SEFFNER — On paper, Armwood High’s football team does not have a superstar.
For most of the regular season, only two players — kicker/punter Sterling Hofrichter and defensive back Phillip Smith — ranked in the top 10 in a statistical category in Hillsborough County.
Yet the Hawks are undefeated, the No. 2 team in the state’s Class 6A poll, and they are playing in the state semifinals tonight against St. Johns Bartram Trail.
This season, the Hawks field a plethora of playmakers. And from week to week, many players have taken a turn going from unsung to the hero on Friday night.
“We’ve never had so many,” Armwood coach Sean Callahan said. “Most of them aren’t household names.”
In a highly-anticipated and pivotal regular-season district game against Hillsborough, junior running back Caylan Holloway rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. In last week’s region final against Spring Hill Springstead, sophomore receiver Trevor Laurent scored on a 70-yard touchdown in the third quarter and finished with a season-high 136 receiving yards.
Amazingly, spreading the wealth hasn’t been an issue.
“I try to spread the ball around so everybody can make plays,” said junior quarterback Noah Johnson, who in his first full varsity season as a starter has been the Hawks’ top producer, with a team-high 724 rushing yards and 1,910 passing yards and 29 total touchdowns. “Whoever gets the ball is going to eat and try to score.”
And what about feeding the guy with the hot hand?
“Everybody has a hot hand on our offense,” Johnson said.
Offensively, Armwood has a stable of five running backs averaging between 2.5 and 9.8 yards per carry.
In last week’s 41-0 win, senior Greg Newton made the most of two carries with a 30-yard touchdown run.
“Every rep is an to make a big play,” Callahan said. “You may get seven or eight reps, but they better be good.”
Laurent leads the receiving corps with 32 receptions for 532 yards, followed by seniors Talvin Bailey (477 yards) and Austin Gallon (458).
Defensively, three members of Armwood’s secondary have four interceptions entering tonight’s game, while seven players have four or more sacks.
“Somebody will step up,” said junior defensive back Aaron Covington, who has had an interception in each of the past two games. “Everybody is getting it right now.”
Sixteen players have scored for Armwood this season. With so many weapons, Callahan said depth has hardly been a challenge.
“It makes it look like we know what we’re talking about,” he said. “They all can be that good.”