Hillsborough: News and notes

By JOE SMITH and KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writers
Published September 30, 2007

Making history

Don't be surprised if people at Spoto are still talking about Jamel Middleton's 94-yard fumble return for a touchdown years from now. It wasn't just the biggest play of the night in Spoto's shocking 21-18 win over previously unbeaten Tampa Bay Tech, but it also was the biggest play in the Spartans' brief history.

Before the return, Spoto trailed 12-0 and looked like it might wind up on the wrong end of a blowout. But on a QB keeper, TBT fumbled, the ball bounced into Middleton's hands and he was off.

"The was the game changer," Middleton said.

The Titans will have restless nights thinking about what might have been had that particular play not occurred.

As for Spoto coach Scott Palmer? Well, let's just say he'd rather not go there.

"I'm not a fortune teller," Palmer said. "I'm a coach."

Gryphons win another title

The county's hottest volleyball team may just be Sickles (17-3), which won its 12th straight match Saturday and wrapped up its second straight tournament title by beating Lakewood 25-17, 25-21 in the final of the Hillsborough Community College Invitational.

The Gryphons went 5-0 in the event - including wins over Leto, Land O'Lakes - just one week after winning the Academy of the Holy Names tournament.

Odds and ends

TBT RB/DB Antonio Wallace, considered one of the region's top juniors, hurt his left ankle on a 37-yard second-quarter run and played sparingly the rest of the game. The severity of his injury is not known.

Numbers game

3 Shutouts by Hillsborough in its first five games of the season.

0-5 Robinson's record for the first time in 17 years.

Gutsy call of the week

Wharton coach David Mitchell's decision to go for two-point conversion - and the win - against Plant City. RB Jairus Jones converted for a big 15-14 victory.

Patchan narrows college choices

Armwood senior two-way lineman Matt Patchan, the bay area's top-rated recruit, made his official visit to Florida on Saturday when the Gators hosted Auburn; it's one of three visits scheduled for the blue-chip tackle - LSU and Miami are the others.