MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Friday's football games
All at 7:30 unless noted
Alonso (5-3, 1-1) at Wharton (6-2, 1-1)
Last year: Wharton, 44-21
Breakdown: A Class 8A, District 6 game. …It’s pretty simple: the winner clinches the district’s second playoff spot and the loser is done for the year. …Alonso is one of the few teams locally that can match Wharton QB Chase Litton and the Wildcats in firepower. But the Ravens are more balanced, averaging 160 yards passing and 159 rushing per game. Both defenses will have their hands full.
Joel Anderson’s pick: Wharton, 26-21
Joey Knight’s pick: Wharton, 34-21
Tampa Bay Tech (6-2, 4-0) at Gaither (6-2, 3-1)
Last year: TBT, 17-14 (regular season); Gaither, 17-14 (playoffs)
Breakdown: A Class 7A, District 7 game. …The Titans clinch the district title and a home playoff game with a victory, while Gaither must win to remain playoff eligible. …The Cowboys put themselves on the brink of playoff elimination with a two-point loss to Chamberlain last week. Meantime, TBT’s only defeat in the last six weeks was a seven-point loss to Plant.
Anderson: TBT, 24-14
Knight: TBT, 26-21
Berkeley Prep (6-2, 1-1) at Tampa Catholic (6-2, 1-1)
Last year: Berkeley Prep, 28-0
Breakdown: A Class 3A, District 5 game. …A playoff spot hinges on the outcome. The Crusaders would surely love to extend the Bucs’ season-ending slide and keep them out of the postseason for the first time since 2007. …Berkeley Prep won its first six games before dropping the last two, including a stunning 56-point loss at Orlando First Academy. Tampa Catholic has lost two of the past three, but looked strong in a three-point defeat last week at Class 8A Alonso.
Anderson: Tampa Catholic, 28-27
Knight: Tampa Catholic, 27-21
Plant City (4-4, 2-2) at Newsome (4-4, 3-1)
Last year: Newsome, 28-13
Breakdown: A Class 7A, District 8 game. …The Wolves are in the playoffs with a win, while a Plant City triumph (and East Bay win vs. Brandon) forces a three-way tie-breaker for the district’s No. 2 playoff spot. …The Wolves have won the past four in this series. …Newsome QB Will Worth needs 71 yards to notch his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season.
Anderson: Newsome, 27-14
Knight: Newsome, 31-15
Chamberlain (4-4, 3-1) at Steinbrenner (3-5, 1-3)
Last year: Steinbrenner, 34-27
Breakdown: A Class 7A, District 7 game. …With a victory, the Chiefs — who have matched their on-field win total of the previous three years combined — clinch no worse than a spot in a district tiebreaker. …Chamberlain has been ravaged by attrition and, for lack of a healthy QB, is employing tailbacks to take snaps. Still, don’t be shocked if the Chiefs find a way.
Anderson: Steinbrenner, 14-13
Knight: Chamberlain, 18-16
Carrollwood Day (8-1, 6-1) at Calvary Christian (5-3, 5-2)
Last year: Carrollwood Day, 28-21
Breakdown: A Class 2A, District 5 game. … Assuming Admiral Farragut defeats Cambridge Christian, this one’s for a playoff berth, plain and simple. …Calvary has scored 115 points its last two games, albeit against weak district opposition. … CDS, which can clinch the school’s first playoff berth, is a bit banged up. Second-leading receiver Nate Lewis (hamstring) is questionable.
Anderson: Carrollwood Day, 42-20
Knight: Carrollwood Day, 35-22
Admiral Farragut (8-1, 6-1) vs. Cambridge Christian (5-4, 3-4) at Skyway Park
Last year: Admiral Farragut, 31-14
Breakdown: A Class 2A, District 5 game. …The Blue Jackets must win to clinch a playoff spot and avoid a second-place tie with Indian Rocks Christian, which beat them earlier this season. Since that loss, Admiral Farragut has averaged 49 points per game in three straight victories. …The Lancers’ defense will need to repeat — if not exceed — last week’s performance, when they held Seffner Christian to a season-low six points.
Anderson: Admiral Farragut, 48-14
Knight: Admiral Farragut, 41-16
Strawberry Crest (3-5, 1-4) at Jefferson (4-4, 3-2)
Last year: Jefferson, 48-7
Breakdown: A Class 6A, District 8 game. …The Dragons are one of the few teams equipped to closely simulate Chargers WR Karel Hamilton in practice. With its corps of rangy and athletic WRs, Jefferson should be prepared for Strawberry Crest’s breakout offensive star. “We haven’t seen anyone stop him,” Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle said. “But the kids have enjoyed emulating him.” …The Chargers must stop Jefferson, too. And that’s easier said than done.
