Our staffers’ predictions for the first round of the playoffs. All games at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Class 2A, Region 3
No. 6 Zephyrhills Christian at No. 3 Seffner Christian
Rodney Page: Seffner Christian 31-14. The Crusaders have won seven straight and are bringing much more momentum into this game.
Bob Putnam: Seffner Christian 27-13. Having Isaiah Knowles at quarterback makes all the difference in the world for the Crusaders.
No. 5 Keswick Christian at No. 4 Admiral Farragut
Rodney Page: Admiral Farragut 45-20. Both teams can put up points but the Blue Jackets appear to have the better defense.
Bob Putnam: Admiral Farragut 30-17. The defending state semifinalist Blue Jackets will use their playoff experience to their advantage.
Class 3A, Region 3
No. 5 Clearwater Central Catholic at No. 4 Calvary Christian
Rodney Page: CCC 28-24. Experience favors the Marauders, and the Warriors have never beaten CCC.
Bob Putnam: CCC 21-14. The Warriors can certainly pull off the upset. But history is on the Marauders’ side in this rivalry.
Class 4A, Region 3
No. 6 Lemon Bay at No. 3 Tampa Catholic
Rodney Page: Tampa Catholic 42-14. Lemon Bay is 3-7, and the Crusaders are coming off a competitive loss to Jesuit.
Bob Putnam: Tampa Catholic 27-14. The Crusaders simply have more talent — and should prevail.
Class 4A, Region 2
No. 6 Cypress Creek at No. 3 The Villages
Rodney Page: The Villages 32-17. The Buffalo have lost two games by a total of nine points. They aren’t losing to playoff newbie Cypress Creek at home.
Bob Putnam: The Villages 28-7. This could end up being a quick exit for the Coyotes in their first-ever postseason appearance.
Class 5A, Region 3
No. 8 Chamberlain at No. 1 Rockledge
Rodney Page: Rockledge 28-10. The Raiders play good defense and should be able to hold down the Chiefs.
Bob Putnam: Rockledge 24-13. The Chiefs have some momentum and can pull off the upset. But it is not likely.
No. 6 Atlantic at No. 3 River Ridge
Rodney Page: River Ridge 23-21. This could be an upset, but I’ll stick with the Knights and their six-game win streak.
Bob Putnam: River Ridge 14-13. Expect a defensive struggle with the Royal Knights having just enough to get to the next round.
No. 5 Eau Gallie at No. 4 Jesuit
Rodney Page: Jesuit 19-17. Both teams have won seven straight. Going with the Tigers because it’s a tough place to play.
Bob Putnam: Jesuit 24-7. The Tigers are playing their best football at the right time.
Class 5A, Region 2
No. 5 Citrus at No. 4 Nature Coast
Rodney Page: Nature Coast 28-21. The Sharks won three weeks ago. It may be closer this time, but they still come out on top.
Bob Putnam: Nature Coast 17-16. The Sharks win the rematch — barely.
Class 6A, Region 3
No. 5 Port Charlotte at No. 4 Hillsborough
Rodney Page: Port Charlotte 23-19. The Pirates’ lone loss was to a good Palmetto, so they might have enough to win on the road.
Bob Putnam: Hillsborough 21-20. It is so hard to gauge how good teams are in Charlotte County. That could help the Terriers.
Class 6A, Region 2
No. 8 Boca Ciega at No. 1 Gaither
Rodney Page: Gaither 33-14. The Cowboys defense will wear out the Pirates.
Bob Putnam: Gaither 27-20. This could end up being a good matchup. The Cowboys defense will be the difference.
No. 7 Countryside at No. 2 Largo
Rodney Page: Largo 26-20. This is a regular-season rematch. Largo won the first time and is playing well enough to do it again.
Bob Putnam: Largo 21-20. The Packers won the first meeting by 11 points. This one could come down to the final possession.
No. 6 Springstead at No. 3 Lake Minneola
Rodney Page: Springstead 28-24. The Eagles could have (should have?) won when they met in the regular season. They get it done the second time.
Bob Putnam: Lake Minneola 14-13. The Hawks played a tougher schedule to prepare for the postseason.
No. 5 Clearwater at No. 4 Dixie Hollins
Rodney Page: Clearwater 42-28. The Tornadoes have too much firepower.
Bob Putnam: Clearwater 28-26. The Rebels are scrappy and will keep it close.
Class 7A, Region 3
No. 8 East Lake at No. 1 Palm Beach Lakes
Rodney Page: Palm Beach Lakes 38-7. The Rams are undefeated and that won’t change Friday night.
Bob Putnam: Palm Beach Lakes 35-14. Nothing favors the Eagles in what will be a long trip back home.
No. 7 Seminole Ridge at No. 2 Mitchell
Rodney Page: Mitchell 24-7. The Mustangs defense will prove to be too much.
Bob Putnam: Mitchell 28-16. The Mustangs are poised to win a first-round playoff game for the third time in the past five seasons.
No. 6 Pinellas Park at No. 3 Manatee
Rodney Page: Pinellas Park 30-26. Not being a homer here, just think the Patriots offense will show up across the bridge.
Bob Putnam: Manatee 24-21. The Patriots — and Lawrance Toafili — will give the Hurricanes all they can handle but come up short.
Class 7A, Region 2
No. 8 Melbourne at No. 1 Armwood
Rodney Page: Armwood 38-7. The Hawks have state title hopes and aren’t losing to an eight seed.
Bob Putnam: Armwood 28-0. The Hawks record their sixth straight shutout.
No. 7 Wiregrass Ranch at No. 2 Lakeland
Rodney Page: Lakeland 45-7. Poor Wiregrass Ranch gets Lakeland for a fourth straight season. Unfortunately, it ends the same way as the past three.
Bob Putnam: Lakeland 28-7. Same first-round opponent. Same frustrating outcome for the Bulls.
No. 6 Tampa Bay Tech at No. 3 Viera
Rodney Page: Viera 21-17. It will be close, but the home team pulls it out.
Bob Putnam: Tampa Bay Tech 14-10. David Wright and the defense help the Titans prevail in a tight game.
No. 5 Bloomingdale at No. 4 Winter Haven
Rodney Page: Bloomingdale 24-14. The Bulls have played tougher teams and should pull out the road win.
Bob Putnam: Bloomingdale 14-6. The Bulls have the most underrated defense in the bay area. That unit helps Bloomingdale advance in the first round for the second straight season.
Class 8A, Region 2
No. 7 Lennard at No. 2 Orlando Dr. Phillips
Rodney Page: Dr. Phillips 36-12. Lennard had a good season but a road win against this team is too much to ask.
Bob Putnam: Dr. Phillips 28-16. Tough matchup but a good building block for the Longhorns in their first playoff appearance.
No. 6 Riverview at No. 3 Kissimmee Osceola
Rodney Page: Osceola 31-14. The Sharks haven’t played a team this good all season.
Bob Putnam: Osceola 24-13. The Sharks will play ball control to at least stay within striking distance.
No. 5 Newsome at No. 4 Steinbrenner
Rodney Page: Steinbrenner 28-27. The Warriors rebound from last week’s loss, but barely.
Bob Putnam: Steinbrenner. 21-17. Balance on offense will be just enough for the Warriors to make history with their first playoff win.