Volleyball is back in full swing after Hurricane Irma, with schools playing just about every day this week. Locally, Academy of the Holy Names will host a weekend tournament. Here are the teams involved and the schedule:
Pool A: Academy of the Holy Names, Tampa Bay HEAT, Shorecrest, Robinson
Pool B: Tampa Prep, Tampa Catholic, Riverview, Sarasota
Friday: AHN vs. Shorecrest, 4; Tampa Prep vs. Riverview, 4; Tampa Bay HEAT vs. Robinson, 5:15; Tampa Catholic vs. Sarasota, 5:15; AHN vs. Robinson, 6:30; Tampa Prep vs. Sarasota, 6:30; Tampa HEAT vs. Shorecrest, 7:45; Tampa Catholic vs. Riverview, 7:45
Saturday: Shorecrest vs. Robinson, 9 a.m.; Riverview vs. Sarasota, 9 a.m.; AHN vs. Tampa Bay HEAT, 10:15 a.m.; Tampa Prep vs. Tampa Catholic, 10:15 a.m.
Consolation semifinals begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Gold division semifinals begin at 12:45 p.m. Final scheduled for 3:15 p.m.Full Story
WESLEY CHAPEL – Mitchell entered Tuesday night’s match against Wesley Chapel with a bit of an advantage. The Mustangs played in the Berkeley Invitational last weekend and got in five matches against quality competition. The Bulls, on the other hand, had only one practice on Monday after a near two-week break due to Hurricane Irma.
If there was any rust, it didn’t show. Wiregrass Ranch won the first game, then gave Mitchell all it could handle before the Mustangs pulled out a 17-25, 25-16, 25-20, 27-29, 15-13 win.
“They beat us last year so this was kind of a big deal for us,’’ Mitchell senior outside hitter Samantha Burtt said. “We really didn’t want it to go five. We thought we were going to win and had confidence that we would beat them and go home and go to sleep. But we were overconfident and made some errors.’’
Wiregrass Ranch (6-2) pulled away in the middle of the first game and had a 20-15 lead. Thanks to some Mustangs’ errors and a kill by Caroline Eichelberger, the Bulls were able to close out the first game. But the next two games were all Mitchell. …Full Story
TAMPA — It was third and 15, deep in Carrollwood Day's own territory, so then, more than ever, quarterback Chris Butash needed to come up with a big play.
His Patriots had taken the lead early against Seffner Christian, but the game turned into a back-and-forth affair as the night wore on. With less than eight minutes to play, the Crusaders had a lead, and they were only getting faster.
In what could have been Butash’s big moment, the Crusader defense proved just that.
Seconds after the ball was snapped, the Seffner Christian defensive line came barrelling toward him, and Seffner Christian’s Caleb Warren, who had a touchdown earlier in the night, recorded a big sack, bringing down Butash for a loss of 12 yards.
The Crusaders got the ball back in prime position to run down the clock. Butash, though, didn’t let the negative thoughts creep in just yet.
“We love these types of games,” Butash said. “We’re used to them, and we’re used to coming back.”
So that’s exactly what the Patriots did. …Full Story
Douglas R. Clifford | Times
Clearwater vs. Countryside, Monday night football
CLEARWATER — Two years ago, the city of Clearwater celebrated its centennial. As part of the festivities, the mayor presented a trophy to the winner of the Clearwater-Countryside matchup.
The Tornadoes won that game 35-7 to end a 13-game losing streak to one of their fiercest rivals. The score is etched in the trophy, the first of what was was supposed to became an annual tradition.
The game was canceled last year because of the threat Hurricane Matthew posed to the area. Weather delays — and Hurricane Irma — put this year’s game in jeopardy, too.
Clearwater coach Don Mesick made sure it happened.
“We wanted to make sure it was played this year,” Mesick said.
Announced last week and given just three weekend days of practice, the teams reunited for another grudge match after a one-year hiatus.
The Tornadoes maintained their dominance, pulling away after a tight first quarter to win 35-14.
Both teams had not played a full regular-season game since the opening week of the season. Both won so convincingly (Clearwater 56-6 over Dunedin; Countryside 40-0 over Osceola) a running clock was used for most of the second half in each one. …Full Story
ST. PETERSBURG — Largo scored on three straight possessions in the second quarter to pull away from host Dixie Hollins and cruise to a 37-0 win Monday.
Key plays: Largo (2-1) took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter on a short touchdown run by Andre Bell and from there the balanced attack took over. Quarterback Kyle Wisniewski was efficient and accurate, throwing three touchdown passes in the game. The Packers added a special-teams touchdown in the third quarter as well. Dixie Hollins (0-2) threw caution to the wind from the very beginning when they opened the game with an onside kick. The Rebels went for a couple of fourth downs in the first half and Zach Traynor gained 16 yards for a first down on a fake punt. However, Dixie's biggest plays of the first half were nullified by holding penalties and that kept the Rebels from threatening to score. …Full Story
SEMINOLE — After a hurricane-influenced week that ruined any opportunity at game planning, Boca Ciega coach Max Smith went with a simple philosophy for a rare Monday contest: "You can't control events, but you can control responses."
