Clearwater and St. Petersburg arenít taking much momentum into the playoffs, but at least they are playing tonight. Both teams are No. 8 seeds, which means they will be paired against the best team in the bracket.
In the case of Clearwater (6-4), that is North Fort Myers. The Red Knights are 8-0 and have three straight shutouts to end the season. And an interesting note, they are coached by former Florida and Bucs running back Earnest Graham.
The Tornadoes, on the other hand, have lost two straight to rivals Largo and East Lake. That doesnít mean they arenít showing up.
"They are a good team no doubt but they arenít unbeatable," Clearwater coach Don Mesick said. "They donít have playoff experience and we do. We have guys who have been through it before. In order to win we have to play a near perfect game and hope they make mistakes."
St. Petersburg is 6-4 and ended the season with a 38-14 loss to Braden River. The Green Devils get to play at No. 1 seed Venice.
They have been a bit shorthanded this season. Senior defensive back/running back Jalynn Williams, a Florida commit, has been out since the second game of the season against Lakewood with an ankle injury. St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio said Williams has been cleared to play this week but his time may be limited.
"It hurts when you donít have your Division I athlete on the field," Fabrizio said.
Cornerback/running back Anthony Johnson, an Iowa State commit, has missed two midseason games with a knee injury. He is back in the lineup.
Despite the injuries and last weekís loss, Fabrizio said the playoffs are a second chance.
"Itís all about working hard so that you can get in the playoffs," he said. "Once you get there, everybody is equal. Youíve got to prepare yourself like it is another game."
All games 7:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is $8.
No. 6 East River at No. 3 Plant
No. 7 Gaither at No. 2 Viera
No. 5 Wiregrass Ranch at No. 4 Lake Nona
No. 8 St. Petersburg at No. 1 Venice
No. 7 Bloomingdale at No. 2 Tampa Bay Tech
No. 6 Palmetto at No. 3 Pinellas Park
No. 6 Barron Collier at No. 3 Largo
No. 8 Clearwater at No. 1 North Fort Myers
No. 7 Chamberlain at No. 2 Mitchell
No. 8 Sebring at No. 1 Armwood
No. 5 Hillsborough at No. 4 Lake Gibson
No. 6 Jesuit at No. 3 Jefferson
No. 7 Tarpon Springs at No. 2 Lakewood
No. 6 Clay at No. 3 Hernando
No. 7 River Ridge at No. 2 Zephyrhills
No. 8 Nature Coast at No.1 Baker County
No. 4 Tampa Catholic at No. 1 Clearwater Central Catholic
No. 3 Calvary Christian at No. 2 Lakeland Christian
No. 4 Southwest Florida Christian at No. 1 Cambridge Christian
No. 3 Admiral Farragut at No. 2 Indian Rocks Christian
No. 4 Zephyrhills Christian at No. 1 Victory Christian