Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chamberlain's defense will challenge Wharton in Class 5A semifinal

TAMPA — With Alonso, Jefferson and Gaither falling in the first round of the football playoffs, northern Hillsborough County's flood of teams in the postseason suddenly is down to two.

Two teams, one game.

Wharton (9-2) will square off against host Chamberlain (10-1) Friday in the Class 5A regional semifinals.

Wharton survived a 35-28 shootout with Alonso to advance while Chamberlain thrashed Gaither 54-6 in the opening round. Jefferson, meanwhile, lost 14-7 on the road against Bradenton Southeast in the Class 4A regional playoffs.

That sets up a meeting of Chamberlain's prolific offense, led by do-it-all quarterback Dontae Aycock, against the Wildcats, who played most of the Alonso game on pure emotion.

Wharton defensive coordinator Earl Goodman suffered a heart attack and died Nov. 8. The Wildcats players honored their coach with prayers, his initials on their uniforms and, most notably, their last-minute win against Alonso.

Wharton, which has won nine games in a row, got outstanding performances from quarterback Andrew Clifford, who completed 8 of 33 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns, and receiver/running back/safety Jairus Jones, who accounted for four touchdowns against Alonso.

Chamberlain, meanwhile, won't try anything different against the Wildcats. The Chiefs, who slipped past Wharton 26-25 in the opening round of the playoffs last season, simply line up and dare teams to stop Aycock.

A blend of power and speed, Aycock ran for 196 yards and four touchdowns against Gaither last week. He also threw two touchdowns to standout receiver Anthony Williams.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Wharton (9-2) at Chamberlain (10-1)

Last Week: Wharton defeated Alonso, 35-28; Chamberlain beat Gaither, 54-6.

Last Meeting: Chamberlain beat Wharton, 26-25, in the 2007 Class 5A, region quarterfinal playoffs.

The Skinny: Wharton's ball-control offense will face a tough challenge against the Chamberlain defense, which has allowed just one touchdown in its past eight quarters. But with Clifford, Jones and tailback Shane Mc­Ewen, the Wildcats have playmakers who can move the ball and score.

A bigger problem for the Wildcats will be slowing down the Chiefs' offense. Wharton has allowed 25 points a game this season — a figure in line with Chamberlain's quick-strike offense, which is tallying an average of 38 points a contest.

The Edge: The emotions of the past few weeks will continue to linger for Wharton, which must keep Chamberlain's offense off the field to keep this game close. The only problem is Chamberlain's stout defense likely will limit Wharton's offensive chances. The Chiefs will enjoy another home win and move on to the region finals.

Chamberlain's defense will challenge Wharton in Class 5A semifinal 11/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 10:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  2. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  4. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  5. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]