Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Strawberry Crest faces biggest game in school history

How about those Chargers?

Strawberry Crest got a huge win on Senior Night last week against East Bay and set a program mark for most wins in a season. The victory also guaranteed the Chargers a spot if there should be a three-way tiebreaker in Class 7A, District 8.

But they can make that a moot point with a win tonight at Plant City. A victory would wrap up the district title and assure the Chargers of at least one home postseason game. To be succinct, it's the biggest game in the program's five-year history.

Elsewhere, Bloomingdale and Newsome battle in a game with huge postseason ramifications, Armwood aims to wrap up the Class 6A, District 8 title, and the winner of tonight's Spoto-Middleton game advances to the postseason even though neither team has a winning record.

All games kick off at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.

Strawberry Crest (6-2) at Plant City (5-2)

Last week: Strawberry Crest defeated East Bay 35-14; Plant City defeated Spoto 33-14.

Why you should go: A Chargers win would wrap up the first district title in school history. A Plant City victory sustains its postseason hopes. Plus, the winner claims the mythical Plant City area championship with both teams having pulled out narrow wins over Durant earlier this season. The Chargers' Alex Carswell will look to come up big on both sides of the ball after catching a pair of TDs and recovering a fumble last week.

Spoto (0-7) at Middleton (2-5)

Last week: Spoto lost to Plant City 33-14; Middleton defeated Leto 42-7.

Why you should go: With a combined two wins, this game doesn't appear to have much hanging in the balance. But in the three-team 5A-9, tonight's winner will advance to the postseason along with likely district champ Jesuit.

Newsome (4-4) at Bloomingdale (4-3)

Last week: Newsome lost 30-14 to Plant; Bloomingdale beat Riverview 27-24.

Why you should go: Tommy McLaughlin made his first start under center for the Bulls and put on a show, throwing for 241 yards and four TDs in a comeback win against Riverview. It'll be interesting to see who gets the start this week, especially when you consider the playoff implications. A win tonight combined with a win over Wharton next will put them in the postseason. If Newsome wins and Bloomingdale beats Wharton next week, the Wolves may have a shot at the playoffs. Oh, the drama.

Riverview (2-5) at Alonso (4-3)

Last week: Riverview lost to Bloomingdale 27-24; Alonso beat Wharton 33-15.

Why you should go: Jessie Stillwell, who leads the Sharks in tackles, had a big interception last week against Bloomingdale. Plus, the Sharks can upend Alonso's underdog bid to make the playoffs.

King (5-3) at Armwood (7-0)

Last week: King lost to Jefferson 40-16; Armwood defeated Lennard 49-6.

Why you should go: Armwood needs a win tonight to clinch the 6A-8 title. Shouldn't be a problem.

East Bay (5-3) at Brandon (3-4)

Last week: East Bay lost to Strawberry Crest 35-14; Durant defeated Brandon 12-10.

Why you should go: Leondre Boykin has been steady in the Indians defensive backfield all season and returned a pick for a touchdown last week against the Chargers. Plus, East Bay must win to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Eagles will look to play spoiler after getting upset by Durant last week.

Durant (2-6) at Hillsborough (5-2)

Last week: Durant beat Brandon 12-10; Hillsborough defeated Blake 52-21.

Why you should go: Dwayne Lawson is on the other side of I-75, but the Terriers' quarterback is a special player. Lawson threw for 405 yards, ran for 107 more and accounted for five touchdowns last week. But maybe Durant's upset of Brandon can lead to new momentum.

Lennard (0-8) at Leto (0-7)

Last week: Armwood beat Lennard 49-6; Leto lost 42-7 to Middleton.

Why you should go: To see one of these two teams do something neither has done since 2011 — win a game. Both teams probably have been pointing at this game all year.

Seffner Christian (6-1) at Winter Haven All Saints' Academy (1-6), 7 p.m.

Last week: Seffner Christian defeated Windermere Prep 47-42; All Saint's lost to Montverde Academy 49-0.

Why you should go: Caleb Newman, in his first year as the Crusaders' QB, is second on the team in touchdowns (7) and rushing yards (481) behind Robbie Shell. Newman has also tossed 13 touchdown passes against just one interception.


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