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Three football sequels that could be better than the first editions

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Mon. November 22, 2010 | Times Staff

Three football sequels that could be better than the first editions

TAMPA — Attention holiday shoppers: On Friday, treat the football lover in your family to a gift that keeps on giving — Berkeley Prep-Fort Meade, Robinson-Jesuit or Hillsborough-Armwood. All are playoff rematches of touted (and in two cases, tight) regular-season contests. Here’s a look at what transpired in the first meetings, and what to expect in Part II.

Berkeley Prep (9-2) at Fort Meade (10-1)
Last meeting:
The Miners won 27-20 in overtime Oct. 22 at Fort Meade.
What has transpired since: Berkeley has won four in a row, including Friday’s 29-22 come-from-behind win at Jasper Hamilton County. …Fort Meade has won three of four, losing by one to Polk County rival Frostproof and topping Clearwater Central Catholic by only six. In the CCC game, however, the Miners were missing six starters for various reasons.
Why Part II could be different: After taking the Miners to the wire in their first meeting, the Bucs know they’re capable of winning. And aside from center Jake Rosen’s tweaked ankle, they’re as healthy as they’ve been all year. “Absolutely, we feel we can compete,” coach Dominick Ciao said.
Key fact: Fort Meade has won its past 40 games against bay area district opposition. Only two of those wins, however, came  against Berkeley.
They said it: “I think our players feel (capable of winning), it’s just whether we execute and weather the storm because I know they’re going to come out 100 percent ready for us.” — Ciao
Our picks for Game 1
Eduardo A. Encina: BP, 24-21
Adam Berry: FM, 27-24
Joey Knight: FM, 28-21 (closest)
Our picks for Game 2
Encina: FM, 24-21
Berry: BP, 24-21
Knight: FM, 26-17

Robinson (9-2) at Jesuit (11-0)
Last meeting: The Tigers rallied from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit for a wild 29-28 triumph Oct. 1. Anthony Harrell’s 1-yard TD plunge — capping a nine-play drive — with 55 seconds to play was the clincher.
What has transpired since: Robinson has gone 6-1, its lone defeat a 40-21 loss to South Tampa rival Plant. The Knights lost LB Cam Arnold, considered the quarterback of the defense by coach Mike DePue, to a season-ending foot injury a week later against Newsome. …Jesuit has gone 6-0, but hasn’t been overly impressive the past two weeks. The Tigers were outplayed, plain and simple, by Tampa Catholic on Nov. 11 but capitalized on two high TC punt snaps in the fourth quarter to rally for a 28-18 win.
Why Part II could be different: Because Robinson’s going to be more geeked up than a Black Friday shopper at a 75 percent off sale. Additionally, Newman, who had five second-half sacks against Jesuit in 2009, missed the previous contest with a knee injury. So did LB John Carter (suspension) and CB Carlos Duclos (concussion). …As for Jesuit? Well, you can bet your turkey casserole the Tigers won’t kick to Knights speedster Frankie Williams. The one time they did in the first meeting, he returned it 95 yards for a touchdown.
Key facts: Jesuit is seeking to go 12-0 for the first time since 2001. …Friday’s 42-7 win at Immokalee was the 50th of Knights coach Mike DePue’s career.
They said it: “It’s pretty difficult to beat an elite team twice, and I think now we’re playing with a chip on our shoulder because we want to get past them this game.” — Knights RB J.J. Hubbard
Our picks for Game 1
Encina: Robinson, 21-10
Berry: Robinson, 20-14
Knight: Jesuit, 17-13 (closest)
Our picks for Game 2
Encina: Robinson, 28-24
Berry: Robinson, 31-28
Knight: Robinson, 31-24

Hillsborough (8-3) at Armwood (11-0)
Last meeting: Armwood won 34-15 on Oct. 22, running out to a 21-0 halftime lead. Backed by RB Matt Jones’ 136 yards rushing and four touchdowns, the Hawks dominated the Terriers on the ground by a 244-37 margin.
What has transpired since: The Terriers have won three games, all against teams .500 or better. In the process, Hillsborough clinched a playoff berth in a must-win game against King, snapped a two-year losing streak to TBT and beat a Largo team that ended its season last year in the region quarterfinals. Things at Armwood were equally successful, albeit not as dramatic. The Hawks are 4-0 since, scoring 49 points in three of the four games. Armwood also allowed just more than one touchdown in that span.
Why Part II could be different: This is the first time Hillsborough has advanced to the region semis since 2007; this year’s seniors were freshmen then. Quarterback Jeremy Agrinzonis had his best passing game against Armwood, throwing for 241 yards, and Hillsborough’s 15 points were the most the Hawks have allowed this season. Playmaker Charles Lovett can do it all — he scored three touchdowns, including two on punt returns, last week — but will have to play the game of his life (as will the Terriers’ run defense) to win. The Hawks will have two players back who missed the October matchup: free safety Jermaine McKinney (wrist) and linebacker D.J. Hitchman (knee).
Key fact: This round has been cake for the Hawks. Armwood coach Sean Callahan is 8-2 in region semifinals, and his Hawks teams have won in this round the past seven years.
They said it: “We always look forward to playing the best competition and Armwood is certainly one of the best in America. We’re playing the day after Thanksgiving. We ain’t exactly St. Augustine Sisters of the Poor, either." — Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia
Our picks for Game 1
Encina: Armwood, 31-14 (closest)
Berry: Armwood, 31-10
Knight: Armwood, 34-3
Our picks for Game 2
Encina: Armwood, 31-17
Berry: Armwood, 35-13
Knight: Armwood, 31-7

Joey Knight and Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writers
 

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