Hillsborough: Football predictions, Week 8

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Thu. October 17, 2013 | Matt Baker and Kelly Parsons

Can’t-miss matchups

East Bay (5-2, 1-0) at Strawberry Crest (5-2, 2-0)

Last week: East Bay beat Bloomingdale 13-12; Strawberry Crest beat Riverview 24-7.
Story line: The only unbeaten teams in Class 7A-8 clash in a game that could decide the district championship. Both defenses are stout, allowing fewer than 16 points per game. Chargers senior Matt Chaney is one of the county’s most prolific defensive players (87 tackles, 22 for a loss, six sacks). Speedy safety Isaiah Smallwood has had a breakout season, forcing two fumbles and recording 45 tackles. …East Bay’s D is equally strong and held Plant City and Bloomingdale to a combined 25 points in its past two victories. The Indians are led by linebacker Deondre Romeo (76 tackles) and 6-foot-4 defensive end Marques Ford (7.5 sacks). …Both teams rely heavily on the run game: East Bay’s Chris Greene has rushed for four TDs, while Chris Perez and Darius Williams have combined for nine rushing scores for the Chargers.
Kelly Parsons’ pick: In a flash, the Indians have turned their season around with the help of a solid run game. If the same defense that stopped Plant City and Bloomingdale shows up against the Chargers, East Bay will likely continue its streak. East Bay, 17-14
Matt Baker’s pick: First team to two scores wins. No, seriously. I’ll take my chances on the Chargers’ athletes to break one more big play. Strawberry Crest, 10-7

Tampa Catholic (5-1, 2-0) at Berkeley Prep (2-3, 0-2)
Last week: Both teams had byes.
Story line: The Crusaders are the top-ranked 3A team in the state, while the Bucs will be looking for their first district win. Three of Tampa Catholic’s five wins have been by at least 24 points. TC quarterback Kyle Ploucher has 945 yards, second most in the district, and 11 passing touchdowns while completing two-thirds of his passes. …The Bucs haven’t won a game since Sept. 6 when they defeated Victory Christian on the road, but two of their three losses were by a combined five points.
Parsons: The Bucs might not be as bad as their record suggests, but the Crusaders are certainly the top 3A team in the state for a reason. Ploucher will have another big night, and Tampa Catholic will remain undefeated in the district. TC, 42-20
Baker: The Crusaders are atop Class 3A and won’t have a problem here, as long as they’re not looking ahead to next week’s showdown against high-scoring Lakeland Christian. TC, 35-17

Indian Rocks Christian (5-2, 4-0) at Cambridge Christian (4-2, 2-1) (Skyway Park)
Parsons: IRC has outscored its opponents 116-0 the past two weeks. Cambridge Christian has its fair share of high-scoring wins, though, so expect this one to be a shootout. IRC, 42-37
Baker: The Golden Eagles have rushed for six touchdowns in each of the past three games. Yowza. IRC, 35-21

Jefferson (5-1, 4-1) at King (5-2, 2-2)
Parsons: King’s had a solid two weeks, but the Lions simply haven’t played against an offense with so much firepower. Jefferson should take this one easily. Jefferson, 41-14
Baker: King deserves kudos for last week’s shutout win over Robinson and a much improved season. It’ll keep this close, but the Dragons have too many weapons. Jefferson, 28-20

Newsome (4-1, 1-1) at Plant (5-1, 2-0)
Parsons: Plant proved last week that its loss to Tampa Bay Tech was likely just a momentary rough patch. The Wolves will have trouble stopping a versatile Plant offense. Plant, 35-17
Baker: If the Panthers can hold Ray Ray McCloud III to a season-low 159 yards, they’ll be just fine against Newsome. Plant, 28-13

Alonso (3-3, 0-2) at Wharton (6-1, 2-0)
Parsons: Wharton hasn’t skipped a beat since being shut out early this season, and with a lot to play for, the Wildcats won’t likely falter here. Wharton, 35-31
Baker: The Wildcats will follow up Chase Litton’s school-record night with another emotional win to tune up for next week’s pivotal game against Plant. Wharton, 31-20

Gaither (3-3, 2-0) at Sickles (5-1, 2-0)
Parsons: The Gaither defense hasn’t been the best at keeping points off the board, so the Cowboys will struggle stopping Ray Ray McCloud and Co. Sickles, 41-14
Baker: The Gryphons will be frustrated after their first loss of the year. That means Gaither could be in for a long night. Sickles, 35-17

Bradenton Christian (3-4, 0-3) at Carrollwood Day (4-3, 2-1)
Parsons: CDS, 35-21
Baker: CDS, 42-14

Steinbrenner (1-5, 0-2) at Wiregrass Ranch (3-3, 0-2)
Parsons: Wiregrass Ranch, 26-21
Baker: Steinbrenner, 21-17

Hillsborough (4-2, 4-2) at Blake (2-5, 2-3)
Parsons: Hillsborough, 41-17
Baker: Hillsborough, 31-14

Bloomingdale (3-3, 1-1) at Riverview (2-4, 0-2)
Parsons: Bloomingdale, 31-28
Baker: Bloomingdale, 28-13

Brandon (3-3, 0-1) at Durant (1-6, 0-2)
Parsons: Brandon, 21-20
Baker: Durant, 13-6

Freedom (1-5, 0-2) at Tampa Bay Tech (5-1, 2-0)
Parsons: TBT, 52-14
Baker: TBT, 42-13

Armwood (6-0, 5-0) at Lennard (0-7, 0-6)
Parsons: Armwood, 57-7
Baker: Armwood, 42-0

Jesuit (4-3) at Orlando Bishop Moore (5-1)
Parsons: Jesuit, 30-10
Baker: Jesuit, 28-20

Middleton (1-5) at Leto (0-6)
Parsons: Middleton, 31-3
Baker: Middleton, 28-7

Plant City (4-2) at Spoto (0-6)
Parsons: Plant City, 35-14
Baker: Plant City, 31-10

Windermere Prep (4-3) at Seffner Christian (5-1)
Parsons: Seffner Christian, 24-21
Baker: Seffner Christian, 35-17

Robinson (2-5, 2-3) at Chamberlain (4-3, 4-1)
Parsons: Robinson, 17-10
Baker: Robinson, 21-20

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