As we approach the final week of the season, first round playoff matchups are set, and only one final game, often a rivalry game, remains for most teams.
There was very little movement in the High School Sports top 10 this week, with the exception of Lakeland dropping down and out, and East Lake moving up and in.
Again, the High School Sports Top 10 encompasses gridiron teams from the entire Tampa Bay area, Polk, Pasco, Hernando, Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough.
Once again, there can’t be any disagreement with our number one team:
- Manatee 9-0 (1). The number one team in the nation pummeled Sarasota 51-9, clinching the Class 7A-District 10 title. This is the 26th district crown in school history, 25 under current coach Joe Kinnan. If the Canes, who are heavy favorites to win their sixth state championship, do so, they would accomplish something they’ve never done… win back to back state titles. First up, the Northeast Vikings at home.
- Largo 9-0 (2). The Packers put a 49-6 beat down on Tarpon Springs, with solid performances on both sides of the ball. Largo has a first round home game against Armwood. Most seasons, having to face the Hawks in the playoffs isn’t a recipe for success. But this year, it’s the Packers who hold the recipe for a deep playoff run.
- Plant 8-1 (3). The Panthers pounded Bloomingdale last Friday 51-20, giving coach Robert Weiner his 100th career victory. Now they face a fired up Robinson Knights team that is eager to prove they are ready for “prime time”. Win or lose, Plant will be a difficult team to play in the playoffs.
- Durant 9-0 (4). Durant stays at No. 4 in our poll with a 57-27 win over Riverview. Now the Cougars are only a home win against King away, from their first ever 10-0 regular season. The good news for Durant is they won’t have to face Manatee unless they play in the state championship game, and again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen.
- Robinson 9-0 (6). With the Lakeland Dreadnaughts losing and dropping out of our top 10, Robinson moves up one spot. Now it’s time to see just how good these Knights are when they host Plant this Friday. So much is at stake for Robinson, with coach Mike DePue making his final regular season appearance, and a chance for a 10-0 season, which the Knight’s haven’t done in nearly 50 years. Win or lose, Robinson is going to be a handful in the playoffs.
- Pasco 8-0 (7). In the 55th meeting of the 9 Mile War, the Pirates collared the Zephyrhills Bulldogs 56-17, allowing two late fourth quarter touchdowns. The win gives Pasco their sixth consecutive Class 5A-District 6 title. Paco will also be a handful in the playoffs and a third-round game against Robinson is a real possibility. WOW!
- Lake Gibson 10-0 (8). The Braves achieved school history with their first ever perfect 10-0 season, as they completely dominated Lake Region 41-7. This week, Lake Gibson has a bye, giving them two weeks to prepare for their first round home game against Daytona Beach Mainland.
- Countryside 3-6 (9). Now the Cougars know their slim playoff hopes are over, after having to forfeit two district wins, and six wins altogether. But that didn’t stop Countryside from taking their frustrations out on St. Petersburg with a 37-7 win. The Cougars took some heat and two unsportsmanlike penalties, when late in the game, coaches ran all 24 seniors onto the field. Florida High School Athletic Association officials later said no additional punishments would be forthcoming. That’s some good news for Countryside. So when does the 2013 season start?
- Hillsborough 8-1 (NR). The Terriers received great news when the FHSAA announced they would not have to play in a tiebreaker to decide the 6A-8 title. But that news came after Hillsborough spent their bye week preparing for a game that they didn’t want to play. Now they can concentrate on ending their regular season at Chamberlain on a positive note, and a first round home game against surprising Osceola.
- East Lake 8-1 (NR). The Eagles climb into our top 10 poll thanks to a big 35-21 win over Palm Harbor University, giving East Lake the Class 8A-Distrrict 7 title. Quarterback Pete DiNova appears to be peaking when the Eagles will need him most, playoff time.
As always there are some really good teams that don’t make it in our top ten, but are worthy of a mention, including: Clearwater Central Catholic, Lakewood, Armwood, Springstead, and Lakeland.