This week features a first-timer in the Tribune’s Top 10: Strawberry Crest, which has won five straight games and moves into the poll’s No. 9 spot. Jesuit, meantime, has won four in a row and slips back into the poll at No. 10. Wharton and East Bay fell out of the top 10 after losing Friday night.
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 receives 10 points, followed by nine points for second place, and so on. First-place votes appear in parentheses following team totals.
1. Armwood (7-0) 50 (5)
Up Next: King (5-3)
Comment: The Hawks played with a running clock in the second halves of their last two blowouts. The Lions should give Armwood a little tougher time.
2. Plant (6-1-1) 43
Up Next: at Wharton (6-2)
Comment: A victory would improve the Panthers to 4-0 in Class 8A-District 6 and pretty much give them a pass to the playoffs for the ninth consecutive year.
3. Sickles (6-1) 38
Up Next: at Wiregrass Ranch (3-4)
Comment: The Gryphons must not look ahead to next week’s huge Class 7A-District 7 game against Tampa Bay Tech. They must stay focused on Wiregrass Ranch.
4. Jefferson (6-1) 36
Up Next: Chamberlain (4-4)
Comment: If anybody could throw a wrench into Jefferson’s playoff plans, it’s Class 6A-District 8 foe Chamberlain, which has put a scare into several pretty good squads.
5. Tampa Bay Tech (6-1) 30
Up Next: at Gaither (3-4)
Comment: The Titans must not look ahead to next week’s huge Class 7A-District 7 game against Sickles. They must stay focused on Gaither.
6. Tampa Catholic (6-1) 27
Up Next: Lakeland Christian (6-1)
Comment: This makes three straight brutal Class 3A-District 4 games for the Crusaders, who are 3-0 in the district and can pretty much seal up a playoff spot with a victory.
7. Hillsborough (5-2) 20
Up Next: Durant (2-6)
Comment: The Terriers could win their final eight games of the season and still not make the playoffs. That’s life in Class 6A-District 8.
8. Plant City (5-2) 13
Up Next: Strawberry Crest (6-2)
Comment: This is the east Hillsborough County clash du jour. It also has serious Class 7A-District 8 implications.
9. Strawberry Crest (6-2) 11
Up Next: at Plant City (5-2)
Comment: Strawberry Crest has won five straight games. A victory against Plant City would give the Chargers a 4-0 record in Class 7A-District 8 and a huge lead in the playoff run.
10. Jesuit (5-3) 6
Up Next: Idle
Comment: Jesuit has won four in a row against some respectable teams. Welcome back, Tigers, to the Tribune’s Top 10.
Also receiving votes: Wharton