Make us your home page

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

Email: [email protected]

  1. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay


    1. Armwood (2-0)

    Up next: at Blake (Thursday)

    Skinny: The Hawks have been dominant so far, beating Tampa Bay Tech and Jefferson by a combined 77-15. Those wins will likely give Armwood a lot of points in the new playoff system. October is a busy month for the Hawks — and everyone else in Hillsborough County — with six games crammed into the next four weeks. Its starts Thursday with a game against Blake followed by another Oct. 2 against Chamberlain....

    Armwood High School quarterback Devin Black (7) hands the ball off to running back Larry Anderson (13) during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
  2. Sunday Morning Quarterback, Week 5


    Team of the Week | Armwood

    The early-season schedule was supposed to give the Hawks something they wanted: a test. Tampa Bay Tech and Jefferson, the first two opponents, were both region semifinalists in their classifications last year. Each has explosive offenses that can put up points in bunches. The games turned out to be routs. Armwood won both by a combined 77-15. Friday's game against the Dragons was the first for the Hawks after a 23-day layoff. There was no rust. Armwood put together a complete performance in the first half, building a 28-3 lead en route to a 42-3 win. Brian Snead continues to be a force running the ball. And the defensive front seven, led by linemen Malcolm Lamar and Fitzroy Gardner and linebacker James Miller, have made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. ...

     Jefferson High School ATH Darryl Robinson is tackled by Armwood LB Alascio King during the second half of the Armwood at Jefferson football game in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, September 22, 2017.
  3. Palm Harbor University sweeps PCAC swim titles


    ST. PETERSBURG — Another Pinellas County Athletic Conference swim meet, another sweep of team titles for Palm Harbor University.

    With numbers no other boys or girls team were able to match, the Hurricanes racked up the points to separate themselves from the field.

    PHU’s boys team won its 11th title in the past 13 seasons, outscoring Countryside 458-346. The school’s girls team scored 474 points — 172.5 more than runnerup Osceola — to win its eighth straight conference title....

  4. HomeTeam Hot Shots: Nominations for Sept. 16-22


    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, Sept. 16-Friday, Sept. 22. Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.

    Female nominees

    Mackenzie Dufresne, volleyball, Tarpon Springs: The junior outside hitter had a total of 30 kills and 12 aces in the Spongers’ three wins this week, which included a five-game win over Osceola. The Spongers are 9-0....

  5. Football: Armwood 42, Jefferson 3


    TAMPA — It had been 23 days since Armwood played a regular-season game. The lengthy layoff could have been a concern, especially with the Hawks facing Jefferson and its high-powered offense.

    The sluggishness lasted about seven minutes.

    The Dragons went on a time-consuming drive on the opening possession, deftly mixing the pass with the run. It ended with a 21-yard field goal by Aaron Quiambao....

     Armwood High School running back Brian Snead before the Armwood at Jefferson football game in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, September 22, 2017.
  6. Football picks, Week 5


    All games at 7:30 unless noted

    Central at Weeki Wachee, 7

    Page: Central, 21-16

    Putnam: Central 20-14

    Crystal River at Nature Coast

    Page: Nature Coast, 31-14

    Putnam: Nature Coast 35-7


    Sunlake wide receiver Jermiah Baker celebrates his touchdown catch with teammate Mathew Padroni during the first half of a football game against Lakewood in Land O' Lakes, Fla., on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.
  7. Clearwater enjoys view from the top


    CLEARWATER — The offense still has a familiar feel. Short passes become big gains. Linemen drive their opponents in reverse, forcefully and repeatedly. Runs along the sideline continue to leave defenders breathlessly behind.

    The outcomes are similar, too.

    Clearwater High's football team keeps on winning.

    On Monday night, the Tornadoes beat Countryside 35-14 to extend their regular-season win streak to 11 games, currently tops among Pinellas County schools....

