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Hillsborough: Football predictions, Week 9

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Thu. October 24, 2013 | Matt Baker and Kelly Parsons

Plant (6-1-1, 3-0) at Wharton (6-2, 2-1), 7:30

Last week: Plant beat Newsome 30-14; Wharton lost to Alonso 33-15

Story line: Enormous playoff implications loom in Class 8A, District 6. The Panthers can clinch the district championship with a win and leave Wharton scrambling heading into its district finale against Bloomingdale. If the Wildcats knock off Plant, they will keep their district title hopes alive and boost their playoff chances. Don’t be surprised if this game becomes an aerial explosion between two of Tampa Bay’s top quarterbacks - Plant’s Colby Brown (19 TDs, 1,532 yards) and Wharton’s Chase Litton (11 TDs, 1,600 yards). But the Panthers’ secondary is strong, too. Plant intercepted four passes against Newsome last week, including two by USF commit Mazzi Wilkins.

Kelly Parsons’ pick: Litton and Brown lead consistent passing games, so expect an explosive shootout. Plant has the better defense, however, so the Panthers will sneak by with this one. Plant, 42-35

Matt Baker’s pick: Wharton’s offense has been up and down. I expect a down night against Texas commit Andrew Beck and one of the toughest defenses the Wildcats have seen so far. Plant, 35-24.


Spoto (0-7, 0-1) at Middleton (2-5, 0-1), 7:30

Last week: Middleton beat Leto 42-7; Spoto lost to Plant City 33-14

Story line: If Middleton wins, it secures a playoff spot, with the matchup next week against Jesuit deciding the Class 5A, District 9 title. If Spoto wins, all three times remain alive for another week. Middleton has rebounded from an 0-5 start to earn back-to-back wins against rival Blake and Leto, and boasts Tampa Bay’s leading receiver, Shug Rhynes (1,000 yards, nine touchdowns). Spoto hung with Plant City early last week and has been competitive in some games, including an eight-point loss to Steinbrenner. The Spartans are looking for their first playoff appearance since 2008, while Middleton hasn’t been to the postseason since 2005.

Parsons: Spoto looked impressive against Plant City last week, so it seems like only a matter of time before it gets its first win of the season. Odds are good they do it against Middleton. Spoto, 17-14

Baker: This one has potential to be a blowout or a nail biter. I’ll go with the latter, and close Tigers win thanks to Marcellus Ray. Middleton, 24-21


Strawberry Crest (6-2, 3-0) at Plant City (5-2, 1-1), 7:30

Last week: Plant City beat Spoto 33-14; Strawberry Crest beat East Bay 35-14

Story line: Strawberry Crest can clinch the district championship with a win against Plant City, a team that began the season 4-0. The Plant City offense, one that scored 40 points against Bloomingdale, has hit rough patches in recent weeks against Tampa Bay Tech and East Bay. Strawberry Crest, on a five-game win streak, has seen just the opposite. The Chargers amassed 359 yards of offense against a stingy East Bay defense last week, with the help of a three-touchdown night from running back Chris Perez.

Parsons: The possibility of clinching the district title will be too much momentum for an offense that’s already rolling. Strawberry Crest, 31-27

Baker: Josh Hyde and the Chargers offense are hot after cracking the seemingly impenetrable East Bay defense last week. Next up: The first district title in program history. Strawberry Crest, 24-17


Lakeland Christian (6-1, 1-1) at Tampa Catholic (6-1, 3-0), 7

Parsons: Both teams struggled last week, but unlike Lakeland Christian, TC managed to come out with a win. The Crusaders will squeeze by once more to claim their first district title since 2009. TC, 24-21

Baker: This game lost a little luster after Frostproof blew out Lakeland Christian last week. The Crusaders will learn from last week’s scare and earn a win to clinch the district title. TC, 28-14


Newsome (4-4, 1-2) at Bloomingdale (4-3, 2-1), 7:30

Parsons: Both teams have been all over the spectrum this season, but Newsome has been a tad bit more consistent offensively than the Bulls. Newsome, 32-17

Baker: I still can’t figure Bloomingdale out, but I’ll go with Doug Sandberg and the Bulls anyway. Bloomingdale, 21-17


Carrollwood Day (5-3, 3-1) at Cambridge Christian (4-3, 2-2) (Skyway), 7:30

Parsons: Carrollwood Day has thrown 182 points on the board in its past four games, so we know its offense has found a rhythm. Fresh off a big loss to Indian Rocks Christian, though, Cambridge Christian will likely be itching for a high-scoring night, too. CDS, 49-41

Baker: Both teams boast great quarterbacks - CDS’ Taylor King (1,500 yards, 13 TDs) and Cambridge’s Garrett Young (1,263 yards, 14 TDs). I’ll give the edge to the Patriots’ supporting cast in a shootout. CDS, 42-35


Riverview (2-5, 0-3) at Alonso (4-3, 1-2), 7:30

Parsons: Alonso may be all but out of the playoff battle, but it still found the fight last week to top a solid Wharton team. Expect to see that again from the Ravens. Alonso, 35-20

Baker: Chris Oladokun and the Ravens earned their biggest win of the fall last week against

Wharton. This one will keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Alonso, 31-14


Sickles (6-1, 3-0) at Wiregrass Ranch (3-4, 0-3), 7:30

Parsons: Sickles, 40-13

Baker: Sickles, 35-10


King (5-3, 2-3) at Armwood (7-0, 6-0), 7:30

Parsons: Armwood, 49-10

Baker: Armwood, 31-7


Tampa Bay Tech (6-1, 3-0) at Gaither (3-4, 2-1), 7:30

Parsons: TBT, 42-13

Baker: TBT, 35-14


Freedom (1-6, 0-3) at Steinbrenner (2-5, 1-2), 7:30

Parsons: Freedom, 17-14

Baker: Steinbrenner, 28-24


Durant (2-6) at Hillsborough (5-2), 7:30

Parsons: Hillsborough, 30-17

Baker: Hillsborough, 28-20


Chamberlain (4-4, 4-2) at Jefferson (6-1, 5-1), 7:30

Parsons: Jefferson, 42-10

Baker: Jefferson, 35-17


East Bay (5-3, 1-1) at Brandon (3-4, 0-2), 7:30

Parsons: East Bay, 35-14

Baker: East Bay, 14-6


Blake (2-6, 2-4) at Robinson (3-5, 3-3), 7:30

Parsons: Robinson 24-21

Baker: Robinson, 28-14


Bishop McLaughlin (1-6, 0-3) at Berkeley Prep (2-4, 0-3), 7

Parsons: Berkeley Prep 37-21

Baker: Berkeley, 42-7


Lennard (0-8, 0-7) at Leto (0-7, 0-6), 7:30

Parsons: Lennard, 21-20

Baker: Lennard, 28-13


Seffner Christian (6-1) at All Saints’ Academy (1-6), 7

Parsons: Seffner Christian, 27-17

Baker: Seffner Christian, 35-10

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