League play kicks off for several North of Tampa area teams

TAMPA — Several North of Tampa area public school teams begin league play tonight, and three teams — Gaither, Sickles and Chamberlain — will be looking to bounce back from losses last week.

Gaither (2-1) is opening Class 7A, District 7 at home against winless Wiregrass Ranch. Sickles (1-1), which was off last week, plays at home in its 6A-8 district opener against King (0-3). In other 7A-7 contests, Freedom hosts Steinbrenner while Chamberlain plays at Tampa Bay Tech.

Meanwhile, Berkeley Prep, Carrollwood Day School and Cambridge (2-1) are on the road. And winless Leto has a tall order as it opens 6A-8 play at home against nationally ranked powerhouse Armwood.

Wharton and Alonso are off tonight.

All kickoffs are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., unless noted.

Wiregrass Ranch (0-3) at Gaither (2-1)

Last Week: Gaither lost to Plant City 23-21; Wiregrass Ranch lost to Pasco 61-0.

Why you should go: To see Gaither bounce back. The winless Bulls are the perfect medicine for Gaither's hangover from a tough two-point loss at Plant City. Gaither's multipronged offense should fare well against Wiregrass, which has been outscored 108-18 to start the season.

Chamberlain (1-1) at Tampa Bay Tech (2-1)

Last Week: Chamberlain lost to Wharton 37-7; Tampa Bay Tech lost to Armwood 30-0.

Why you should go: To see if Chamberlain running back Xavier Johnson can have his way with a tough TBT defense. Tech is better than its shutout loss to state-ranked Armwood, and Chamberlain is better than its blowout loss to Wharton. Plus, it's the Class 7A, District 7 opener for both teams.

Steinbrenner (1-2) at Freedom (1-2)

Last Week: Steinbrenner lost to Strawberry Crest 21-14; Freedom defeated Brandon 20-14.

Why you should go: Because Freedom is coming off a win. The struggling Patriots did just enough last week to pick up a first win for coach Todd Donohoe. But can the good times continue against Steinbrenner as both teams try to shed also-ran status in the 7A-7 district race?

King (0-3) at Sickles (1-1)

Last Week: King lost to Alonso 21-7; Sickles was off.

Why you should go: Because Sickles is still smarting from its Week 2 two-point loss to rival Wharton. After a week off, the Gryphons open Class 6A, District 8 play at home against winless King.

Armwood (2-1) at Leto (0-3)

Last Week: Armwood defeated Tampa Bay Tech 30-0; Leto lost to Riverview 21-6.

Why you should go: Because Armwood may score 70 points. Seriously. The Hawks have already scored 55 and 30 points in wins this season against decent defenses. Leto, which put up a fight in last week's loss, has been outscored 127-12 this season.

Berkeley Prep (3-0) at Orlando Lake Highland Prep (1-2)

Last Week: Berkeley Prep defeated Naples Golden Gate 39-23; Lake Highland Prep lost to Plantation American Heritage 48-10.

Why you should go: Because Berkeley Prep is putting together a regular season that could lead to another deep playoff run. After two relatively easy wins, the 2A Buccaneers went on the road and toppled a 5A squad last week to stay unbeaten.

Carrollwood Day School (3-0) at Shorecrest Prep (2-1)

Last Week: CDS defeated Northside Christian 49-0; Shorecrest Prep defeated Calvary Christian 26-3.

Why you should go: To continue the Robert Davis watch. After another standout 100-plus-yard effort, tailback Davis needs a little less than 1,400 yards to become Hillsborough County's all-time leading rusher. Oh, and because CDS is an outstanding squad and still undefeated on the season.

Cambridge Christian (2-1) at Northside Christian (0-3)

Last Week: Cambridge lost to Bradenton Christian 20-6; Northside Christian lost to Carrollwood Day School 49-0.

Why you should go: After a tough district loss last week, Cambridge is trying to get in the W column in Class 2A, District 5 play. The Lancers' offense should be able to move the ball plenty against winless Northside, which has been outscored 141-10 so far this season.

League play kicks off for several North of Tampa area teams 09/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 20, 2012 4:30am]

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