With little prep time, Smith and the Pirates simply found out what worked against host Osceola and literally rolled with it. Behind the two-way power of quarterback Osby Green and the first-half running of D'Soni Ross, Bogie dismantled an overmatched Warrior squad 41-6.
Key drive: Holding a scant 7-0 lead with 8:40 left in the second quarter, Bogie took possession at its own 25 and went to work. Green scrambled for 13 yards on third and 8 to keep the drive alive, and Ross dashed through a huge hole up the middle two plays later, wrapping up an eight-play march with a 32-yard dash to pay dirt. This sparked a Pirate run of 21 points over the last six minutes of the half to essentially wrap up the victory. …Full Story
NEW PORT RICHEY — Zephyrhills (2-1, 1-0) started its district slate against Ridgewood (1-2, 0-1) in blowout fashion, cruising past the Rams in a 59-6 rout at Ram Booster Stadium on Monday night.
Key plays: Zephyrhills quarterback Charles Harrison III made quick work of the Ridgewood defense in the opening quarter, throwing a 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jaquan Sheppard and rushing for a 24-yard score. ... The score that broke the game wide open was a 56-yard scoring run by Bulldogs running back Elijah Thomas with 2:56 left in the first quarter.
Key drives: The likely most key drive ended in one play, as Zephyrhills answered Ridgewood's lone scoring drive with a touchdown of its own. The Bulldogs started on their own 35-yard line and Thomas took the Harrison handoff and cut up the field 65 yards to pay dirt and put Zephyrhills ahead 38-6 with 4:42 to go before halftime. …Full Story
WESLEY CHAPEL — While Wesley Chapel scored on its first play from scrimmage, Fivay lost 4 yards on its, and neither trend abated the rest of the night. The host Wildcats (3-1) scored touchdowns on their first five possessions and held the Falcons to minus-40 yards in a Monday night 49-0 rout.
Key plays: The coin toss, perhaps? Fivay won it, chose to defer to the second half and by the time that benefit was reaped, the running clock was in effect. Meanwhile Chapel used the first play — with coaches saying "run it" from the sideline — to have new starting quarterback Justin Trapnell chuck a deep ball that sophomore Jelani Vassell turned into a 74-yard touchdown.
Key drive: The Wildcats didn't face many third downs, much less third and longs, but on third and 13 late in the first quarter, Trapnell connected beautifully with tight end Matt Severson. It became Chapel's lengthiest drive of the night, covering 67 yards and eight plays, finishing with Dexter Leverett's 16-yard TD run for a 27-0 lead. …Full Story
NEW PORT RICHEY — River Ridge (1-2) seems to have gotten its season back on track. After two lackluster offensive performances, the offense ignited while the defense pitched a shutout until the fourth quarter in a 45-7 blowout win over 5A-8 district foe Anclote.
Key play: One play after recording his first interception in purple, Anthony Kendall stuck it to his former team with a 72-yard touchdown reception to push the lead to 14-0 in the first quater. Later in the half he added a 22-yard rushing score.
Stars of the game: Kyle St. John threw for a game-high 216 yards with his favorite targets being Bryce Smith (68 yards), Kendall (72 yards, one TD) and D.J. Mann (60 yards, one TD). ... Mann also had a TD reception from Devin Gallo for 24 yards.. Gallo chipped in with 45 yards through the air and a score on the ground.. Anthony Grassi, Thomas Carrano and Tyler Poirier each had a sack for the Knights defense. ... Mareece Sturgis led the Sharks with 76 total yards; his 14-yard scamper in the fourth quarter prevented the shut out. …Full Story
EAST LAKE – Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford has never beaten East Lake in four previous attempts. He had his best chance on Monday night and decided to gamble.
The Patriots scored with 18 seconds left to cut the lead to one point. Instead of kicking an extra point and going to overtime, Crawford called for a two-point play. Quarterback Brandon Coppola took a shotgun snap, rolled right and passed to Lawrance Toafili. Toafili fell down 1 yard short of the end zone and East Lake escaped with a 17-16 win.
“That one’s on me,’’ Crawford said. “I wanted to beat them so badly. I’d do it over again, but I might run a different play.’’
Pinellas Park scored twice in the final nine minutes to get back into the game. With just over five minutes to play, Coppola scored on a 10-yard run to cut the lead to 17-10. Then with three minutes left, East Lake fumbled on a run up the middle that gave the Patriots life.
Toafili started the drive with a 20-yard run. He then capped the drive with an 8-yard run to cut the lead to one. Pinellas Park was gashing the East Lake defense late, but the Eagles came up with one last stop. …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. Because weather has interrupted a good bit of this season so far, these nominations span the start of the regular season thru Friday, Sept. 15 Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.
Ellie Burris, volleyball, Indian Rocks Christian: The senior had 14 blocks, four aces and 23 digs in a 3-1 win over Academy of the Holy Names on Aug. 29. She’s at 90 digs for the season.
Kirbea Harrell, volleyball, Fivay: The senior had 28 kills and 35 digs in a 3-2 win over Sunlake on Aug. 24. In four matches, Harrell has tallied 79 kills.
