Thursday, October 18, 2018


Bob Putnam, Times staff writer

Bob Putnam, Times staff writer

Bob Putnam has covered high school sports for the Tampa Bay Times as a staff writer since 1996. He is a fourth-generation Floridian who graduated from Dixie Hollins High School and wrote for the student newspapers at St. Petersburg College and USF. He has covered the high school careers of football stars Riley Cooper (CCC/Florida/Philadelphia Eagles), Dante Fowler (Lakewood/Florida/Jacksonville Jaguars), Leonard Johnson (Largo/Iowa State/Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Dexter McCluster (Largo, Mississippi/Tennessee Titans), among others.

Walking into the Clearwater Central Catholic football facility after practice is now a welcomed pleasure. The CCC upgrade is part of a new multi-million dollar beautiful football facility, which opened last week. The CCC football facility now features defensive and offensive meeting rooms, a training room, seperate offices for coaches, a lounge, locker room and showers. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)

The IMG of local high school football facilities?

CLEARWATER — After months of peering through windows, Clearwater Central Catholic High School players were able to tour their football cathedral for the first time last week. They oohed at the opulence. They aahed at the extravagance.
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Jesuit senior Matthew Pittman, No. 32, leads the Tigers onto the field before a district game against Jefferso. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)

HomeTeam 15: Football predictions (w/ video)

Our staffers’ predictions for our spotlight games of the week:Clearwater Central Catholic at Jesuit, 7:30Page: Jesuit 23-21Putnam: Jesuit 17-16Clearwater at Boca Ciega, 7:30...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Gibbs High School football head coach Ja'Vonta Trotter talks with his team while huddling up during practice. (DIRK SHADD | Times)

Forfeits put Gibbs’ playoff hopes in jeopardy

Gibbs High was fined $700 and had to forfeit its first six games of the regular season for using a fifth-year senior who was ruled ineligible by the Florida High School Athletic Association.In all, the Gladiators forfeited seven games,...
Published: 10/17/18
Clearwater Central Catholic's Casey Levy (20) runs the ball in for a touchdown during the second half of a preseason classic against Wiregrass Ranch. (TAILYR IRVINE | Times)

Casey Levy adds an edge to Clearwater Central Catholic’s ground game

CLEARWATER — Casey Levy can absorb pain. Two years ago, he was helping a friend chop down a tree with an axe. Suddenly, the steel blade flew off the wooden handle, striking Levy in the knee.The cut required about 10...
Published: 10/17/18
Tarpon Springs football coach George Kotis, with wife Artemis. Artemis was in charge of the guidance department at the high school, but had to step away after being diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer. She also was heavily involved with her husband's team. (Courtesy of the Kotis family)

Beloved wife of Tarpon Springs football coach dies

Artemis Kotis, the widely admired wife of Tarpon Springs High football coach George Kotis, died after a two-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 49."She is a much bigger name than me in this community," George Kotis said of his wife.
Published: 10/16/18
Former Lakewood linebacker Cortez McKenzie will serve the remainder of his six week suspension at Superior Collegiate. (Courtesy of Cortez McKenzie)

Superior Collegiate enforces ex-Lakewood player’s suspension

Superior Collegiate has decided to enforce the remainder of Cortez McKenzie's six-week suspension stemming from a post-game fight when the linebacker was at Lakewood.McKenzie, a sophomore, said he withdrew from Lakewood last week and...
Published: 10/16/18
Bloomingdale receiver Terrel Ferrell hauls in a long touchdown pass, his second of the night, against district foe Tampa Bay Tech Friday night.  (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Terrel Ferrell and Mila Yarich

Terrel Ferrell, BloomingdaleFor the first six games, Ferrell did not play at peak performance.The electrifying wideout had tweaked his ankle and pulled his groin.Ferrell said he took it easy the first half of the season as...
Published: 10/15/18
Bloomingdale defensive back Corey Thornton signals first down to the huge Bulls crowd, a common refrain in the first half Friday night against Tampa Bay Tech. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)

HomeTeam 15: Football rankings for Tampa Bay, Week 9

For the third time this season there is new team at the top of the rankings. And it is not Armwood or Plant. The No. 1 team is Bloomingdale. That is a testament to the balance and depth of area teams this season. There are still six undefeated...
Published: 10/15/18
Bloomingdale coach Max Warner had plenty of hugs to hand out after the Bulls defeated arch-district-rival Tampa Bay Tech 33-24 Friday night. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)

Sunday Morning Quarterback: Postseason starting to take shape

Highlights from Week 8:Team of the WeekBloomingdale: Since the football program's inception in 1987, Bloomingdale has had minimal success. There have been just four winning seasons and three playoff appearances,...
Published: 10/14/18
VALRICO - Bloomingdale receiver Terrel Ferrell hauls in a long touchdown pass, his second of the night, against district foe Tampa Bay Tech Friday night. At the half, Bloomingdale led TBT 24-17. Scott Purks, Special to the Times

Football: Bloomingdale 33, Tampa Bay Tech 24

VALRICO — Bloomingdale had done some impressive things in the past year. The Bulls entered Friday night as one of the hottest teams in Tampa Bay, winning 13 of their past 15 games. But Bloomingdale had not beaten Tampa Bay Tech. Both losses...
Published: 10/12/18
Updated: 10/13/18