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Bob Putnam, Times Staff Writer

Bob Putnam

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.

Phone: (727) 580-4395


  1. Sunday Morning Quarterback, Week 9


    Player of the Week | Michael Penix Jr., Tampa Bay Tech

    With a strong running game, Penix is not required to throw the ball on every down. The senior is averaging 19 pass attempts per game. When the Tennessee commit does throw, he makes it count. On Friday, Penix was 13-of-19 for 222 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 55-28 victory over Durant that wrapped up the Class 7A, District 9 title. Penix treats the football with the care of a family heirloom. In two seasons with the Titans, he has thrown for 51 touchdowns and just two interceptions. ...

    Tampa Bay Tech Titans Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the first half during the first half at Durant High School in Plant City on Friday, October 20, 2017.
  2. District swimming: Shorecrest maintains title run

    Swimming Preps

    ST. PETERSBURG — Patty Nardozzi's scouting report had her convinced the boys and girls swim teams she coaches at Shorecrest could maintain their dominance at the Class A, District 8 meet.

    But she also was certain it would not be by an overwhelming margin.

    There was not much to be concerned about. The Chargers' boys and girls each won their 14th straight titles — 11 with Nardozzi as coach....

  3. Football: Tampa Bay Tech 55, Durant 28


    DURANT — Tampa Bay Tech knew who was getting the ball in Friday's key Class 7A, District 9 game.

    Still, stopping Durant's Cameron Myers is tough to do.

    The senior entered the game as the state's fourth-leading rusher with 1,430 yards.

    On the first play from scrimmage, Myers added to that total, ripping off an 80-yard run for a touchdown. He continued to gain big chunks of yardage throughout the half....

    Durant Cougars wide receiver Demarcus Governor (12) runs the ball for a large gain while tackled by Tampa Bay Tech defenders Tyrese Hall (15) and Bobby Moore (24) during the first half at Durant High School in Plant City on Friday, October 20, 2017.
  4. Durant's Cameron Myers now one of the state's elite RBs


    There will come a day when Cameron Myers is stopped, when opposing defenders gang up to prevent him from breaking off big gains.

    When? Who knows? It has not happened yet.

    Whether the Durant senior running back is lowering his shoulder or accelerating in the open field, Myers has found a way to rack up an impressive amount of rushing yards each week.

    The big games started in the season opener when Myers ripped off a 75-yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a 14-10 victory that snapped Jesuit's 21-game regular-season win streak. Myers finished that game with 138 yards on just 11 carries — his second-lowest total of the season. ...

    Durant senior Cameron Myers recently set a career high in rushing yards — tallying a whopping 393 last week vs. Plant City.
  5. Football picks, Week 9


    All games at 7:30 unless noted

    Central at Hernando, 7

    Page: Hernando 36-7

    Putnam: Hernando 42-17

    IMG White at Berkeley Prep, 7

    Page: Berkeley Prep 21-18

    Putnam: Berkeley Prep 28-7


    Plant players warm up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  6. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay


    1. Armwood (7-0)

    Up next: vs. Brandon

    Skinny: The Hawks' defense had its best performance of the season against Plant on Monday with 10 sacks and four turnovers in a 27-7 victory. Even some of Armwood's offensive stars got to play on the other side of the ball. Running back Brian Snead, who scored three rushing touchdowns, got in about 12 snaps on defense as a spy on Panthers' quarterback Jordan McCloud. Speedster Jerome Ford, who had a 77-yard touchdown reception, recorded one of the Hawks' 10 sacks and recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter. ...

    Armwood quarterback Devin Black (7) shakes hands with Plant defensive back Keon King (26) after the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The Hawks beat the Panthers 27-7.
  7. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    The players watched videos from former Hawks standouts who explained what the rivalry meant to them. Armwood then raced out on to the field wearing all-black uniforms, a reward for their work throughout the season.

    That reward just happened to come when Armwood played a certain team in South Tampa....

    Armwood running back Jerome Ford (24) on a run in the first quarter of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  8. HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Chloe Grimme and Joshua McQueen

    Swimming Preps

    HomeTeam Hot Shots

    Chloe Grimme, Sunlake

    Two weeks ago, Grimme's coaches told her she could swim the 50-yard freestyle in 23 seconds. Grimme was skeptical, not of the suggested time but of the timing.

