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Postseason deja vu for eight Tampa Bay high school football teams

One thing is certain in the playoffs under the new format: rematches from the regular season.
Admiral Farragut's Martel Mott takes off after intercepting a pass by Cambridge Christian's Titan Williamson during the teams' Sept. 13 regular-season matchup. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
Published Nov. 12
Updated Nov. 12

Some were blowouts. Others were tight contests. And nearly all the outcomes in these regular-season matchups had playoff implications. Now they get to do it again — this time with even more at stake. Friday’s region semifinals include four rematches locally. Here’s how they stack up:

Class 2A, Region 3

No. 4 Admiral Farragut (8-2) at No. 1 Cambridge Christian (7-3)

Regular season-result: The Lancers atoned for last season’s region final loss by beating the Blue Jackets 27-9. Instead of crumbling under constant pressure, Cambridge Christian applied it. The Lancers recorded six sacks and forced six turnovers. The defense has been stout all season, which has helped keep Cambridge Christian from playing in a lot of shootouts.

Reversal of fortune: After starting 2-3, the Blue Jackets have won five straight. The defense has been stingy, allowing a combined 18 points during that streak. On offense, Admiral Farragut’s Courtney Eubanks could play a key role. The receiver was ejected early on in the first meeting against the Lancers.

Coach’s corner: “It’s never ideal playing a team the second time around. What’s it going to take to beat Admiral Farragut again? A lot more than the first time around.” — Cambridge Christian coach Bob Dare

RELATED: Football: Cambridge Christian 27, Admiral Farragut 9

Class 3A, Region 3

No. 5 Clearwater Central Catholic (8-3) at No. 1 Berkeley Prep (8-1)

Berkeley Prep sophomore Xavier Townsend had a big game against Clearwater Central Catholic in the teams' first meeting this season. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]

Regular-season result: Down 14-7 in the regular-season opener, the Buccaneers rallied thanks to two touchdowns, the last coming with 1:42 remaining to beat the Marauders 21-14. The result not only snapped Clearwater Central Catholic’s 23-game win streak, but marked the first time Berkeley Prep had beaten its rival in the past six meetings. Xavier Townsend, a sophomore, scored a pair of touchdowns for the Buccaneers, including the game winner.

Reversal of fortune: The Marauders started the season 0-2 and were 4-3 at one point. But the losses were either to area teams still alive in the playoffs (Berkeley Prep and Jesuit) or to a national powerhouse (Tennessee’s Brentwood Academy), Those tough games helped CCC prepare for the stretch run. The Marauders have won four straight, including a victory over Fort Lauderdale University, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A at the time. CCC running back Jordan Niles has rushed for at least 150 yards and scored at least two touchdowns in each of the last four games.

Coach’s corner: "Berkeley Prep is the No. 1 seed in our region for a reason. They’re very well-coached, very physical. On offense, we’re both very similar, especially this season. The key is we have to stay just as physical.” — CCC coach Chris Harvey

RELATED: Football: Berkeley Prep 21, Clearwater Central Catholic 14

Class 5A, Region 3

No. 8 Chamberlain (7-4) at No. 1 Jesuit (9-2)

Johnny Walker is one of the stalwarts on a tough Chamberlain defensive line. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

Regular-season result: The Tigers got off to a fast start. Running back Ricky Parks took the handoff on the opening play from scrimmage and raced 70 yards for a touchdown. With the Chiefs intent on stopping the pass, Jesuit relied on its ground game. Parks and Nick Spurlin did the bulk of the work running behind an experienced and physical line. The result was a 24-13 Tigers win that helped them clinch the Class 5A, District 12 title.

Reversal of fortune: The Jesuit loss came in the middle of a three-game losing streak that left Chamberlain at 2-4 and in serious jeopardy of not making the playoffs. Since then, the Chiefs have won five straight, including victories over previously undefeated Steinbrenner in the regular-season finale and No. 1 seed Rockledge in the Class 5A, Region 3 quarterfinals last week. The defensive line, led by Johnny Walker and James Ash, is at full strength. Chamberlain’s offense has also gotten into a rhythm, averaging 28 points per game during its current win streak.

