Hillsborough: Sunday morning quarterback

This week's playoff matchups

Plant (11-1) at East Lake (9-3)

Playoff primer: Panthers coach Robert Weiner is 4-1 in the region-final round, his only loss coming to Armwood in the 2007 Class 4A playoffs. East Lake is making its first region appearance.

Gaither (9-3) at Lakeland (12-0)

Playoff primer: Gaither is playing in the school's second-ever region final and first since 2000, when the Cowboys lost to eventual 6A state champion Palm Bay 28-7. Lakeland has made the state semifinal round every year since 2007.

Gainesville (10-2) at Armwood (12-0)

Playoff primer: The Hawks are assured of playing at home until the Class 6A state title game. This fact really is inconsequential, unless you consider that Armwood hasn't lost a playoff game at home since Nov. 22, 2002.

Jesuit (11-1) at Pasco (12-0)

Playoff primer: Pasco has lost its last three playoff games against Hillsborough County opposition by a combined total of 147-41. Its last playoff win against a Hillsborough team was 28-16 against Jesuit in the Class 3A state final in 1992.

Berkeley Prep (12-0) at Delray Beach American Heritage (10-1)

Playoff primer: American Heritage forced four first-half turnovers Friday to shock Fort Lauderdale University School 31-20. University was ranked 20th nationally by MaxPreps. Stallions junior Greg Bryant went all Nelson Agholor on University (171 rushing yards, two interceptions).

Game balls

RB Nelson Agholor, Berkeley Prep. The top-ranked athlete in the state showed why he has earned that designation, amassing 74 percent of the Buccaneers' total offense with 211 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries in a 21-0 win over Fort Meade.

OL Sean Gavitt, Armwood. We'd be terribly remiss in not awarding a game ball to this backup lineman, who opted to suit up for the Hawks' 23-0 win over Hillsborough hours after his father, Verne, died at age 48. "He'd want me to come out here and play in memory of him," Gavitt said.

RB Matt Jones, Armwood. For the first time this season, Jones ran like he wasn't bothered by his surgically mended right knee, collecting 133 yards on 22 carries against Hillsborough.

WR/KR Byron Pringle, Robinson. In a losing effort, Pringle was still the best player on the field, accounting for 198 of the Knights' 220 total yards in Robinson's 35-20 loss to Jesuit. He returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and caught a 95-yard touchdown pass.

LB Mike Tate, Plant. The senior linebacker forced two of Plant's five turnovers as the Panthers rolled 49-13 over Orlando Dr. Phillips, which came into the game ranked No. 6 in Class 8A.

By the numbers

6.17 Average points Berkeley Prep has allowed in 12 games this year, all wins

10 Fumbles in Gaither's win over Tampa Bay Tech

523 Total offensive yards by Jesuit in the Tigers' 35-20 win over Robinson

Audibles

"They played the right guy at quarterback. They need to leave him right there because he's the best football player we've seen in quite some time. If they stay healthy and No. 3 plays behind center for four quarters they have a real chance."

Earl Garcia, Hillsborough coach, on Armwood QB Alvin Bailey, who started in place of injured junior Darryl Richardson (shoulder). Bailey ran for 66 yards, passed for 48 and scored on a 72-yard punt return

"It's amazing. It's a dream come true right now, and I'm just living it."

Destin Nichols, Berkeley Prep QB, on the Buccaneers' perfect 12-0 season and the school's first berth in the state semifinal round

"He's one of the best players I've seen in high school in a long time. Robinson somehow, whether it's Javier Arenas or Kwane Doster, they always have one guy like him. We knew he would, as the kids say, get his. We were able to sustain that enough to be victorious."

James Harrell, Jesuit coach, on Robinson senior Byron Pringle, who scored twice but lost 35-20

"At a high school playoff football game. Plant vs. Dr. Phillips."

Denard Span, Minnesota Twins OF and Tampa Catholic alum, in a tweet. Plant won 49-13, so he would have seen a better game at Jesuit, which won 35-20.

Hillsborough: Sunday morning quarterback 11/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 26, 2011 8:08pm]

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