With its six-game winning streak and a huge win over archrival Tampa Catholic on Friday, Jesuit rises to No. 5 in the Tribune Top 10 after several weeks of missing the rankings all together in the middle of the season. East Bay, meantime, jumps back into the top 10 after winning its final game against Durant and taking the three-way district playoff over Plant City and Strawberry Crest.
The poll awards points for each place voted on by five panelists who cover the sport extensively in Hillsborough County for the Tampa Tribune/TBO: Mike Camunas, Jarrett Guthrie, Nick Williams, Scott Purks and Doug Jacobs. First-place votes receive 10 points, followed by nine for second, and so on. First-place votes appear in parenthesis following team totals.
1. Armwood (10-0) 50 (5)
Up Next: Venice (8-2)
Comment: Undefeated. United. Undeniably the No. 1 ranked team after the regular season.
2. Plant (8-1-1) 44
Up Next: Orlando Boone (4-6) Comment: The Panthers might have something to say about who is the No. 1 ranked team after the playoffs are over. Maybe.
3. Sickles (9-1) 41
Up Next: Plant City (8-2) Comment: For that matter, the Gryphons might have something to say about who is the No. 1 ranked team after the playoffs are over.
4. Jefferson (9-1) 35
Up Next: at Largo (8-2) Comment: The Dragons have their hands full in the first round of the playoffs against Largo. If the Dragons win then it’s likely round two against Armwood or maybe Venice, which barely lost to Largo, 22-21.
5. Jesuit (7-3) 27
Up Next: Auburndale (3-7)
Comment: First-year coach Matt Thompson has weathered his share of adversity and come out looking pretty darned good.
6. Plant City (8-2) 23
Up Next: at Sickles (9-1) Comment: This looks like a very intriguing matchup because Plant City has the horses to compete with anybody.
7. Tampa Catholic (8-2) 20
Up Next: Melbourne Holy Trinity (7-3) Comment: Yes, the Crusaders lost for the 14th straight year to archrival Jesuit. But they remain very much in the hunt for a Class 3A state title.
8. Hillsborough (7-3) 16
Up Next: Idle Comment: Nice 23-20 victory over Tampa Bay Tech to finish off season. Hats off to the Terriers, who started the year 0-2 and basically out of the playoff hunt.
9. East Bay (7-3) 9
Up Next: Gaither (5-5) Comment: The Indians won their first district title in 40 years. Now can they win a playoff game? That might depend on which Cowboys team shows up.
10. Wharton (7-3) 8
Up Next: at Orlando Dr. Phillips (10-0) Comment: The Wildcats slipped into the playoffs and now hope they can slip by Orlando Dr. Phillips, the No. 26 ranked team in the state.
Also receiving votes: Carrollwood Day School, Alonso, Tampa Bay Tech