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Football picks

Tonight's game

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Jesuit (5-4) at Tampa Catholic (7-2), 6:30: Jesuit has owned TC this decade, having won eight straight in what arguably is the state's most heated private school rivalry. The Tigers aren't going to the playoffs, but last week's win over Lakeland Kathleen should send a signal to TC that Jesuit means business. The Crusaders, winners of seven straight, have three shutouts in five games. That D will help TC end the streak. Pick: TC

Friday's games

All games at 7:30 p.m.

Bloomingdale (6-3) at Durant (5-4): For the first time, both teams are headed to the playoffs. But don't think for a second that either one will be looking ahead to next week. That's because these longtime rivals have never really liked each other. Look for this to be an old-fashioned slugfest, with each team running 85-90 percent of the time. Durant's solid offensive line could be the difference. Pick: Durant.

Brandon (2-7) at Riverview (1-8): How can a game between teams with a combined three wins be even the slightest bit important? It's simple: After not-so-terrific seasons, each program already has an eye toward 2009. A strong finish often translates into a good offseason, which both desperately need. Pick: Brandon

East Bay (3-6) at Spoto (4-5): Can the playoff-bound Spartans win their fifth straight? If they do, it will likely be because of a defense that has time and again come up with big plays at big moments. The Indians haven't played well of late, but it's never easy shutting down their wishbone attack, which is led by RB Chaz Burrows. Pick: Spoto

Freedom (3-6) at Plant City (3-6): During its past four games, Freedom is 2-2. One of the losses was to Durant by a field goal. Another was to mighty Armwood by only 17. In other words, the Patriots aren't playing badly right now. The emergence of RB Sherrod Cunningham is one of the reasons why. Pick: Freedom

Jefferson (5-4) at Middleton (2-7): Want to get an up-close look at two teams with bright futures? This is the game. Both squads have suffered growing pains this fall with young rosters, but most local observers think each is headed for bigger and better things. Jefferson WR Andre Davis, a sophomore who averages 20 yards per catch, is one player to watch. Pick: Jefferson.

King (3-6) at Tampa Bay Tech (8-1): TBT beat Hillsborough last week to earn a playoff spot. Next week, it starts the postseason. Might this be a trap game for the Titans? Perhaps. Despite its record, King isn't half bad. In fact, the Lions defense is probably ranks among the top half in the county. Don't be shocked if this is relatively close, but … Pick: TBT

Plant (8-1) at Robinson (2-7): The Panthers won't have coach Robert Weiner (he's serving a one-game suspension), but it shouldn't matter. Since dropping its opener to Armwood, all Plant has done is win eight straight. The closest margin in those games? A 14-point win over then-nationally ranked Chamberlain. Pick: Plant

Saturday's game

Carrollwood Day (3-7) vs. Leesburg First Academy (2-7) at The Villages, 11 a.m.: One of four games in a one-day Sunshine State Conference bowl showcase, CDS will look to once again exploit a suspect First Academy defense. When they met in the regular-season opener, the Patriots won 42-27. Pick: CDS

Football picks 11/13/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 14, 2008 9:15pm]
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