MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
After nearly two months of murkiness, the Hillsborough County playoff picture is becoming discernible. Barring a major upset, all becomes clear over the next two Fridays. A stumble here or stunner there, however, and some teams could be convening Nov. 5 (at sites to be determined) for the organized crapshoot known more diplomatically as district tie-breakers. Here are where things stand in each area district (teams listed with their district records):
Plant (2-0) is already your district champion, by virtue of wins against Wharton (1-1) and Alonso (1-1). The Wildcats host the Ravens on Nov. 2 for the runner-up spot and accompanying playoff berth.
Prediction: Plant (champion), Wharton (runner-up)
A scenario still exists in which Chamberlain (2-1), Gaither (3-0) and Tampa Bay Tech (3-0) could finish in a three-way tie for first place. That has a chance of unfolding only if the Chiefs top Gaither on Friday. Of greater likelihood is the Cowboys and Titans entering next week's game at Gaither undefeated in district play. The winner would be champion and the loser would be runner-up.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Tech (champion), Gaither (runner-up)
A litany of scenarios still abound, the likeliest being Durant (3-0) defeating East Bay (2-1) and Riverview (0-3) over the next two Fridays to win the championship. The Nov. 2 contest between Plant City (1-2) and Newsome (2-1) is critical. If Newsome and East Bay both finish 3-2, the Wolves get the No. 2 playoff spot because they defeated the Indians in September. Conceivably, Newsome, East Bay and Plant City all could finish 3-2, forcing a tie-breaker for one playoff berth.
Prediction: Durant (champion), Newsome (runner-up)
Hillsborough (4-1) clinches the district title with a win Friday at King (2-2), making Armwood (4-1) runner-up. With two district losses each, Sickles (2-2), Jefferson (2-2) and King remain mathematically alive, but they need help (or in King's case, the Lions must help themselves). If King were to upset Hillsborough, a plausible scenario surfaces in which Hillsborough, Sickles and Jefferson would compete in a tie-breaker (likely at Hillsborough) for the runner-up spot and accompanying playoff berth.
Prediction: Hillsborough (champion), Armwood (runner-up)
We wish all the scenarios were this simple. Robinson (6-0) plays at Lakewood (6-0) on Friday for the district title. The loser is runner-up and also in the playoffs.
Prediction: Robinson (champion), Lakewood (runner-up)
Clearwater Central Catholic (2-0) has clinched the district title. Tampa Catholic (1-1) hosts Berkeley Prep (1-1) on Nov. 2 for the runner-up spot and accompanying playoff berth.
Prediction: CCC (champion), Berkeley Prep (runner-up)
With a victory Friday against Indian Rocks Christian (6-1), Carrollwood Day (5-1) assures itself of no worse than a first- or second-place tie, which would require a tie-breaker. If the Patriots win and defeat Calvary Christian next week, they clinch the program's first playoff berth. If IRC defeats CDS, the Patriots must win at Calvary and hope Admiral Farragut loses its final two games (vs. Cambridge Christian, Northside Christian).
Prediction: Admiral Farragut (champion), Carrollwood Day (runner-up)