Scott Purks | Special to the Times
Newsome junior Andrea Fabregas (left) and senior Camila Vazquez (second from left) celebrate with teammates after winning a crucial point during a 25-20, 25-22, 25-19 victory over Riverview in a Class 9A, District 6 semifinal Tuesday night.
LITHIA — It’s tough to go 3-0 against the same team in the same season, a sentiment Newsome voiced after Tuesday night’s Class 9A, District 6 semifinal.
“After beating Riverview two times this season there was very little that they didn’t know about us,” Newsome coach Mike Shaffer said. “We changed up a few things for them, but there wasn’t too much to change. We knew we had to play them tough because we knew they would bring everything they had to try and beat us.”
The Sharks did, but once again Newsome was just a little sharper and tougher at key moments, ultimately leading the Wolves to a 25-20, 25-22, 25-19 victory, and giving them a 3-0 season record against their arch rivals.
Now the Wolves (10-7) move on to Thursday’s district final at Sarasota Riverview, offering Newsome another chance to talk about going 3-0 against the same team in the same season — except in reverse.
In two previous matches this season, Sarasota Riverview (22-3 and ranked 12th in the state by MaxPreps) defeated the Wolves in three straight games. …Full Story
ST. PETERSBURG — One team looking to take that next step into statewide dominance, another reentering postseason glory.
Tampa Bay HEAT and Bishop McLaughlin rode three-set sweeps Tuesday to a date at Keswick Christian on Thursday for the Class 3A, District 4 title.
In the opener, third-seeded Academy at the Lakes (15-12) pushed No. 2 Bishop McLaughlin (14-4) early, but soul-crushing play from sisters Gabriella and Audrey Koenig broke the Wildcats' spirit, completing a 25-19, 26-24, 25-12 sweep.
After seven ties, AATL surged behind the serving of Hannah Nunes and the net play of Lexi Kilfoyl (11 kills, two blocks) to take a 16-12 lead in the second set.
Enter sophomore Gabriella Koenig, who kickstarted a 9-2 Hurricane run with two crushing kills and a key block that fell in for a winner. Two kills from sophomore Lauren Reinhart put the Wildcats up by one, but freshman Audrey Koenig's fifth kill of the set combined with an ace from freshman setter Riley Gowing (eight assists and four aces) to give Bishop McLaughlin momentum.
From there, Gabriella Koenig went for the jugular, notching seven of her team-high 18 kills in the final set. …Full Story
PALM HARBOR — Since volleyball was added as a girl’s varsity sport in the 1970s, St. Petersburg has never won a district championship. The Green Devils have another chance at making history after advancing to the Class 8A, District 10 final with a 26-24, 25-19, 17-25, 25-14 win over No. 3 seed East Lake.
No. 2 seed St. Petersburg faces top seed and host Palm Harbor University on Thursday at 7. PHU defeated No. 4 Countryside 25-14, 25-13, 25-10. The Green Devils have been district runnerup four times.
“Our goal since the beginning of the season was to beat Palm Harbor in their house,” St. Petersburg coach Todd Maxwell said. “I don’t know if we can do that, and I know I’m giving them fuel for the fire, but that’s the goal we’ve had ever since we knew where districts were being held. Thursday, Oct. 19. That’s when we can do something our school has never done before.” …Full Story
ST. PETERSBURG — Keondrae Miller had a choice. With Admiral Farragut trailing by a point to Indian Rocks Christian with two minutes left and the ball on the Blue Jackets’ own 12-yard line, the second-down play called for a deep pass to Zion Roland.
Makes sense. Roland had already caught two long touchdowns and had 157 receiving yards. But with Roland covered, Miller decided tuck the ball and run. He broke three tackles near the line of scrimmage and ran all the way to the Golden Eagles’ 14-yard line.
Three plays later, Miller scored on a 1-yard keeper with five seconds left that iced a 40-35 come-from-behind win Monday night.
“I looked at my options and I knew there would be deep coverage,” said Miller, who rushed for 107 yards and threw for 240. “I anticipated zone coverage and when I saw the running lane I just had to take it. With those type of runs you have to dig deep and find your inner self. I found it at the last second.”
With the win, Admiral Farragut (4-4) keeps its Class 2A playoff hopes alive.
