Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sports

Prep Football Preview: Week 11

For Durant, it's a chance to finish the regular season unbeaten for the first time in school history.

For Newsome, it's a chance to knock off a neighborhood rival and gear up for the playoffs.

For Bloomingdale, it's a chance to up its record to .500 — a rare feat for the Bulls. East Bay and Plant City also hope to conclude their seasons with respectable 5-5 marks.

And for Seffner Christian, it's a chance to win an actual playoff game.

In the last week of the regular season, every football player in east Hillsborough has an opportunity — to save face, to build momentum for next season, or for most seniors, suit up one last time before their football careers end.

Every team takes a certain emotion into tonight's games, but for the two east Hillsborough playoff teams taking the field, the biggest feeling may be caution. Neither Durant nor Newsome wants to suffer a critical injury, but each wants to tune up for next week's critical games. Durant will play host to Tampa Bay Tech while Newsome travels to Gaither.

Seffner Christian, which plays in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference, actually travels to Leesburg First Academy in a conference playoff game.

East Hillsborough's fourth playoff team, Armwood, gets the night off before crossing the bay to face Largo next week.

The rest of the schools can only look to end their years on a positive note and embrace the tried and true off-season chant: Wait till next year.

Seffner Christian (4-4) at Leesburg First Academy (7-2)

Last Week: Seffner Christian was off; First Academy defeated Ocala Christian 48-14.

Why You Should Go: To see if the Crusaders can win the first playoff game in school history. Seffner Christian posted a 4-1 record in the South Division of the Sunshine State Athletic Conference. They play for the conference title if they win, but it won't be easy. First Academy has won seven straight, averaging more than 46 points a game during the streak.

King (2-7) at Durant (9-0)

Last Week: Armwood defeated King 19-8; Durant defeated Riverview 57-27.

Why You Should Go: To see if the Cougars can pull out of an undefeated regular season for the first time in school history.

Bloomingdale (4-5) at Newsome (5-4)

Last Week: Plant defeated Bloomingdale 51-20; Newsome defeated Plant City 40-7.

Why You Should Go: Newsome's pass defense has been solid throughout the year. The Wolves have seven interceptions, led by Aaron Wade's three.

Spoto (3-6) at Wharton (7-2)

Last Week: Lakewood defeated Spoto 34-17; Wharton defeated Alonso 37-20.

Why You Should Go: Tavaris Johnson has 6.5 sacks on the season and is fourth on the Spartans with 51 tackles this season.

Tampa Bay Tech (6-3) at Plant City (4-5)

Last Week: Gaither defeated Tampa Bay Tech 35-32; Newsome defeated Plant City 40-7.

Why You Should Go: Plant City likes to throw the ball around the field, but former receiver Colby Diers has filled in well at running back due to injuries. Diers ran for 56 last week against Newsome, including a 41-yard scamper near the end of the half.

Brandon (1-8) at Jefferson (5-4)

Last Week: East Bay defeated Brandon 7-6; Jefferson defeated Strawberry Crest 35-31.

Why You Should Go: The Eagles are 1-8 but they've been playing much better football of late, especially on defense. Brandon has lost the last two games by a combined three points.

Gaither (7-2) at Riverview (2-7)

Last Week: Gaither defeated Tampa Bay Tech 35-32; Durant defeated Riverview 57-27.

Why You Should Go: The Sharks have lost seven straight, but Brandon Stage has been solid. The junior kicker booted a pair of long field goals (40 and 43 yards) and hit on all three extra points last week against Durant.

East Bay (4-5) at Strawberry Crest (3-6)

Last Week: East Bay defeated Brandon 7-6; Jefferson defeated Strawberry Crest 35-31.

Why You Should Go: East Bay Deondre Romeo is having a spectacular season. The junior linebacker has 109 tackles for the year and is averaging just over 12 per game.

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