Jill Kilgroe, volleyball, St. Petersburg: The junior libero had 32 digs in a 3-1 district win over East Lake on Aug. 29. She’s at 91 digs for the season.
Gabriella Koenig, volleyball, Bishop McLaughlin: In the last four matches prior to the hurricane delay, Koenig, a sophomore, had a total of 45 kills. The Hurricanes won all four matches in straight games. …Full Story
Loren Elliott | Times
This year's Berkeley Premier field will have 14 teams instead of 16. "Everybody is ready to go after a long break," Bucs coach Mackenzie Dagostino said.
The 25th annual Berkeley Premier volleyball tournament will be held today and Saturday despite the hit from Hurricane Irma that closed schools for the entire week.
Berkeley Prep will host 14 schools in today’s pool play, which starts at 4 p.m. Saturday morning there will be more pool play before teams are broken into brackets. The final is scheduled for 3:30 on Saturday.
The tournament was originally scheduled to have 16 teams but some schools backed out due to the hurricane. There were some late additions to boost the field to 14.
“We’re still a go,’’ Berkeley Prep coach Mackenzie Dagostino said. “We were able to get enough teams. Everybody is ready to go after a long break.’’
Here are the teams in the four pools:
Pool 1: Miami Westminster Christian, Tallahassee Leon, Mitchell
Pool 2: Walton, Ocala Trinity Catholic, East Lake
Pool 3: Lake Highland Prep, Orlando First Academy, Tampa Prep, New Orleans Sacred Heart
Pool 4: Berkeley Prep, Orlando Bishop Moore, Carrollwood Day, Windermere Prep
Admission to the tournament is $6 per day or $10 for both days. For a complete schedule, go to Berkeleyprep.org and click on athletics.Full Story
DADE CITY — Losing last week to rival Wiregrass Ranch in a closely-contested game was a little bit of a letdown, but Wesley Chapel didn't want to follow it up with another facing Pasco. The Wildcats (2-1) seemed in position to be 2-0 and just a mere play here or there separates them from being undefeated, so Wesley Chapel took it out on the Pirates. Without starting quarterback Isaiah Bolden, Wesley Chapel racked up 258 yards rushing and 28 fourth-quarter points en route to a 42-12 victory Thursday night.
Key play: To start off the fourth quarter Wesley Chapel defensive back Tyler Richmond picked off Pasco quarterback Doug Crawford (8-of-12, 90 yards) and returned the interception 21 yards for a touchdown. From there, the Wildcats ripped off 28 unanswered points.
Key drive: It may not have been a long drive in terms of eating up the game clock, but it took just three plays and traveled 90 yards. Late in the second quarter while up 7-0, Wesley Chapel got the ball on its own 10-yard line, and after Dexter Leverett runs of 6 and 5 yards, Jelani Vassell hit on a 79-yard scoring run to put the Wildcats up 14-0. …Full Story
BRADENTON — Zephyrhills Christian (3-0) overcame a lackluster start, and after spotting Bradenton Christian an early 6-0 lead, reeled off 46 straight points to remain unbeaten with a 46-6 win in a Thursday game played a night early due to the threat of Hurricane Irma.
Key plays: Leading 14-6, Zephyrhills Christian needed just five plays to score three touchdowns and reel off 20 consecutive points on its first three possessions of the third quarter to open up a close game. Javion Hanner scored his second touchdown of the game on a 60-yard run, Calvin Samuel ran for a 57-yard touchdown, his second of the game, and Jacoby Braxton tossed a 35-yard scoring pass to Kavbion Marbra.
Key drive: After the teams traded interceptions (Javan Smith for the Warriors and the Panthers’ Tyler Brown), Zephyrhills Christian stopped Bradenton Christian for the second time on a fourth-down attempt. Six plays and 69 yards later, Hanner scored on a 10-yard run to give the Warriors a 14-6 lead with just more than two minutes left in the first half. …Full Story
CLEARWATER – Jerzahn Newton is a workhorse back, a guy with the strength and indefatigability to lower his head while gorging on yards.
Jerjuan Newton is more Houdini than halfback. Whenever this electrifying runner is trapped by a cluster of defenders, he invariably can wriggle out of reach, leaving a trail of disbelieving players and fans.
Together, the brothers ran through and around Tampa Catholic in a convincing 25-0 victory in the only rivalry game played this week.
Jerzahn, a sophomore, ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Jerjuan, a junior, added 66 yards and a score.
Together, they not only helped CCC (3-0) exact revenge for last year’s loss to its fiercest rival but also fill a glaring void in the backfield.
Playing running back is something the Newtons are adept at.
Older brother Jervon rushed for 1,252 yards and 18 touchdowns. He graduated and is now playing at Marist, along with twin Jerquan.
The role of featured back was handed down to the siblings.
“We didn’t have to groom Jerzahn and Jerjaun,” Marauders coach Chris Harvey said. “They groom themselves. The thing with a Newton in general is they don’t lack in confidence and they work their tails off. …Full Story