“If we didn’t win this game there was really no shot of us making the playoffs,” Roland said. …Full Story
Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Oct.7-Friday, Oct. 13. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.
Jessica Angelo, volleyball, Palm Harbor University: The junior outside hitter had 15 kills in the final of the PCAC championship against Tarpon Springs. The Hurricanes won 2-1 for their third straight PCAC title.
Amara Eziakonwa, volleyball, Wharton: The junior middle hitter had seven kills in two games against King in the Wharton tournament last weekend to win the title. It was King’s first loss of the season. She also had nine kills against Hillsborough in the final match of the regular season.
Chloe Grimm, swimming, Sunlake: The sophomore sprinter won the 50 free (23.93), the 100 free (52.72) and was part of the winning 200 free relay (1:42.08), all with record-setting times at the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet. …Full Story
ZEPHYRHILLS —Zephyrhills Christian Academy was taken a little bit by surprise when Carrollwood Day requested that their non-district matchup be moved up a day early. The Warriors obliged and Thursday night came out full of surprises, as Zephyrhills Christian picked off three passes and returned a fumble for a touchdown in a 56-16 rout of Carrollwood Day (2-3) on homecoming night. Full Story
Key plays: Many were made by defenders on Zephyrhills Christian's defense, with junior linebacker Javan Smith picking off a Chris Butash pass and returning it 35 yards for the game's first score. ... Also returning an interception for a touchdown was junior cornerback Tommy Scott in the third quarter. ... Butash scored the Patriots' first touchdown with 31.5 seconds before halftime on a 3-yard scamper. …
EAST LAKE – Five days ago, East Lake traveled to Waycross, Ga., for a regular-season game. The Eagles returned from the 526-mile trip with their playoff hopes in limbo after the Florida High School Athletic Association ruled the team used an ineligible player and had to forfeit its first three games, including two wins.
The school self-reported the infraction and is appealing the decision.
There was no time to dwell on what happened. East Lake had to get ready for a game this week against bitter rival Tarpon Springs.
It was the Spongers who notified East Lake of the infraction.
The game was supposed to be held Monday but a transformer blew up, causing a power outage in the East Lake area and forcing the game to be moved to Tuesday.
That only added to the drama leading up to the game.
The Eagles took out their frustrations, pounding the Spongers in a 34-7 victory.
The win was East Lake’s ninth straight in the series, the longest streak by any team. …Full Story
Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Sept. 30-Friday, Oct. 6. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.
Cameron Fitzpatrick, volleyball, Clearwater Central Catholic: The senior outside hitter had 24 kills, including the final kill in the fifth game, in a 3-2 win over Tarpon Springs on Tuesday. She leads the team with 185 kills.
Mariella Haimes, volleyball, Mitchell: The senior outside hitter/libero, had 15 kills and 26 digs combined in two wins over district rival Springstead.
Jenna Hampton, volleyball, Berkeley Prep: The senior outside hitter had nine kills, eight digs and two aces in a win over Illinois Lincoln-Way East in the silver bracket final of the Chicago Asics tournament on Sept. 30.
Bailey Hertenstein, cross country, Newsome: The senior took first in the flrunners.com race of champions in 18 minutes, 10.36 seconds, more than three seconds ahead of former teammate Alyssa Hendrix of Riverview. …Full Story
Scott Purks | Special to the Times
With four minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter last Thursday, a brawl broke out between players from Middleton and Jefferson.
The Florida High School Athletic Association fined Jefferson and Middleton a combined $2,250 and placed both football programs on administrative and restrictive probation stemming from a fight between players in a game last week.
The fight, which included Middleton players leaving the bench, occurred in the third quarter last Thursday night with the Dragons leading 17-3. The referees halted play.
The players involved received suspensions ranging from one to six weeks. There has not been a decision by administrators for a makeup date to play the rest of the suspended game, which is a district contest.
Middleton did not have any footage from the incident. Jefferson’s film was from the end zone, making it hard to determine everyone involved. On Sept. 29, a day after the brawl, school and Hillsborough County administrators met with the official who filed the report to review the film and identify the players.
In the FHSAA report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, the names of the players were redacted.