Anderson: Jefferson, 34-23
Knight: Strawberry Crest, 27-24
King (3-6, 2-3) at Armwood (6-3, 4-1)
Last year: Armwood, 54-6
Breakdown: A Class 6A, District 8 game. …The Hawks have lost two in a row for the first time since 2001. …Unless the FHSAA forces Jefferson to forfeit some games (possible ineligible player), Armwood has clinched the district’s No. 2 playoff spot. To that end, look for either Alvin Bailey or two underclassmen — Noah Johnson or Caleb Newman — to start at QB for the Hawks.
Anderson: Armwood, 35-0
Knight: Armwood, 28-3
Brandon (1-7, 1-3) at East Bay (3-5, 2-2)
Last year: Brandon, 27-6
Breakdown: A Class 7A, District 8 game. …If East Bay wins and Plant City tops Newsome, the Indians, Raiders and Wolves would convene Monday in Plant City for a tiebreaker to determine the district’s No. 2 playoff spot. …Brandon’s a dangerous team at this juncture; it defeated Riverview two weeks ago and lost to Plant City by two last week.
Anderson: East Bay, 21-13
Knight: East Bay, 29-12
Bloomingdale (4-4, 0-2) at Plant (7-1, 2-1)
Last year: Plant, 53-7
Breakdown: A Class 8A, District 6 game. …Coming off a dramatic OT win over Armwood and Robinson looming next Friday, the playoff-bound Panthers could be due for a letdown. “All the elements have come together for a game we have to make sure our kids are up for,” Plant coach Robert Weiner said. …The Bulls have lost two of their past three, with the only victory over winless Leto.
Anderson: Plant, 30-7
Knight: Plant, 28-13
Middleton (2-7, 2-5) at Robinson (8-0, 7-0)
Last year: Robinson, 44-0
Breakdown: A Class 5A, District 8 game. …The Plant showdown and the playoffs loom for the Knights, but Middleton still stands in the way of Robinson’s first undefeated regular season in 49 years. Translation: the Knights have reason to be stoked for this one.
Anderson: Robinson, 35-0
Knight: Robinson, 35-0
Sickles (5-3, 3-2) at Leto (0-9, 0-5)
Last year: Sickles, 63-7
Breakdown: A Class 6A, District 8 game. …The Gryphons must close out their district schedule with a victory over Leto while they wait to hear from the FHSAA about their postseason prospects. Shouldn’t be a problem.
Anderson: Sickles, 49-0
Knight: Sickles, 42-0
Freedom (2-7, 1-3) at Wiregrass Ranch (0-8, 0-4)
Last year: Freedom, 19-13
Breakdown: A Class 7A, District 7 game. …The Patriots have a chance to snap a five-game losing streak and finish the year on a positive note; Freedom has been shutout in two of the past three games. …The Bulls showed signs of improvement in last week’s 48-10 loss to Steinbrenner, tallying their second-highest scoring total of the season.
Anderson: Freedom, 27-6
Knight: Freedom, 28-6
Durant (8-0, 4-0) at Riverview (2-7, 0-4)
Last year: Durant, 63-13
Breakdown: A Class 7A, District 8 game. …The Cougars will finish their district schedule against the last-place Sharks, moving them a little closer to the school’s first undefeated regular-season. It’s a bit much to expect the Sharks, who haven’t won a district game since 2009, to stand in their way.
Anderson Durant, 35-0
Knight: Durant, 42-6
Lakewood (7-1, 6-1) at Spoto (3-5,3-4)
Last year: Spoto, 21-15
Breakdown: A Class 5A, District 8 game. …This one may turn out tighter than the records appear. Lakewood has wrapped up a playoff spot and is bound for a letdown after consecutive games against Jesuit and Robinson. Meantime, Spoto TB Eric Moate, a 1,200 rusher last season who fractured his foot in the season opener, returns for this game.
Anderson: Lakewood, 30-12
Knight: Lakewood, 21-18
Gibbs (2-6, 2-5) at Blake (3-6, 2-5)
Last year: Blake, 20-13
Breakdown: A Class 5A, District 8 game. …Gibbs enters on a five-game losing streak. …While Blake has sputtered offensively, it has registered 19 sacks in its past four games (including two wins).
Anderson Blake, 24-6
Knight: Blake, 19-8
Dunedin (4-4, 4-3) at Lennard (0-9, 0-7)
Last year: Lennard, 45-42
Breakdown: A Class 5A, District 8 game. …This is the season finale for the Longhorns, who are limping to the finish after being outscored 67-325 this fall. However, Lennard still has a chance against Dunedin, which is averaging about 11 points per game and barely outlasted struggling Middleton last week.
Anderson: Dunedin, 17-12
Knight: Dunedin, 21-8
For the season
Anderson: 101-24 (16-3 last week)
Knight: 136-27 (17-2 last week)