USA Today HSS Top 10 Football Poll

9:24 PM, Oct 24, 2012   |    comments
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As the regular season wraps up, it's time to take a look at the 10 News Sports Top 10 gridiron teams from the Tampa Bay area.

The list includes the seven counties that make up the Tampa Bay area, with Polk County in the west, Pasco and Hernando up north, Sarasota and Manatee down south, and of course, Pinellas and Hillsborough.

Picking the 10 best teams from an region this large isn't an easy task, and one that is sure to exclude several really good teams.

With that aside, here's a look at the High School Sports Top 10 after week 8.

1.  Manatee (7-0).   They're not only No. one in Class 7A for Florida, but they are the consensus #1 team in the nation according to the USA Today High School Sports Super 25, ESPN 25 Power Rankings and MaxPreps.

Last week Manatee thumped district rival Venice 56-27,   behind quarterback Cord Sandberg, who ran for two TDs and passed for three.   Up next: they host Palmetto, a top five team in our poll, and a huge Manatee County game.

2.  Plant (6-1).  The only team in our top ten that isn't undefeated this season.   The Panthers have regrouped after injuries and other setbacks to win their district once again.   Plant is now getting ready for their annual rumble against Armwood and a very good Robinson squad.

3.  Largo (8-0)  The Packers are clearly the cream of their district and Pinellas County.

4.  Lakeland (8-0)  The Dreadnaughts have climbed to No. three in Class 7A, but only to No. four in our top ten.

5.  Palmetto (7-0)   The Tigers were just one win away from playing in the 2011 5A state championship game.   And this year, they're playing even better.   This Friday, Palmetto gets to test their mettle against the mighty Manatee Hurricanes.   Ouch!   The last three games have been all Manatee, with the Canes winning by a combined score of 120-65.

6.  Lake Gibson (8-0)  The Braves are just a win away from claiming the Class 6A-10 crown.

7.  Durant (8-0)  Solid defense and a balanced offense have the Cougars on the edge of a Class 7A-8 district title, and they are only two wins away from their first ever undefeated season.

8.  Pasco (7-0)  The Pirates had their 21 quarter consecutive scoreless streak snapped by a good FIvay team, but Pasco still rolled.   Now that they have Jananian Grant back in the mix, watch out!

9.  Robinson (7-0)   The Knights are having their best season in head coach Mike DePue's last year.   Up next: at Lakewood for the Class 5A-8 district championship.

10.  Lakewood (7-0)  The Spartans are exceeding everyone's expectations, except their own.   Now they host Robinson with a district title on the line.   Huge!

As always there are some excellent teams that deserve consideration, Armwood, Hillsborough, Countryside, Springstead and Clearwater Central Catholic.

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