North Suncoast football playoff picks



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Thu. November 17, 2011 | Matt Baker | Email

Gainesville (8-2) at Hernando (8-2), 7:30 p.m.

On the line: A trip to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. Gainesville is trying to get back to the state semifinals, while Hernando is looking for its first postseason victory since 1997.

Who’s hot: Hernando running backs Marqui Redding and Tyrail Hawkins, who combined for four touchdowns and more than 300 rushing yards to beat Mitchell in the regular-season finale. … Gainesville QB Mark Cato threw for three touchdowns against Lecanto to end the regular season, and cornerback Chris Bivins is a USF commit.

Matt Baker’s pick: Hernando has improved as the year has gone on, but injuries take their toll against a good Gainesville team. Gainesville, 21-20.

Alachua Santa Fe (8-2) at Pasco (10-0), 7:30 p.m.

On the line: The second round of the Class 5A playoffs. A win would cement Santa Fe’s turnaround year, while Pasco is looking to contend for its first state title since 1992.

Who’s hot: Pasco’s defense, which held Zephyrhills quarterback Jamal Roberts to negative rushing yards in the regular-season finale and has allowed a combined six points in the past four games. … Santa Fe’s three-headed running attack, which has combined for 21 touchdowns for the rebuilding Raiders.

Who’s out: Pasco star athlete Trey Dudley-Giles. The Division I prospect will miss the game because of a suspension stemming from an ejection in a rivalry win over Zephyrhills.

Baker’s pick: No Dudley-Giles, no problem for the Pirates, who get a much-awaited showdown with North Marion. Pasco, 35-21.

Fivay (7-3) at Citra North Marion (8-2), 7:30 p.m.

On the line: A victory for Fivay in the 5A playoff opener would be the biggest win in the program’s young history – by far. North Marion is vying for its eighth consecutive opening-round playoff victory.

Who’s hot: Fivay QB Tyler Degen, who rushed for a touchdown and threw for another to help lead a comeback in an eventual 28-20 loss to Citrus. … North Marion running back Jamie Gilmore, a three-star recruit who scored two touchdowns and rushed for 170 yards in last week’s blowout win over St. Cloud.

Baker’s pick: The Colts end Fivay’s monumental first all-varsity season with a first-round playoff exit. North Marion, 38-14.

Sunlake (9-1) at Ocala Vanguard (7-3), 7:30 p.m.

On the line: Sunlake is in the playoffs for the first time in school history, and a win would continue building upon the Seahawks’ great season. The Knights will try to get back to the region finals for the second year in a row.

Who’s hot: The Seahawks’ defense, which hasn’t allowed more than 13 points since Oct. 14 and has allowed only one score in the last two games. …  Vanguard sophomore Deltron Modican, who has rushed for six touchdowns in the last three games.

Baker’s pick: Sunlake’s size and strength isn’t enough for the Knights. Vanguard, 24-17.


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