Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Playoff-bound Sickles hosts Alonso in regular season finale

CARROLLWOOD

The postseason is upon us and the playoff matchups are set.

Except for one minor matter — the regular season finales.

Four North of Tampa area teams wrapped up their regular seasons last week. Seven more do so tonight, led by Sickles, fresh off securing the Class 7A, District 7 championship. The two playoff teams playing tonight (Sickles and Gaither) will look to stay sharp and avoid injuries. The others will look to finish strong and wrap up their regular seasons with a win.

And the area's other two playoff-bound teams, Carrollwood Day School and Wharton, are off tonight, getting some extra time to get ready for next week's playoffs.

Sickles hosts Alonso tonight, while Berkeley Prep hosts Brandon. Freedom, Gaither, Steinbrenner and Leto all wrap up their regular seasons on the road. Cambridge and Chamberlain completed their seasons last week.

All of tonight's kickoffs are scheduled for 7:30 unless noted.

Alonso (5-4, 2-3) at Sickles (8-1, 5-0)

Last week: Alonso lost to Plant 56-27; Sickles defeated Tampa Bay Tech 35-8.

Why you should go: To crown the King of Sheldon Road. Sickles RB Ray Ray McCloud is coming off a 216-yard, three-touchdown game in helping secure the team's first district championship. So with the playoffs ahead next week, how much will McCloud and quarterback Issac Holder play tonight?

Brandon (3-6, 0-4) at Berkeley Prep (4-4, 2-3)

Last week: Brandon lost to Plant City 26-3; Berkeley Prep defeated Frostproof 21-3.

Why you should go: Berkeley's impressive 18-point win against playoff-bound Frostproof shows the hard-luck Bucs are better than their record indicates. We'll see if the Class 3A Bucs, who lost three district games by a combined 12 points this season, can finish the season strong against a Class 7A Brandon team that has lost three in a row.

Freedom (2-7, 1-4) at Riverview (2-7, 1-4)

Last week: Freedom defeated Wiregrass Ranch 33-13; Riverview lost to Newsome 31-7.

Why you should go: Because Freedom has played good football of late. Patriots QB DJ Grant helped lead his team to last week's big win a week after a close loss against Steinbrenner. Three good performances in the final four games would be a solid way to close out the campaign.

Gaither (5-4, 4-1) at Plant City (7-2, 3-1)

Last week: Gaither defeated Steinbrenner 35-30; Plant City defeated Brandon 26-3.

Why you should go: The roller coaster Gaither Cowboys were on the upswing last week as QB Alex McGough passed for 189 yards and ran for another 125 in the playoff-cementing win. The Cowboys are headed to their third straight playoff appearance.

Steinbrenner (3-6, 2-3) at Jefferson (8-1, 7-1)

Last week: Steinbrenner lost to Gaither 35-30; Jefferson defeated Blake 56-0.

Why you should go: To see if Steinbrenner can shake off the disappointing loss to rival Gaither. It'll be a difficult task, though, as Steinbrenner travels to face playoff-bound Jefferson.

Leto (0-9, 0-8) at Spoto (2-7, 1-1)

Last week: Leto lost to King 53-15; Spoto defeated Lennard 21-6.

Why you should go: To watch Leto's offense. Falcon quarterback Vinny LaRosa completed 12 passes for 156 yards last week, including a 46-yarder for a touchdown to Juan Garcia, as Leto scored a season-high 15 points. Now the defense has to allow slightly fewer than the 45 points on average it has given up every game.

Comments
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

TAMPA — By now there are no more secretes. After six games over 11 days, the Lightning know all the Capitals' habits , and the Caps know all the Lightning's.To Lightning coach Jon Cooper the outcome of tonight's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

VERO BEACH —Academy at the Lakes waited two weeks to play in the Class 2A state softball tournament in hopes of winning what has been an elusive title.The Wildcats completed the first task Monday, cruising to a mercy-rule win over Fort Pierce John Ca...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Faria on the mound

UPDATE, 6:04: Cash said the Rays don't know yet if Wendle will be  back Thursday or Friday, though with the Sox starting RHP Rick Porcello on Thursday that would make sense. …  Cash said OF Carlos Gomez (groin strain) will run the bas...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Did ex-girlfriend’s Facebook post leak suspension of FSU starter Josh Ball?

Did ex-girlfriend’s Facebook post leak suspension of FSU starter Josh Ball?

A Florida State student from Lithia wrote a Facebook post Monday afternoon alleging the suspension of Seminoles starting offensive tackle Josh Ball.Little else was known a day later, but the details in the since-deleted post are consistent ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays call up top prospect Willy Adames – but only for a couple days

Rays call up top prospect Willy Adames – but only for a couple days

The Rays have called up top prospect INF Willy Adames – though likely for a short stay.INF Joey Wendle was placed on the paternity list Tuesday, which allows him to miss up to three days.Manager Kevin Cash said Adames is headed back to Triple-A...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

If you've been dipping your toes in the "Gosh, Vita Vea looks a lot like the guy from Disney's Moana" pool, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has jumped in all the way.The Bucs' 347-pound rookie is massive, has a family history on the Pacific island...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Photos: Bucs open OTA practices

Photos: Bucs open OTA practices

“We’d love to have everybody here,” said coach Dirk Koetter, who said he was unsure if Pierre-Paul or Grimes would practice before next month’s mandatory minicamp. “That’s the perfect world, but we don’t live...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning squanders chance to close out Capitals

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning squanders chance to close out Capitals

The Lightning misses an opportunity to close out the Capitals in Washington, so there will be a Game 7 in Tampa on Wednesday night with a berth in the Stanley Cup final on the line.Andrei Vasilevskiy was fantastic, but the Lightning couldn't match th...
Updated: 4 hours ago