Hillsborough playoff football capsules

Friday's football region quarterfinals

All games at 7:30 p.m.

East Lake (7-3) at Tampa Bay Tech (8-1)

Winner faces: Freedom-Countryside winner

Skinny: The Eagles possess a stout defense that has held six opponents to seven or fewer points, but Tech's is better. Offensively, East Lake's offense — behind 1,200-yard rusher Jamaal Wilburn and 1,000-yard passer Sam Shaffer — is balanced, but Tech's is better.

Eduardo: TBT, 28-17

Joey: TBT, 35-15

Freedom (7-2) at Countryside (9-1)

Winner faces: East Lake-TBT winner

Skinny: Very intriguing game. Countryside has a behemoth offensive front that paves the way for a fierce running game, but we sense Patriots coach (and former Plant defensive whiz) James Harrell has something up his sleeve. This is Knight's upset special of Week 1.

Eduardo: Countryside, 24-21

Joey: Freedom, 27-24

Alonso (4-6) at Newsome (7-2)

Winner faces: Plant City-Plant winner

Skinny: The Ravens topped Newsome 35-10 in Week 3. Since then, the Wolves haven't lost and Alonso has fought through one well-documented adversity after another. That said, don't be deceived by the Ravens' record; their losses were to Plant, Armwood, Jefferson, Hillsborough, Sickles and Spoto.

Eduardo: Newsome, 28-21

Joey: Newsome, 31-28

Plant City (7-3) at Plant (8-1)

Winner faces: Alonso-Newsome winner

Skinny: Plant City, Hillsborough County's team on the rise, could start more than a dozen sophomores in this game, which should benefit them greatly for the future regardless of the outcome. Panthers coach Bob Weiner says all 115 of his players (we're exaggerating, but only a little) are healthy. Unlike their quick-strike offenses of recent years, these Panthers have shown a penchant for 10- and 12-play drives. We see them wearing down the up-and-coming Raiders in the second half.

Eduardo: Plant, 42-14

Joey: Plant, 31-14

Sickles (8-2) at Armwood (9-1)

Winner faces: Hillsborough-Largo winner

Skinny: Both teams enter this one banged up. Gryphons QB John Melvin Hendrick (wrist surgery) won't play, meaning two-way star Scott O'Donoghue will start behind center. O'Donoghue, a candidate for the QB job in the preseason, started last week's 42-6 win against Wharton. Meantime, Armwood rushing leader Matt Jones (leg) likely will be limited, and MLB D.J. Hitchman (leg) may not play at all.

Eduardo: Armwood, 35-10

Joey: Armwood, 31-7

Hillsborough (6-3) at Largo (8-2)

Winner faces: Sickles-Armwood winner

Skinny: The Terriers return to the playoff party after a one-year hiatus. While this Hillsborough team is loaded with weapons on both sides of the ball — Tarean Austin, Terrence Mitchell, Charles Lovett and Rodney Johnson — the Terriers don't have a win over a team with a winning record. Against Largo, arguably the cream of the Pinellas County crop, Hillsborough will get that opportunity. One stunning fact about the proud Terriers: They've advanced to the region semifinals just once since 2005.

Eduardo: Largo, 28-27

Joey: Hillsborough, 28-20

Land O'Lakes (9-1) at Jefferson (8-1)

Winner faces: Lakewood-Pasco winner

Skinny: Gators quarterback Stevie Weatherford and Dragons counterpart Quentin Williams have teamed for more than 4,000 passing yards and 50-plus TDs. Land O'Lakes has run the ball more effectively, but Jefferson has played a far tougher schedule. We'll go with the tougher schedule.

Eduardo: Jefferson, 31-17

Joey: Jefferson, 33-21

Region semifinals

Arcadia DeSoto (6-4) at Robinson (8-2)

Winner faces: Jesuit-Wauchula Hardee winner

Skinny: This is the Knights' first home playoff game since 1977, and it may be their last of 2009 if they can't stop DeSoto's daunting wing-T led by USF commitment Marcus Shaw (2,361 yards, 27 TDs). The last wing-T team the Knights played (Newsome) beat them. We think they've learned their lesson.

Eduardo: Robinson, 24-21

Joey: Robinson, 27-13

Jesuit (9-1) at Wauchula Hardee (8-1)

Winner faces: Arcadia DeSoto-Robinson

Skinny: Daunting road trip for the Tigers, and not just because of the distance (easily a two-hour bus ride). Located south of Polk County in a rural area known widely for its farming and football, Hardee has held seven foes to seven or fewer points. But this Jesuit team has scoffed at doubters before, proving over and over you don't need studs to win.

Eduardo: Hardee, 28-27

Joey: Hardee, 28-17

Fort Myers Dunbar (7-3) at Tampa Catholic (8-1)

Winner faces: Orlando Lake Highland-Cape Coral Island Coast winner

Skinny: If the Crusaders can yet again shake off the cobwebs of last week's disappointing loss to Jesuit, a lengthy playoff run should be in order. TC has enough athletes to go a long way, and Dunbar has a few of its own, including receiver Joel German, nephew of former UM receiver Jammi German, who presents a vertical threat.

Eduardo: TC, 35-14

Joey: TC, 34-7

Berkeley Prep (7-2) at Cross City Dixie County (9-1)

Winner faces: Wildwood-Fort Meade winner

Skinny: Though we love what Dominick Ciao has done with Berkeley Prep's program, we think the 2009 Bucs stop here. Dixie's run-heavy offense features a stable of backs led by 1,000-yard rusher Stephen Godbolt, and its defense has held six opponents to 10 or fewer points.

Eduardo: Dixie County, 21-14

Joey: Dixie County, 22-8

Hillsborough playoff football capsules 11/19/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 19, 2009 11:48am]

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