On the surface, it appears to be just another non-district game.
However, the Bloomingdale-East Bay matchup offers plenty of intrigue, however.
The Indians will be eager to solidify its new found respect among county teams after their upset victory against Plant City. Quarterback Chris Carpentier and running back Chris Greene, who rushed for 84 yards last week, will want to show folks East Bay is for real in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Bulls will want to add to their momentum after a dramatic 24-21 victory against Alonso last week. Sophomore quarterback Isaiah McIntyre threw for 212 yards and ran for 94 in the victory. Bloomingdale broke the 21-21 tie late in the game with a 23-yard field goal from Lucas Jose.
Plus, the game renews the Red Cup rivalry. Yes, these teams will actually battle for possession of a perpetual trophy that dates back to 1987 when Bloomingdale opened its doors. It may not be the "Old Oaken Bucket" or the "Little Brown Jug," but tradition matters to kids.
Meanwhile, Plant City will look to bounce back after its first loss of the season against East Bay. The Raiders, who shut out Wharton and Bloomingdale this season, uncharacteristically blew a 13-0 halftime lead. The challenge will be difficult, however with Tech coming off consecutive wins against Plant and Steinbrenner.
The match also shapes up to be a potential playoff preview. If the season ended today, these teams would meet up in a Class 7A first round game.
One other game of note shows how much can change in a year. Newsome hosts Durant a year after the two teams met in a classic playoff battle. The Wolves downed the Cougars and ended Durant's unbeaten season, but a year later both teams have struggled to recapture that success.
All games start at 7:30 p.m.
Bloomingdale (3-2) at East Bay (4-2)
Last week: Bloomingdale defeated Alonso 24-21; East Bay defeated Plant City 19-13.
Why you should go: This shapes up as the area's best game with both teams coming off big wins last week. East Bay DB Anton Crutcher, who doubled on the offensive side of the ball last week, caught the game-winning TD in overtime against Plant City.
Tampa Bay Tech (4-1) at Plant City (4-1)
Last week: Tampa Bay Tech defeated Steinbrenner 54-28; Plant City lost to East Bay 19-13.
Why you should go: John Broome (five sacks) is one of four Raiders with at least two sacks on the season. Plant City's defense is fierce and their front four is the key.
International Community School (4-1) vs. Seffner Christian (5-0) at Brandon
Last week: International Community beat Merritt Island Christian 54-0; Seffner Christian defeated Orlando Christian Prep 35-11.
Why you should go: Three reasons: Linebacker Trent Puleo leads the Crusaders — off to their best start in school history — in tackles with 75. Plus, this may be Seffner Christian's first true test. And, it's homecoming.
Riverview (2-3) at Strawberry Crest (4-2)
Last week: Riverview lost to Plant 47-7; Strawberry Crest beat Durant 11-10.
Why you should go: Alex Carswell, who's brother Austin took over at quarterback when Tristan Hyde went down with a season-ending injury, sealed the win with a sack against Durant in the game's final seconds.
Leto (0-5) at Armwood (5-0)
Last week: Jefferson beat Leto 49-0; Armwood DNP.
Why you should go: Armwood wideout Trevor Laurent leads the team in catches (14) and yards receiving (182). This should be another snoozer for the Hawks.
Durant (1-5) at Newsome (3-3)
Last week: Durant lost to Strawberry Crest 11-10; Wharton beat Newsome 21-20.
Why you should go: These teams are coming off heartbreaking one-point losses and it gives both a chance to regroup in an out-of-district tilt. Newsome's Travis Hempstead ran for 131 yards on 20 carries last week against Wharton and should see a big workload again tonight.
Lennard (0-6) at Jefferson (4-1)
Last week: Lennard lost to Robinson 22-14; Jefferson beat Leto 49-0.
Why you should go: Lennard put up a valiant effort against Robinson last week. Longhorns' QB Diontae Johnson connected on a 45-yard TD pass against the Knights and at one point completed eight consecutive passes.
Brandon Wright can be reached at [email protected]