With the start of the playoffs signaling more out-of-area matchups, I enlisted some help. I asked some other writers from across the state for a primer on the North Suncoast's opponents for the first round of the playoffs.
Here's what you should know about Fivay's opponent, 8-2 Citra North Marion, courtesy of the Ocala Star-Banner's Andy Marks:
1. Perhaps the polar opposite of a startup program, the Colts have earned nine straight district titles and 12 straight trips to the playoffs, including a pair of appearances the state semifinals, both losses. North Marion is particularly good in home playoff games, with a 15-5 record, and in playoff openers – the Colts have won seven of those in a row. North Marion’s last meeting with a Pasco County school in the playoffs didn’t go so well when the Colts lost 13-12 to Pasco in the 2008 Class 3A region final. Their last home playoff game against a Pasco County opponent was a 42-0 win over Hudson in the 2005 region final.
2. This is a star-studded team, with two members of the Rivals 250 in UF-bound receiver Latroy Pittman (21 catches, 399 yards, seven TDs) and USF-bound tight end Sean Price (22-424-5). Another Division I-bound offensive star is still-uncommitted RB Jamie Gilmore (191 carries, 1,497 yards, 11 TDs), who lists offers from Cincinnati, Duke and Utah, among others, while DT Jabari Bothwell (70 total tackles, 5.5 sacks) will play at Western Michigan. Other Div.-1 candidates include senior QB Chase Tuten, the son of longtime NFL punter Rick Tuten, and speedy junior WR/CF Reggie Wilkerson.
3. Though widely considered a state championship contender throughout the season, North Marion has been prone to lackluster offensive efforts in an ugly 35-7 loss to Jacksonville Bolles and unimpressive district wins against overmatched opponents Crystal River (a 15-13 victory) and Dunnellon (a 9-3 playoff-clinching win). The Colts have also had their high points during a very difficult schedule, including a commanding season-opening win over defending 2B state champion Ocala Trinity Catholic and a 48-14 thumping of Class 7A playoff team St. Cloud last Friday.