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Land O’Lakes (22-3-2) vs. Plantation American Heritage (27-3-3)
When/where: 11:05 a.m. Satruday at USF soccer complex
Admission: $9 per session; parking is $5.
Skinny: The Gators have long been a North Suncoast juggernaut under coach Mark Pearson, but they can cement themselves as a state power with their first state championship. Land O’Lakes faces a tough test in the Patriots, who edged Jesuit on penalty kicks. But the Gators have been dominant in the playoffs, outscoring opponents 16-1 since losing to Sunlake in the district championship game.
Defensive solidarity behind Sean Young, Francis Pinciotti, Yanci Algarin, Adam Weinstock and Mitch McCuen has been a big reason why. “It takes a great team defensive effort to do that,” Pearson said.
The offense has firepower, too, behind Josh Davis (33 goals), Palm Beach Atlantic recruit Andrew Garcia and North Florida-bound Jake Frahm.
The Gator girls won state in 2003, but the boys have yet to break through. That could change Saturday in their first appearance in the state championship game since 1999.
“Hopefully we can bring home the first one,” Pearson said.