When the dust settled on National Signing Day, several Brandon-area athletes had new college homes. In fact, 14 local prep football players plus four soccer and two volleyball players signed scholarships.
To no surprise, the Class 4A state champions, Armwood, led the way. The Hawks had five players cement their oral commitments while Tampa Bay Tech had three players sign. Bloomingdale and Riverview each had two and Brandon and Durant each had one.
The Armwood players to sign were defensive lineman Jarriett Buie (University of South Florida), linebacker Fred Hicks (East Carolina), offensive lineman Jake Griffin (USF), offensive lineman Mike Thompson (Buffalo) and defensive back/wide receiver Mike Williams (USF). Each had already committed orally.
The Bloomingdale duo of defensive lineman Anthony Davis and wide receiver Josh Dobbie are headed to Tennessee State and Army, respectively. Riverview's Tyrone McKenzie (linebacker/running back) signed with Michigan State while teammate Wes Taylor (kicker) signed with Florida A&M.
Tampa Bay Tech had three players sign, led by the highly recruited linebacker Maurice Crum, who was drawn to Notre Dame's mix of athletics and academics. Linebacker Cedrick Maxwell signed with Kent State and offensive lineman Greg Smith will play at West Virginia Tech.
Brandon wide receiver/defensive back Antonio Brown will attend Bethel College, a Division III program in Tennessee, while Durant's Fred Andrew signed with Delaware. Also, Durant's Marshall McDuffie is expected to sign with Florida International soon.
GIRLS SOCCER: First-year Newsome is on its way to the region finals. A squad with no seniors and seven freshmen, Newsome survived the Class 4A Region 3 semifinals Feb.10, outlasting Leesburg 1-0. After a goal from Danielle Joyce seven minutes into the second half, the 14-1-2 Wolves played solid defense to continue their surprising season.
Meanwhile, a Durant-Bloomingdale clash in the Class 6A, Region 2 finals has been thwarted. Durant topped Wellington 3-2 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 regulation, but Bloomingdale lost 2-1 to Stuart Martin County.
Durant plays at Stuart Martin County today, while Newsome hosts Tarpon Springs for the right to advance to the state final four in their classes.
BOYS SOCCER: Bloomingdale captured the Class 6A, District 6 championship in style Feb. 6, defeating Plant City 7-0. The Bulls, who scored all their goals in the opening half, outshot the Raiders 20-6 while improving to 23-2-1 on the season. Alex Muniz scored three goals and had an assist to lead the Bulls, who also got two goals and an assist from Donald Emery. David McClelland scored a goal and assisted on another and Tom Davison scored once and assisted on three goals.