Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Quick turnarounds will challenge some prep football teams

CARROLLWOOD — What happens when a high school football team plays two games in a week?

Alonso, Chamberlain and Leto will find out Friday when they take the field just four days after playing their last games. Heavy rains late last week pushed several games to Monday.

Friday also marks the start of district play for many squads. Among the top district battles: In 8A-6, Alonso hosts a Newsome team that was dominated by Sickles a few weeks ago; Gaither and Freedom square off in their 7A-7 opener, along with Steinbrenner and unbeaten Sickles. The other top matchup Friday in 8A-6 will feature Riverview visiting Wharton.

Also, Cambridge, coming off a huge effort by quarterback Garrett Young (300 yards of offense and six TDs), plays at Keswick Christian in its 2A-5 district opener.

All kickoffs are at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.

Newsome (2-1) at Alonso (2-0)

Last game: Newsome lost to Sickles 27-7; Alonso defeated East Bay 35-3

Why you should go: Because the race for second place starts Friday. With powerhouse Plant still the Class 8A, District 6 favorite until another team knocks them off, the runnerup spot figures to be the pseudo crown for teams such as Alonso and Newsome. Alonso has to deal with the quick turnaround after playing on Monday night due to last week's postponements.

Gaither (1-2) at Freedom (1-2)

Last week: Gaither lost to Plant 41-8; Freedom lost to Wharton 19-6.

Why you should go: To see which team can bounce back from a tough loss and get off to a good start in 7A-7 district play. Both losses were disappointing: Gaither was blown out; Freedom played tough at times, but saw Wharton pull away. Both squads want to come out and play better.

Riverview (1-1) at Wharton (2-1)

Last week: Riverview defeated Brandon 28-21; Wharton defeated Freedom 19-6.

Why you should go: To see Wharton play on a dry field. While many games were washed out last week, the Wildcats forged on and played in the elements. Wharton had six turnovers but still did enough to win, scoring on a punt return and a fumble return and getting 150 yards from running back Jeffrey Kiel. Also, it's the Class 8A, District 6 opener for both teams.

Steinbrenner (1-2) at Sickles (3-0)

Last week: Steinbrenner defeated Spoto 34-22; Sickles defeated Newsome 27-7.

Why you should go: To see the next victim on Ray Ray McCloud's hit list. In three games, McCloud has amassed 419 yards, running circles around Robinson, Durant and Newsome. Steinbrenner will counter with an offense that appears to have finally burst out of an early-season funk.

Chamberlain (2-0) at King (2-0)

Last game: Chamberlain defeated Lennard 28-14; King defeated Middleton 26-20.

Why you should go: To see a matchup of two solid and evenly matched teams looking to stay relevant in the Class 6A, District 8 district race. Chamberlain hasn't had the toughest of opponents to start the year, outscoring Leto and Lennard 71-20 to jump out to a 2-0 start. King, also unbeaten, should present a tougher challenge.

Hillsborough (1-1) at Leto (0-2)

Last game: Hillsborough lost to Armwood 37-2; Leto lost to Blake 54-0.

Why you should go: Because Hillsborough might score 80 points. Seriously. Coming into this matchup, Hillsborough is already chasing leaders in the 6A-8 district race. The Terriers, no doubt in a bad mood after the Armwood beating, expect to gobble up this win and look to get back in the district hunt. A score or two for Leto would be a stepping stone.

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

Last week: Cambridge defeated Bishop McLaughlin 48-21; Keswick lost to Canterbury 47-7.

Why you should go: To see Garrett Young. The Cambridge junior quarterback combined for 340 yards (212 passing, 128 rushing) and six touchdowns (three passing, three rushing). The Lancers should be able to handle a depleted Keswick squad in the Class 2A-5 district opener and even their record to .500.

Calvary Christian (3-0) at Carrollwood Day School (1-2), 4 p.m.

Last week: Calvary defeated Northside Christian 34-6; CDS defeated Shorecrest Prep 49-22.

Why you should go: Because you like offense. CDS' passing combo of QB Taylor King and WR Michael Smith connected six times for 197 yards and three scores last week. Calvary's defense should be a good test for the Patriots, who also have to find a way to slow down the Warriors, who average 32 points a game.

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