MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
All at 7:30 p.m. Friday
Northeast (7-3) at Bradenton Manatee (10-0)
Winner gets: Pinellas Park/Venice winner in 7A region semifinals.
Playoff history: This is Northeast’s 11th playoff appearance. In 2010, the Vikings lost to Manatee 35-13 in the first round. This is defending state champion Manatee’s 26th playoff appearance dating to 1973.
About Manatee: The Hurricanes are ranked No. 1 in the nation by several publications, including USA Today. Perennial power Miami Central lost by 10 points to Manatee, closest of any opponent. The Hurricanes average 50.2 points per game. Manatee’s offense starts with senior quarterback Cord Sandberg, who has completed 72 percent of his passes and thrown for 1,877 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 495 yards and eight TDs. Junior RB Trevon Walters has gained 931 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. Seniors Blake Keller (7 1/2) and Marquis Dawsey (5 1/2) lead the team in sacks.
Who’s hot: Northeast quarterback Ryan Davis has thrown for 1,406 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 591 yards and four TDs. Manatee’s Marquel Hines has scored 14 touchdowns (nine receiving, five rushing), and Walters leads the team with 16.
Rodney Page’s pick: It’s been a memorable season for the Vikings. This game will be one to forget. Manatee 56-0.
Bob Putnam’s pick: The biggest mismatch will be in the trenches, which is not good for Davis. Manatee 63-7.
Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast (5-3) at East Lake (9-1)
Winner gets: Palm Harbor University/Vero Beach winner in the 8A region semifinals.
Playoff history: This is Treasure Coast’s third playoff appearance in four years. The Titans have won two playoff games, both in 2009. This is East Lake’s fourth straight appearance and 13th overall. The Eagles have won two straight district titles and last year advanced to their first region final, losing to eventual state champ Plant in overtime.
About Treasure Coast: The Titans finished the regular season by losing two of their final three games. The skid was due in large part to a sputtering offense that averaged 10 points in those three games. But Treasure Coast did gain some momentum heading into the postseason by beating rival Palm Bay 21-7 in the season finale. There is speed on offense, and East Lake will have to tackle well to prevent big plays.
Who’s hot: Eagles quarterback Pete DiNovo finished the regular season with 2,138 yards passing and 20 touchdowns. He came on strong at the end of the season, throwing at least two TD passes in each of his past four games. DiNovo’s favorite target, Artavis Scott, has 652 yards receiving and has topped 100 yards in three of his past four games.
Page: Home game helps Eagles cruise in quarterfinals. East Lake 35-14.
Putnam: Eagles score quickly then put it on cruise control. East Lake 34-17.
Frostproof (6-4) at Clearwater Central Catholic (9-1)
Winner gets: Tampa Catholic/Fort Meade winner in the 3A region final.
Playoff history: This is Frostproof’s 27th playoff appearance, but just the Bulldogs’ second postseason game since 2008. Frostproof has won three state titles (1974, ’92 and ’99). CCC has been one of the county’s most consistent playoff contenders with 14 appearances in 17 seasons. But the Marauders are trying to win a playoff game for the first time since 2007.
About Frostproof: After starting 2-3, the Bulldogs won four of their final five, including an upset of Lakeland Christian two weeks ago that secured a playoff spot. Xavier Gaines, a freshman, is a dual-threat quarterback who has thrown for 1,022 yards and rushed for 412.
Who’s hot: The Marauders’ defense has posted six shutouts. Linebackers Ethan Thompson and Kyle Brittain each are averaging more than eight tackles per game. CCC’s defensive backs do not get a lot of interceptions, but Calvin Pringles (13 passes defended) and Mike Stevenson (nine defended) excel at swatting away footballs.
Page: Marauders roll in the first round, but things get tougher after that. CCC 37-17
Putnam: The Marauders defense comes through again. CCC 24-7.
Rest of the slate
Osceola (7-3) at Hillsborough (8-1)
Winner gets: Largo/Armwood winner in the 6A region semifinals.
Breakdown: Hillsborough’s only loss was by one point to Sickles (a game at Cocoa that was postponed by inclement weather was never rescheduled). Osceola has won six straight; its three losses came against playoff teams (Pinellas Park, Northeast, Largo).
Page: Warriors’ running attack will keep it close, but Terriers have too much depth. Hillsborough 21-17.
Putnam: Wing-T helps Warriors stay in the game, but it’s not enough to win. Hillsborough 35-21.
Palm Harbor University (8-2) at Vero Beach (8-1)
Winner gets: East Lake/Treasure Coast winner in the 8A region semifinals.
Breakdown: Vero Beach likes to throw; Palm Harbor University likes to run. If the Hurricanes’ top rushers, Jonah Fiskaa and Demetri Royer, are able to play after sustaining concussions two weeks ago, then PHU is much better off.
Page: The Indians appear to have too much offense. Vero Beach 28-21.
Putnam: ’Canes defense, run game make it close. Vero Beach 24-20.
Venice (7-3) at Pinellas Park (6-4)
Winner gets: Manatee/Northeast winner in the 7A region semifinals.
Breakdown: Venice is a run-option team that has racked up more than 3,000 yards this season. Pinellas Park has used eight running backs and also threw for 160 yards against PHU last week.
Page: The Indians eventually wear out the Patriots with their run attack. Venice 26-14.
Putnam: Indians are pretty good at knocking out county teams in first round. Venice 21-7.
Armwood (7-3) at Largo (10-0)
Winner gets: Osceola-Hillsborough winner in the 6A region semifinals
Breakdown: The Hawks, a consistent state title contender, have not lost a first-round playoff game since 1999. Armwood’s biggest offensive threat is Alvin Bailey, whom the Hawks plan to use at quarterback to take advantage of his athleticism. Bailey was the team’s top receiver in the regular season with 658 yards. The Hawks’ three losses have all come to playoff teams (Delray Beach American Heritage, Hillsborough and Plant).
Page:The Packers have enough this year to beat Armwood — barely. Largo 21-17.
Putnam:This seems like a special season for the Packers. Largo 21-16.
Lakewood (9-1) at Orlando Bishop Moore (8-2)
Winner gets: Robinson/Port Orange Atlantic winner in the 5A region semifinals.
Breakdown: Bishop Moore lost its first two games to a pair of state-ranked and unbeaten teams — Orlando First Academy and Kissimmee Osceola . The running back tandem of Jak Ramsberger and Marcus Williams combined for 250 yards rushing last week against Orlando Freedom in the season finale. In their eight wins, the Hornets have averaged 38 points per game.
Page: Just a hunch, but the Spartans will have a happy bus ride home. Lakewood 27-21.
Putnam::Defense gets it done for the Spartans. Lakewood 21-10.
Indian Rocks Christian (6-4) at Naples First Baptist (10-0)
Winner gets: Carrollwood Day/Moore Haven winner in 2A region final.
Breakdown: The Golden Eagles do not enter the playoffs with a head of steam. They have lost three straight and were shut out in their last game against Clearwater Central Catholic. The Lions have four shutouts and average 43 points per game.
Page: This appears too big of a task for the Golden Eagles. First Baptist 30-10.
Putnam: Golden Eagles gain valuable playoff experience in tough circumstances. First Baptist 31-21.