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Tampa Bay football

Compiled by Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 20, 2000

Armwood (6-1) at Lake Wales (6-1)

This is Armwood's last chance to clinch a post-season berth without coach Sean Callahan biting his fingernails while waiting for a wild-card invitation. With his corps of receivers, running backs and a defense fit for a Division I college, Callahan is having too good a time to turn out the lights on this season this early.

Purks' pick: Armwood

Readling's pick: Armwood

King (5-2) at Tampa Bay Tech (4-3)

Coming out of the dark is the perfect way to describe this game. Titans Stadium is one of the most dimly lit stadiums in the county. This game features two teams that combined to win eight games last season. Now they're in the spotlight, and the winner most likely rolls to a district title.

Purks' pick: King

Readling's pick: Tampa Bay Tech

Jesuit (4-2) at Robinson (4-2)

It's judgment night for somebody. A win most likely ties up second place in the district. A loss puts the other one step closer to being done. Jesuit hasn't missed the playoffs since 1995, Robinson since 1996.

Purks' pick: Jesuit

Readling's pick: Jesuit

Gaither (5-1) at Bloomingdale (1-5)

Bulls coach Miles Bilinski gets a gleam in his eye when he talks about how his team is still in the playoff picture. A break here, a break there, some execution and not only is Bloomingdale defying gravity, it is still alive. That's a lot easier said than done when you're talking about a team featuring Lydell Ross.

Purks' pick: Gaither

Readling's pick: Gaither

Hillsborough (7-0) at East Lake (4-2)

Hillsborough likes to play nasty, aggressive defense. That takes the pressure off of the offense. That's one of the reasons the Terriers are three weeks away -- including next week's bye -- from winning their 20th consecutive regular-season game. East Lake has a pretty record, but tonight, it finds out what competition means.

Purks' pick: Hillsborough

Readling's pick: Hillsborough

Brandon (4-2) at Bradenton Manatee (5-2)

Brandon was scooting right along at 3-0. Then came Armwood and up jumped Riverview out of nowhere to post 42 points. Suddenly, the Eagles were thinking about the good times. The fun won't return this week as Manatee brings its own high-powered offense and, most likely, a whole bunch of points.

Purks' pick: Manatee

Readling's pick: Manatee

Chamberlain (4-2) at Leto (0-6)

Like oils applied to canvas, Chamberlain coach Billy Turner hopes his team's success continues to paint some sort of playoff picture. Leto shouldn't prove any problem tonight, much like it hasn't proved any problem to anybody else. Look for a big rushing game from Donovan Davis and a big passing night for Manny Hernandez.

Purks' pick: Chamberlain

Readling's pick: Chamberlain

CCC (5-1) at Tampa Catholic (1-5)

Just when it looked like nothing else could go wrong for Tampa Catholic, coach John Diehl resigns two days before one of the biggest games of the Crusaders' season. Assistant Curran Lane attempts to bring back the magic.

Purks' pick: CCC

Readling's pick: CCC

Durant (1-6) at Plant City (2-4)

The chance for a successful season has escaped for both teams, turning this into another page in history. That makes this game even more important on another level -- bragging rights. You never want to lose to your backyard neighbors, especially when they have won only two games. Durant is riding high after nearly knocking off Armwood last week.

Purks' pick: Plant City

Readling's upset special: Durant

Hudson (1-5) at Jefferson (6-1)

Hudson is going to learn a lesson tonight: This is a Jefferson team that cuts both ways. And we're not talking about running back Robert Wax. The Dragons can bite you on offense and defense, something our friends from Pasco aren't quite used to seeing. Hudson has scored 30 points, giving up 255.

Purks' pick: Jefferson

Readling's pick: Jefferson

Northside Christian (2-5) at Temple Heights (4-2)

Try this on for size: Temple Heights, quick-strike offense. Quarterback Daniel Sayne has the arm, and coach Steve Lewis, for the first time in a long time, has a couple of receivers and backs who can not only catch, but score from a long way out.

Purks' upset special: Northside Christian

Readling's pick: Temple Heights

Plant (2-4) at Wharton (1-5)

Wharton is up one week and down the next. The only problem is those ups are far more infrequent than the downs. Plant, on the other hand, seems one or two plays away from getting on track to finish the season strong. The Wildcats will have to remember there's always tomorrow.

Purks' pick: Plant

Readling's pick: Plant

Berkeley Prep (3-3) at Wesley Chapel (2-5)

How many people wish lunch could last forever? Well, tonight it just might for Berkeley Prep. The Bucs have been in a bit of a slump, losing their past two games, but if there were ever a slump-buster, this is it. Wesley Chapel has won two games in its second season, equaling last season's total. That means this season is already a Wildcat success.

Purks' pick: Wesley Chapel

Readling's pick: Berkeley Prep

Blake (4-3) at Pasco (3-3)

Pasco coach Ricky Thomas already is disappointed, and the game hasn't even begun. The Yellow Jackets won't be taking their band to Pasco in deference to the Pirates' Homecoming plans. Don't worry, coach. Blake will make you forget about the missing instruments when they turn the beat around.

Purks' pick: Blake

Readling's pick: Blake

East Bay (4-2) at Bradenton Southeast (4-1)

This is the game of the night if you like offense. Southeast will bring Adrian McPherson. He has the ability to light up any defense, and that spells trouble for East Bay. Ball control, ball control, ball control will be the key for the Indians.

Purks' pick: Southeast

Readling's pick: Southeast

Riverhills Christian (3-4) vs. Lakeland Evangel at Sonrise Christian

Three games in a row. That's how many Riverhills has won, and the Falcons have an excellent chance to even their record. Not bad for a first-year team feeling its way through 11-man football. Riverhills fans can count on a chance to get on their feet and cheer their team.

Purks' pick: Riverhills Christian

Readling's pick: Riverhills Christian

Sickles (1-6) at Sarasota Riverview (2-4)

It might appear as though Sickles is dead in the water, but in actuality, the Gryphons are still shaking like a live wire. Quarterback Drew DeBerg is still taking hits, Brian Dalton is still catching balls and opponents are still catching breaks.

Purks' pick: Sarasota Riverview

Readling's pick: Sarasota Riverview

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