The lone North of Tampa-area team still alive in the playoffs, Carrollwood Day School, heads into tonight's second-round state playoff game with two things it did not have a week ago: a playoff win and a record-setting career running back.
The Patriots (10-1), fresh off their opening round win against Moore Haven, travel to Naples to face First Baptist Academy (11-0) in the Class 2A region finals. The winner advances to the state semifinals.
The Patriots and Lions and have some things in common: They are up-and-coming Class 2A programs with dominant running games making their first trip to the state playoffs.
CDS running back Robert Davis goes into his second playoff game as Hillsborough County's all-time career rusher with 5,475 yards. Davis set the career mark by gaining 245 yards in the 24-12 win over Moore Haven. The Lions defense will try to key on Davis as both teams try to move a step closer to a state crown.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
CLASS 2A REGION FINAL
Carrollwood Day School (10-1) at Naples First Baptist Academy (11-0)
Last Week: CDS defeated Moore Haven 24-12; First Baptist Academy defeated Indian Rocks Christian 42-21.
Why you should go: To see record-setting runner Davis and an outstanding CDS team in what could be their last game of 2012. Davis will look to add to his record county rushing total. But the Patriots' offense can offer more than just Davis. Quarterback Vidal Woodruff has thrown for 24 TDs this season, mostly to standout receiver Andy Embody, who has 15 touchdown catches this season.
In First Baptist, CDS will face a team with two solid runners. Quarterback Jonah Bueltel has 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. When he does hand off, he gives the ball to Chris Dorrill, who has 1,050 yards on the season and 16 scores.
So if this one comes down to whose defense can get more stops, which squad has the edge? First Baptist, ranked fifth in the state in 2A, had five shutouts this season. CDS' defense shutout three opponents, but none since September and allowed 16 points per game. FBA's defense gave up 10 points per game.
One last note to chew on. Both First Baptist and Carrollwood Day played, and defeated, Indian Rocks Christian this season. CDS beat IRC 28-22 late in the regular season. FBA topped IRC 42-21 last week to open the playoffs.