Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

What's all the fuss about these games?

That's not a trace of resurgent humidity you're feeling in the mid-October air, it's tension. As local prep football goes, tonight is big. Really big. It's the second full week of district competition, and it's not hyperbole to suggest some North Suncoast teams (Land O'Lakes, Hernando) could see their postseason hopes come to fruition or flat-line this very evening. Others (Zephyrhills, Central, Mitchell, Wesley Chapel) wouldn't be mathematically eliminated with a defeat, but the uphill battle they'd face to get back in playoff contention would be of Himalayan proportions. To guide you through this pivotal night, we've provided a synopsis of what we consider tonight's biggest games, with a barometer of their significance.

Very important district game, but not a season-breaker for either team

Crucial. Someone's playoff or district title hopes take a serious hit

If this game were a shirt, it would look baggy on Warren Sapp; essentially do or die for one or both teams

District 4A-8

Land O'Lakes at Tarpon Springs

Land O'Lakes, which fell to Springstead two weeks ago, essentially has to win to preserve hope of a 12th consecutive postseason berth. If the Gators were to lose tonight and finish tied with Springstead and Tarpon Springs with 4-2 district records, the Eagles and Spongers would earn the district's two playoff berths because both defeated the Gators. At this stage, we don't see Tarpon and Springstead each finishing with two district losses.

DistricT 3A-8

Zephyrhills at Pasco

This one would matter if there were no district implications. It's Pasco County's oldest rivalry, and Zephyrhills has won the past three meetings. A Pasco win puts the Pirates in excellent position for a playoff berth; Gulf is the only formidable district foe remaining on their schedule. While a loss doesn't dash the Bulldogs' playoff hopes, it makes the Oct. 31 home game against unbeaten Gulf a must-win. District 3A-6

Crystal River at Hernando

For all practical intents, this game is for the district's No. 2 playoff spot. With Citrus and Lecanto still bringing up the rear of this five-team district, Crystal River, Hernando and Nature Coast basically are vying for two playoff spots. We see Nature Coast winning out in the district, and the winner of this game going on to top Citrus and Lecanto to sneak into the postseason.

District 5A-5

Mitchell at Gaither

In a four-team district, every game matters. Quite simply, Mitchell and Wesley Chapel have to defeat at least one of their Hillsborough County district counterparts (Gaither, Wharton) to get into the postseason. Gaither, at 2-3, hasn't bedazzled anyone yet, and the Mustangs are coming off their most prolific offensive showing of the year. This one could be far more interesting than you think.

District 5A-5

Wesley Chapel at Wharton

Why it matters? See Mitchell-Gaither.

District 4A-8

Central at Springstead

Three weeks ago, when Central was 0-2, this matchup didn't appear so dazzling. Now it's one of the few whose stock has actually risen. A Springstead victory gives the Eagles a 2-0 district record and keeps them in excellent playoff position. A Bears triumph, however, propels this district race into mass disarray (and sets off a widespread, joyous roar throughout Land O'Lakes).

What's all the fuss about these games? 10/09/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008 1:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived


    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  2. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity


    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  3. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support


    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  4. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  5. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now


    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.