Junior QB Phillip Eli, who took over for injured All-American Aaron Murray last season and won nine games en route to getting Tampa Plant to the Class 4A semifinals, was held out of Friday night's 48-33 blowout loss against Bradenton Manatee with a sore back.
Eli, who rates 18th on The Sentinel's Florida Top 100 list for 2011, will undergo an MRI this week to determine the severity of the injury. His spot was taken in the starting lineup by sophomore James Few and the drop-off was as evident as the step up in competition for the Panthers.
James Wilder Jr., Plant's junior transfer by way of Chamberlain and the state's top-ranked junior by The Sentinel, had 107 yards rushing while playing both ways. TB T.J. Glover, who in time will be ranked, had a 122 yards, including a 66-yard TD run.
Wyoming commitment C.J. Bennett had a monster night for Tampa Alonso, which played halves against Sickles and Freedom, winning by scores of 35-7 and 26-0, respectively.
Bennett only goes 5-11 -- which is why he's wayyyyyy down The Sentinel list of QBs at No. 23 in the state -- but it apparently isn't going to matter in Tampa. He completed 18 of 23 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns against the two teams. "What?" you ask. Those TDs went for 41, 89, 73 and 36 yards.
Tarean Austin, of Tampa Hillsborough, struggled for the Terriers, hitting just eight of his 23 throws for 92 yards in a sluggish 12-6 win over Bradenton Southeast. He's rated 14th on our list of quarterbacks, but the 6-1, 205-pounder almost surely projects at another position. The big stud at Hillsborough is Terrence "T-Rex" Mitchell.
Dade City Pasco QB D.J. Clower shredded Brooksville Hernando with four touchdown passes. Clower was 10-of-13 for 175 yards, with scoring strikes from 51, 26, 25 and 12. Clower could be a riser on boards, but apparently FAMU has liked him for some time.
Pasco transfer Josh Johnson, now at Wesley Chapel Wiregrass Ranch, had 17 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-0 against Brooksville Central. ..
Jeremy Deering, the do-it-all athlete for Tampa Leto and our No. 5 running back, broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run.
Notes and nuggets from Preseason Kickoff week in Tampa Bay area
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