

Friday, Oct. 20

Seffner Christian at Bronson, 7

Cambridge Christian at Bell Creek Academy, 7

Middleton at Sickles, 7:30

Wharton at Bloomingdale, 7:30

Berkeley Prep at East Bay, 7:30

Hillsborough at Newsome, 7:30

Gaither at Durant, 7:30

Blake at Chamberlain, 7:30

Plant at Steinbrenner, 7:30

Armwood at Plant City, 7:30

Spoto at Brandon, 7:30

Strawberry Crest at Riverview, 7:30

Jesuit at Tampa Bay Tech, 7:30