Jefferson was fined $700. Three players were suspended for six weeks; the other was suspended for one game. …Full Story
Monica Herndon| Times
Wesley Chapel's Isaiah Bolden is off the team.
Wesley Chapel's Isaiah Bolden, one of the top players in the Tampa Bay area, was dismissed from the team on Tuesday, Wildcats coach Tony Egan said.
Bolden, a four-star recruit who has already committed to Oregon, said there was an incident Tuesday that led to his dismissmal. Egan said it was for "undisclosed reasons."
After transferring from Bartram Trail last year, Bolden helped Wesley Chapel go 7-2 and nearly make the playoffs.
This season, Bolden was used in a variety of ways, but he made his biggest impact on defense and special teams. He returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown and a punt 93 yards for a score. The Wildcats are 4-2 heading into Friday's game against Ridgewood.
Bolden said his family is trying to talk to the coaching staff to see if the situation can be rectified.
"I really don't know what's going on right now," Bolden said.
Any chance of returning would be up to the school's administrators according to Egan.
"(Tuesday) at practice he was sent home and told he was off the team," Egan said. "I don't know if he'll be able to return. I'll have to talk more with him, his family and our administration."Full Story
BROOKSVILLE – The historic 24-game regular-season win streak was snapped for Nature Coast only four nights ago, but the Sharks escaped Tuesday night at Central with another important streak still intact.Full Story
The Sharks have won 12 consecutive games against Hernando County rivals, but Central came out fast and jumped on Nature Coast, leading 14-0 midway through the second quarter. In a game rescheduled because of Hurricane Irma last month, the Bears looked hungry in this crucial mid-week Class 5A, District 7 contest.
Key plays: The Bears (2-3, 1-2) received the opening kickoff and struck quickly. Central QB Izzy Zena tossed a 49-yard bomb to Central WR Isaiah Brown less than two minutes into the game. … Down 28-26, the Bears milked nearly six minutes off the clock before attempting a 30-yard field goal from the right hash mark. Zena, who had yet to attempt a field goal in his two seasons as the team’s placekicker, had plenty of distance on the attempt but missed just right. … After holding Nature Coast (3-1, 2-0) to a fourth down and 2, Central was out of timeouts, so Sharks coach Cory Johns elected to go for the first down to ice the game. The gutsy call paid off with Nature Coast QB Fabian Burnett gaining 3 yards to cement the win.
Key drive: Nature Coast RB Mike Weston (11 carries, 99 yards) sat during the first half of the game due to a violation of team rules, but in his first action of the second half, his 30-yard run set up a 26-yard touchdown from Burnett to TE Willie Coffey. The score represented the lone points of the third quarter for either team and put the Sharks ahead 21-20, the team’s first lead of the night.
Stars of the night: Brown looked as polished an any receiver to come out of this area. Not only did he high-point catch the 49-yard deep ball to start things for the Bears, but his second touchdown was even more impressive. On fourth and goal, Zena threw a back-shoulder fade to the sophomore. The defensive back batted the ball in the air, but Brown, showing great focus, snagged the pass and got his feet down for the score. The sophomore already has 31 receptions for 491 yards and eight touchdowns halfway through the campaign. … Zena was the dual threat that coaches on the Central sideline have come to expect. He not only went 5-of-19 passing for 122 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but did even more damage with his legs, rushing for 145 yards on 14 carries. … Burnett (15 carries, 144 yards, one touchdown) gashed the Bears defense on more than one occasion. He also connected on 4-of-6 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. … Coffey scored three of the Sharks’ four touchdowns. Replacing Weston for most of the first half in the backfield, he rushed five times for 51 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 52 yards and two touchdowns.
Key stats: While Central is now 5-9 all-time in the series with Nature Coast, the Bears had lost the previous eight meetings by an average score of 49-7. This was the first competitive meeting between the two in years. … The Bears could easily be 5-0. With this two-point loss, Central has lost its three games by a combined four points (21-20 to Springstead, 34-33 to Weeki Wachee). … Nature Coast fumbled eight times, losing six. The Sharks also had 13 penalties for 110 yards on the night.
