CARROLLWOOD — If last Friday was district showdown night, tonight could be called, "let's wrap up the season so we can start the playoffs."
Only two North of Tampa-area teams in action tonight are headed to the postseason, while the rest are wrapping up their 2012 campaigns.
Gaither (7-2), crowned the Class 7A, District 7 champions after a wild 35-32 win against Tampa Bay Tech last week, wraps up its regular season at Riverview tonight before opening the playoffs at home next week. Playoff-bound Wharton (7-2) is at home tonight against Spoto.
Carrollwood Day School, which earned its first-ever playoff berth, is off tonight and opens the postseason at home next Friday.
Leto (0-10), Freedom (3-7) and Cambridge Christian (6-4) all ended their seasons last week.
That leaves just a handful of area squads playing tonight, and only a few at home.
Berkeley Prep, which opened the season with six straight wins before losing three straight games to fall out of the playoff picture, wraps up a disappointing season tonight in Arcadia. Meanwhile, Chamberlain hosts Hillsborough, Alonso and Sickles square off in a rivalry game, Wharton hosts Spoto and Steinbrenner travels to Middleton.
All kickoffs are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. unless noted.
Alonso (5-4) at Sickles (6-3)
Last week: Alonso lost to Wharton 37-20; Sickles defeated Leto 51-6.
Why you should go: The Florida High School Athletic Association did not rule on the issue with Jefferson's ineligible player before Monday, so Sickles did not get an extra district win and a shot at a three-team tiebreaker with Hillsborough and Armwood. Still, the Gryphons will look to go out strong against neighborhood rival Alonso, which missed out on its own postseason berth after losing last week.
Hillsborough (7-1) at Chamberlain (4-5)
Last week: Chamberlain lost to Steinbrenner 35-28; Hillsborough was off.
Why you should go: To watch the latest edition of an old-Tampa rivalry game. Before the expansion of Hillsborough County high schools in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Chamberlain-Hillsborough was one of THE games on the schedule. The Terriers are headed to the postseason; the Chiefs, who came close, are not.
Gaither (7-2) at Riverview (2-7)
Last week: Gaither defeated Tampa Bay Tech 35-32; Riverview lost to Durant 57-27.
Why you should go: To see Gaither QB Alex McGough. In winning the Class 7A-7 district crown last week, McGough passed for 295 yards and five touchdowns. The Cowboys, district champs for the first time since 2007, are in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2007-08.
Steinbrenner (4-5) at Middleton (2-7)
Last week: Steinbrenner defeated Chamberlain 35-28; Middleton lost to Robinson 42-21.
Why you should go: The Middleton band, with all of 18 members, sounds tremendous, like it has twice as many members.
Spoto (3-6) at Wharton (7-2)
Last week: Spoto lost to Lakewood 34-17; Wharton defeated Alonso 37-20.
Why you should go: To see a talented Wharton team that is headed to the playoffs. Leading the Wildcats into the playoffs are QB Chase Litton and RB Jeff Kiel on offense and LB Rocky Enos and DB Vernon Hargreaves III on defense.
Berkeley Prep (6-3) at DeSoto County (4-5), 7 p.m.
Last week: Berkeley Prep lost to Tampa Catholic 33-7; DeSoto County lost to Hardee 21-13.
Why you should go: I hear Arcadia is lovely this time of the year.