    Clearwater’s Brandon Gary, from left, Jacob Day, Damon Dennis and Jarius Williams celebrate a turnover recovery deep in Countryside High territory during the second quarter of Monday’s game at Countryside. Clearwater won 35-14.
  8. Late Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella was a fighter until the end

    Swimming Preps

    At swim meets, Cailin Cannella would race side by side with her breaststroke competitors, their heads bobbing in near unison.

    By the final turn, the synchronized swimming usually was over.

    Cailin often had left everyone behind.

    Nationally ranked in her age group, Cailin took on a bigger challenge. She swam with the Academy of the Holy Names high school team though she was in middle school. Two years ago, Cailin took third at the Class 3A state meet as a sixth-grader....

    Cailin Cannella’s specialty was the breaststroke. In summer 2016, when she was 13, she focused her training on winning a state tile.
  9. Football: Clearwater 35, Countryside 14


    CLEARWATER — Two years ago, the city of Clearwater celebrated its centennial. As part of the festivities, the mayor presented a trophy to the winner of the Clearwater-Countryside matchup.

    The Tornadoes won that game 35-7 to end a 13-game losing streak to one of their fiercest rivals. The score is etched in the trophy, the first of what was was supposed to became an annual tradition....

    Clearwater vs. Countryside, Monday night football
  10. Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella, 14, dies

    Swimming Preps

    Academy of the Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella died Monday after a year-long battle with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that usually affects children. She was 14.

    Last September, on her 13th birthday, doctors detected cancer in Cailin's knee and femur. Her ambitions of placing at the state high school swim meet were put on hold....

    Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella, here at age 13, still was practicing last year after finding out she had osteosarcoma (bone cancer). (Times 2016)
  11. HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Gabriela Quarles and Austen Wittish


    HomeTeam Hot Shots

    Gabriela Quarles, Carrollwood Day

    Quarles has been a member of the varsity volleyball team since eighth grade. That's probably not surprising since she comes from an athletic family. Her father, Shelton, played linebacker for the Buccaneers from 1997-2006 and was part of the 2002 Super Bowl team.

    But Gabriela didn't really take to the sport right away....

    Wesley Chapel's Austen Wittish runs drills during spring practice Wednesday (4/27/16).
  12. Former UCF/East Lake QB Pete DiNovo lands at Illinois


    Pete DiNovo, the former East Lake High standout who left UCF's program last month, has landed at Illinois.

    DiNovo said he transferred to the Illini as a walk-on quarterback to complete his final year of eligibility. His first practice was Monday afternoon.

    "I couldn't be happier with the way everything turned out," DiNovo said. "I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff."...

    Central Florida wide receiver Pete DiNovo (14) catches a pass while warming up before an NCAA college football game against Furman, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
  13. Berkeley Prep boys make it nine straight Tampa Bay Classic swim titles

    Swimming Preps

    Berkeley Prep's boys maintained their dominance at the Tampa Bay Classic, winning their ninth straight team title at the swim meet over the weekend.

    Armed with superior depth, the Buccaneers gobbled up points, especially in the relays, to outscore Winter Park Trinity Prep 434-390....

  14. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay


    1. Armwood (1-0)

    Up next: at Jefferson

    Skinny: The Hawks should have played two games already. The 35-12 opening-game win over Tampa Bay Tech was delayed nearly a week and another anticipated game against Plant will be made up Oct. 16. Armwood turns its attention to Jefferson and its high-powered offense in a game that will be a good test before the start of district play. ...

    TAMPA - Plant quarerback Jordan McCloud looks for running room during first-half action against Venice in a preseason classic Friday night. Taken 8-18-17 by Scott Purks
  15. HomeTeam Hot Shots: Nominations through Sept. 15


    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. Because weather has interrupted a good bit of this season so far, these nominations span the start of the regular season thru Friday, Sept. 15 Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.

    Female nominees

    Ellie Burris, volleyball, Indian Rocks Christian: The senior had 14 blocks, four aces and 23 digs in a 3-1 win over Academy of the Holy Names on Aug. 29. She’s at 90 digs for the season....