Final word: “When you turn the ball over six times, you can’t really expect to be in anything else but a tight game. We turned the ball over three times last week, but that was in the pouring rain. I can’t explain what happened (Tuesday night).” – Johns
CLEARWATER — Both Tarpon Springs and Clearwater Central Catholic were hoping for a competitive match Tuesday night in preparation for postseason tournaments. They got what they wanted.
The Spongers took the first two games, but the Marauders came back to win the final three and take the match 24-26, 16-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-7 on senior night. This was the third straight five-game match for CCC and the fourth this season. The Marauders are now 2-2 in five-game matches.
“This is probably the youngest team that I’ve had,” said CCC coach Stephen Shepherd, who has two seniors on the roster. “So with that, they are up here, and then they’re down here. Every match against good competition has gone five, which is great for us because we are growing quickly.”
The first game was an indication of how things would go the rest of the night. The game was tied eight times with no team holding more than a five-point lead. With the score tied at 24, Spongers outside hitter Mackenzie Dufresne had a kill and CCC had a kill attempt go wide to end the game.
“We had 17 errors in that first game,” Shepherd said. “That’s way too many points to give to a good team.” …Full Story
TAMPA — Blake played its second game in four days while Hillsborough suited up for the second time in five days. So, rust and mistakes were bound to happen on Monday night.
The Terriers (3-2, 2-0) defeated the Yellow Jackets 42-10 in a game that featured 42 total penalties.
Blake (3-2, 0-2) held a 2-0 lead until midway through the second quarter. However, Hillsborough used a hard-nosed rushing attack and a solid overall performance from its defense to pull away after that.
Key plays: Ahead 7-2, the Terriers shifted momentum their way with a heads-up play to end the second quarter. Junior quarterback Tyler Thomas connected with senior wide receiver Taaj Pringle for a 28-yard touchdown strike. It marked the final play of the first half and gave Hillsborough a 12-point advantage. …Full Story
TAMPA — After losing first three games to open the season, and its last eight dating to last year, Brandon (1-3, 1-0) finally got to celebrate Monday with a 33-0 shutout over King (0-5, 0-2) in a Class 6A, District 7 matchup. Quarterback Tavaris Thomas threw a touchdown and ran for another as the Eagles gave first-year coach Isaac Anderson his first career win.
"This was a win we really needed because of how hard these kids have worked, for our self-esteem and just to build a winning culture here," Anderson said.
Key plays: After Thomas was sacked on fourth down on Brandon's opening drive, Eagles junior Jamal Nash set up his team's first touchdown by returning an interception to the Lions' 3-yard line. J'lon Horton scored four plays later to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead.
Stars of the game: A 5-yard touchdown run by Phillip Harris and Thomas' 10-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Mendez late in the second quarter gave the Eagles a 19-0 lead at halftime. ... Horton and Harry Kanu each added touchdowns in the second half for Brandon. ... The Eagles' Jaylon Godbolt and Asheron Michel each recorded sacks in the defensive effort. …Full Story
Scott Purks | Special to the Times
Armwood quarterback Devin Black looks for running room as Chamberlain linebacker Johnny Walker gives chase. Chamberlain hung tough with the talented Hawks through the first half and trailed only 10-7 heading into the third quarter.
SEFFNER — Armwood is one of the best teams in the state and everybody inTampa Bay knows it. The Hawks have, in fact, flat out intimidated some area teams with their reputation.
The Chiefs came into Monday night’s Class 6A, District 7 contest ready to not only play tough with the Hawks, but to beat them.
And for more than three quarters it was anybody’s ball game before two late touchdowns finally gave Armwood a 24-7 victory.
“Chamberlain is a tough, well-coached team,” Armwood coach Evan Davis said. “We knew they were tough coming into this game and we were concerned.”
The victory puts Armwood (4-0, 2-0) in the district driver’s seat, but the game gave Chamberlain (3-1, 1-1) plenty of good vibes to build on.
“We played fast and we gave it everything we had and I couldn’t be more proud,” Chamberlain coach Jason Lane said. “We see this game as the pre-test and we hope we’ll see (Armwood) in the playoffs for the post-test. We have that goal to play for.”
On Monday, the Hawks struck first after Chamberlain shanked a punt and gave Armwood a first down at the Chiefs’ 26-yard line. Two plays later, Armwood quarterback Devin Black scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. …Full Story