Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

Big tasks still ahead for many Hillsborough football teams

TAMPA — Try not to peek ahead to next week.

Sure, there are some key games on Nov. 2 that will determine playoff spots. And while that is not entirely the case tonight, there are a couple of big contests taking place.

In Class 2A, District 5, Carrollwood Day School hosts Indian Rocks Christian in the game that seemingly has been screaming off the schedule all season. CDS and Admiral Farragut sit tied for second at 5-1 in the district while Indian Rocks is a step ahead at 6-1. So today's matchup should go a long way to determining the district champion.

Meanwhile, Chamberlain travels to Gaither with a big task: beat the Cowboys and figure in the Class 7A, District 7 hunt during the season's final couple of weeks. Chamberlain will turn running back Xavier Johnson loose tonight against a tough Gaither defense that has held opponents to seven points or less in three of its last four games.

In other contests, Alonso hosts Tampa Catholic, Wharton plays at Blake, Sickles hosts Strawberry Crest and Freedom plays at Tampa Bay Tech.

All kickoffs are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., unless noted.

Indian Rocks Christian (6-1, 6-1 in Class 2A, District 5) at Carrollwood Day School (7-1, 5-1 2A-5), 4 p.m.

Last week: Carrollwood Day defeated Cambridge 45-24; IRC defeated Northside Christian 47-0.

Why you should go: A win tonight would be a huge step toward Carrollwood Day's first-ever playoff spot. The Patriots need a win tonight and another one next week at Calvary Christian.

Berkeley Prep (6-1) at Orlando First Academy (8-0)

Last week: Berkeley Prep lost to Clearwater Central Catholic 35-21; First Academy defeated Melbourne Holy Trinity 36-7.

Why you should go: Berkeley's district crown hopes took a blow with last week's loss, but the Buccaneers are still in the playoff hunt. A win next week at Tampa Catholic and the Bucs are back in the postseason for the fourth straight season.

Wiregrass Ranch (0-7, 0-3 7A-7) at Steinbrenner (2-5, 0-3 7A-7)

Last week: Wiregrass Ranch lost to Chamberlain 32-3; Steinbrenner lost to Tampa Bay Tech 42-16.

Why you should go: Pride will be on display tonight at Steinbrenner. The loser of this game will occupy the Class 7A, District 7 cellar all alone.

Tampa Catholic (6-1) at Alonso (4-3)

Last week: Tampa Catholic was off; Alonso lost to Plant 22-12.

Why you should go: Alonso is still playing at a high level and in the middle of the playoff race. Alonso's three loses are to Gaither, Durant and Plant (teams that are a combined 19-2). The Crusaders, meanwhile, are ending the season with a tough stretch: Alonso, Berkeley Prep and Jesuit. And Tampa Catholic has to win the Berkeley game to reach the playoffs.

Wharton (5-2) at Blake (3-5)

Last week: Wharton defeated Bloomingdale 28-14; Blake defeated Lennard 18-0.

Why you should go: This should be a tune-up, Wharton fans. Next week, Wharton and Alonso will go at it with a playoff spot on the line.

Chamberlain (3-4, 2-1 7A-7) at Gaither (6-1, 3-0 7A-7)

Last week: Chamberlain defeated Wiregrass Ranch 32-3; Gaither defeated Freedom 16-7.

Why you should go: This is the biggest contest for Chamberlain since it reached the 2008 playoffs. A Chiefs' win will all but lock up a playoff appearance. And if Gaither is peeking ahead to its showdown against 7A-7 co-leader Tampa Bay Tech, we could suddenly have Tech, Gaither and Chamberlain all 3-1 in the district with two weeks left in the regular season.

Freedom (2-6, 1-2 7A-7) at Tampa Bay Tech (5-2, 3-0 7A-7)

Last week: Freedom lost to Gaither 16-7; TBT defeated Steinbrenner 16-7.

Why you should go: To see if Freedom can finish the season strong. The Patriots have scored more than 20 points in a game only once this season, and have been held to single digits five times. It won't be easy to improve on that against Tech in this 7A-7 game.

Jefferson (3-4, 2-2 6A-8) at Leto (0-8, 0-4 6A-8)

Last week: Jefferson defeated Sickles 21-14; Leto lost to Strawberry Crest 76-7.

Why you should go: The Dragons, after a 1-4 start, have put together two winning performances. It'll likely grow to three as winless 6A-8 district foe Leto is coming off a 69-point loss to Strawberry Crest.

Strawberry Crest (3-4, 1-3 6A-8) at Sickles (4-3, 2-2 6A-8)

Last week: Strawberry Crest defeated Leto 76-7; Sickles lost to Jefferson 21-14.

Why you should go: Talk about an emotional roller coaster. Here's Sickles' last three weeks: a last-second loss to district foe and national powerhouse Armwood, arguably the biggest win in program history against Hillsborough, then a crushing (and playoff-run ending) loss to Jefferson.

Cambridge (4-4) at Seffner Christian (4-3)

Last week: Cambridge lost to Carrollwood Day School 45-24; Seffner Christian defeated Merritt Island Christian 24-23.

Why you should go: Cambridge was officially put out of the playoffs last week, but the Lancers are still fighting to reach the six-win mark, which would tie its program best from last season.

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