Saturday, November 18, 2017
Sports

Rain forces quick turnaround for some prep football squads

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With rain pushing some of last week's games to this past Monday, Friday is a bit of a whirlwind for several local high school football teams. But there's no room for a misstep as many teams are kicking off district play.

For others, such as Hillsborough and King, the district schedule is well under way — and for the Terriers, in a real bad way. They are winless and, unfortunately, in a big hole already when it comes to hoping for a playoff trip.

All games at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Fort Meade (3-0) at Tampa Catholic (2-1), 7 p.m.

Last game: Fort Meade defeated Avon Park 48-0; TC defeated Tarpon Springs 27-3.

Why you should go: This could up being an enormous game. It's been a wonderful couple of weeks for the Crusaders, who stunned Clearwater Central Catholic and then humbled what had been a high-powered offense in Tarpon Springs. But look at District 3A-4's trio of really tough Polk County squads, and toss in Berkeley Prep for good measure. What it all means is though Tampa Catholic can start having state title aspirations, it's no sure thing that they'll even get into the playoffs. Remember the Hardee team that Jesuit lost to by 18 points? Fort Meade went to Hardee the next week and won 18-6, and those are the only points the Miners have allowed.

Chamberlain (2-1, 2-0 in 6A-8) at King (3-0, 1-0)

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

Why you should go: To see two teams on a high after Monday victories, with both seeing the possibility of staying at the top of the district standings. King had a tough win over Middleton, with Otis Williams scoring on two long runs, and now averaging around 20 yards per carry as a result. This could be a similar tight one against a Chiefs team that likes to feed Daishaun Roberts (151 yards, three TD in the win against Lennard). King goes to 4-0 with a win.

Robinson (0-3, 0-1 in 6A-8)) at Armwood (3-0, 2-0)

Last game: Robinson lost to Jefferson 39-22; Arwmood defeated Hillsborough 37-2.

Why you should go: To see a team that's playing at state-championship caliber. Just ask Hillsborough what kind of effort it takes to get past the speedy Hawks. Armwood rolled up nearly 400 yards of offense Monday. Everyone knew that Robinson's schedule was front-loaded, and sadly for the Knights, it has played out to expectations. The Knights competed pretty well against Jefferson, but simply could not keep up.

Bloomingdale (2-0) at Plant (2-0-1)

Last game: Bloomingdale was idle; Plant defeated Gaither 41-8.

Why you should go: Because this is the earliest Plant has entered district play in nine years. The Panthers have been grouped into four-team districts, where teams play the entire first half of their schedule without getting to the meat of it. Now, in a six-team, all-Hillsborough 8A-6, the Panthers are still expected to come out on top, but there are more potential pitfalls. All but one of the teams has a winning record, including the Bulls, who in their last game were very impressive in shutting out Brandon 21-0.

Wiregrass Ranch (2-1) at Tampa Bay Tech (1-1)

Last game: Wiregrass Ranch lost to River Ridge 21-14; Tampa Bay Tech defeated Durant 31-10.

Why you should go: To see another group of Bulls not to overlook. With a foe like Sickles having such a phenomenal start, and the likely team that TBT will battle for district supremacy, it would be easy to overlook this one. Especially when Wiregrass Ranch is coming off back-to-back 0-10 records. But this year's Wiregrass bunch is completely different, with a new head coach in Mike Lawrence and a dangerous spread offense led by quarterback Shane Bucenell. Both teams have big-time athletes promising for one of the more attractive matchups of the week. It's the 7A-7 opener for both.

Blake (1-2, 1-1 in 6A-8) at Lennard (0-3, 0-2)

Last game: Blake defeated Leto 54-0; Lennard lost to Chamberlain 28-14.

Why you should go: Because the atmosphere in Ruskin is special as the Longhorns usually draw big crowds. Lennard is winless, but has been very competitive the past two weeks. Meanwhile, Blake has a bounce after Monday's rout. Corey Bennett ran for nearly 200 yards and four touchdowns.

Hillsborough (0-2, 0-2 in 6A-A) at Leto (0-2, 0-2)

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

Why you should go: To most likely see a Terriers' victory. You have to feel awful for them, having played Jefferson to such a close game before losing the opener, then running into the buzz saw that is the Hawks. Now, the only way Hillsborough makes the playoffs is if someone else can knock off one of those two teams — and if the Terriers run the table. And don't be shocked if Hillsborough indeed goes 8-2.

Largo (2-1) at Jesuit (1-2)

Last game: Largo defeated Gibbs 32-13; Jesuit lost to CCC 21-3.

Why you should go: The incredibly tough predistrict slate continues with Jesuit hosting another Pinellas power. The Tigers will be plenty prepped for district play, and let's face it, the 5A-9 schedule of two games is just a formality, Jesuit will make the playoffs. The point is, the games they're playing now will only help the Tigers when they get there.

Idle: Jefferson (3-0) and Middleton (0-3).

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