    Last year, she finished second in the 50 free at state in 23.93 seconds. Grimme knew she was capable of swimming that fast again, but was more confident it would come later in the season, not during the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet....

    Canterbury swimmer Joshua McQueen
  9. Sunday Morning QB, Week 8


    Coach of the Week | Chris Harvey, Clearwater Central Catholic

    The second-year coach took over the program last year from his father-in-law, John Davis. Harvey inherited the difficult position of maintaining the Marauders' deep run through the playoffs. Last year, CCC went 8-1 in the regular season and made it to the region final. This year, the Marauders have done even better. CCC is 7-0 after Friday's 23-14 win over Calvary Christian. If the Marauders beat Admiral Farragut and Sarasota Cardinal Mooney the next two weeks, they will go undefeated in the regular season for just the second time in school history. Better still, CCC is doing it without a slew of major Division I-A prospects. ...

    Clearwater Central Catholic High School varsity football coach Chris Harvey watches his players during a team football practice on Tuesday (9/5/17) at Clearwater Central Catholic in Clearwater.
  10. HomeTeam Hot Shots: Nominations for Oct. 7-13


    Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, Oct.7-Friday, Oct. 13. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.

    Female nominees

    Jessica Angelo, volleyball, Palm Harbor University: The junior outside hitter had 15 kills in the final of the PCAC championship against Tarpon Springs. The Hurricanes won 2-1 for their third straight PCAC title....

  11. Football: Clearwater Central Catholic 23, Calvary Christian 14


    CLEARWATER — The rest of the teams in Class 3A, Region 3 looked at Clearwater Central Catholic this season and engaged in some wishful thinking.

    Maybe the Marauders, winners of five straight district titles, would not be able to cope with the loss of so many talented players who graduated or transferred. Maybe it would all be too much for the Marauders to handle.

    Maybe the rest of the region should have known better....

    CCC's Jordan Presley (17) blocks a pass attempt by Calvary Christian quarterback Alex Laccabue (8) intended for D'Andre Ferguson (2), right, during the second half of Friday???‚??„?s (10/13/17) game between Clearwater Central Catholic High School and Calvary Christian High School at Calvary Christian in Clearwater.
  12. County AD Al Bennett: All but one East Lake player checked out


    Last month, Tarpon Springs coach George Kotis started questioning the status of five East Lake players.

    He insisted they were living in Tarpon Springs' zone and called Pinellas County athletic director Al Bennett to check on their eligibility.

    Bennett said he informed East Lake to allow the school to conduct its own investigation.

    Once the investigation was completed, Bennett said he went to East Lake to double-check that the proper paperwork was in place....

    Five of East Lake coach Bob Hudson's football players were vetted by the county. Only one player's address didn't pass muster, according to the county athletic director. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
  13. Zephyrhills' Charles Harrison III continues family's quarterback legacy


    ZEPHYRHILLS — Charles Harrison III lofted a 32-yard touchdown pass on his fourth attempt of the game. The Zephyrhills High senior spent the rest of the half launching left-handed strikes from wherever his swift feet would take him.

    The speed. The strong arm. The improvisational skills. It is all part of Harrison's athletically divine DNA.

    This football lineage bridges three generations. Harrison III shares a name, a number (12) and a position with his father and grandfather. ...

    And Harrison III’s grandfather, Charles “Bo” Harrison, originated it at Mickens.
  14. Football picks, Week 8



    Carrollwood Day at Zephyrhills Christian, 7

    Page: Zephyrhills Christian 42-7

    Putnam: Zephyrhills Christian 28-14


    Games at 7:30 unless noted

    Ridgewood at Anclote, 6:30

    Page: Anclote 44-14...

    Lakewood players raise their helmets before a game between Pinellas Park and Lakewood at Lakewood High in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
  15. Calvary Christian's mission: Stay calm, beat Clearwater Central Catholic



    Calvary Christian High coach Todd Yoder has been waiting for this type of game — a heart-stopping, cliff-hanging, five-star, four-act drama on the football field.

    The Warriors host neighboring private school power Clearwater Central Catholic (6-0) tonight. At stake for Calvary Christian (3-1) is a chance to stay among the points leaders in Class 3A, Region 3 and earn a possible first-round postseason home game....

    D’andre Ferguson