Coach’s corner: “Jesuit is a good, solid, physical team. It’s always a tough matchup. We made a lot of mistakes, had a lot of missed assignments the first time around. We’ve improved so much since then that I expect us to have a much better result.” — Chamberlain coach Jason Lane

RELATED: Football: Jesuit 24, Chamberlain 13

Class 7A, Region 2

Gabriel Akpewero, left, and the Bloomingdale offense will have to find a way to come untracked this time around vs. Armwood. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

No. 5 Bloomingdale (9-2) at No. 1 Armwood (10-1)

Regular-season result: The Hawks defense allowed just 22 yards in the first half and one first down the entire game in a 28-0 victory. Charles Montgomery, who transferred from Bloomingdale in the offseason, scored three touchdowns for Armwood (two receiving, one rushing). The game was chippy. Two Hawks — running back James Smiley and receiver Agiye Hall — were each ejected and had to serve suspensions during the season. The shutout was a precursor of things to come for Armwood. In all, the Hawks have recorded seven shutouts this season, including six straight.

Reversal of fortune: The Bulls’ only two losses this season were to Armwood and defending Class 7A state champion Lakeland. In both games, the Bulls failed to score, so the offense has to do its part in order to pull off the upset. Defensively, Bloomingdale is tough. In the past three games, all wins, the Bulls have allowed a combined 200 yards of offense. Jamarion Neal has been a force with 98 tackles and 6.5 sacks. The Bulls enter the rematch shorthanded with two college recruits — running back Dominic Gonnella (North Dakota State) and defensive lineman Quinton McCoy (Illinois) — both sidelined with injuries.

Coach’s corner: “It’s always tough to beat a team twice in a season. We were in it the first time. Two big plays we let up were the difference. We’ve got to eliminate that, and if we come up with one or two big plays of our own on offense, then we have a chance.” — Bloomingdale coach Jake Coulson

RELATED: Football: Armwood 28, Bloomingdale 0

Region semifinals

All games 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Class 2A, Region 3

• No. 3 Seffner Christian at No. 2 Northside Christian

• No. 4 Admiral Farragut at No. 1 Cambridge Christian

Class 3A, Region 3

• No. 5 Clearwater Central Catholic at No. 1 Berkeley Prep

Class 4A, Region 3

• No. 4 Clewiston at No. 1 Lakewood

• No. 3 Tampa Catholic at No. 2 Delray Beach American Heritage

Class 5A, Region 3

• No. 8 Chamberlain at No. 4 Jesuit

Class 5A, Region 2

• No. 4 Nature Coast at No. 1 Orlando Jones

Class 6A, Region 2

• No. 5 Clearwater at No. 1 Gaither

• No. 3 Lake Minneola at No. 2 Largo

Class 7A, Region 3

• No. 3 Manatee at No. 2 Mitchell

Class 7A, Region 2

• No. 5 Bloomingdale at No. 1 Armwood

• No. 6 Tampa Bay Tech at No. 2 Lakeland

Class 8A, Region 2

• No. 4 Steinbrenner at No. 1 Sarasota Riverview

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Prep's Grace Langston (50), left, works to disrupt a shot attempt by Wesley Chapel's Mia Nicholson (12) during the game on Friday. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes
    The Wildcats lead early, then hang on to improve to 5-0 on the season.
  2. Cambridge Christian coach Bob Dare and wife Beth at the 2015 state championship in Orlando. BOB DARE  |  Special to the Times
    The longtime Lancers coach, who led the program to the state title game in 2015, will no longer be a coach or teacher at the school.
  3. River Ridge senior Brandi Willard is among the area leaders in points per game so far this season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Our offensive and defensive leaders for Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties.
  4. Academy of the Holy Names senior Madison Kurtz, right, gets congratulated by sophomore Nicole Sakre after scoring a goal in a 4-0- victory over Steinbrenner early this season. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The Jaguars, who came up short at state a year ago, expect to remain energized and focused all the way to a title.
  5. Jalen Cooper is among a group of seniors on the Anclote roster who have been playing together since middle school. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    A three-point loss in last season’s playoffs spark the Sharks to strive for more.
  6. Seffner Christian doesn't shy away from tough competition, taking on a team that reached state last season in its season opener. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    The defending state finalist Crusaders rally from a 20-point deficit only to watch host Lakewood Ranch sink a free throw as time expires.
  7. Kanesha Hall, the first 1,000-point scorer in school history, on the court during Monday's practice at Northeast. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    The senior recently broke the 1,000-point barrier to become the school’s all-time leading scorer in girls basketball.
  8. Marcellus Crutchfield of Tampa Catholic runs down the court  during the Class 5A state semifinals last season in Lakeland. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    With a brutal schedule this season, will Tampa Catholic’s reign at the top last long?
  9. Carrollwood Day, an annual state contender, remains one of the top teams in Tampa Gay. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Eight teams in our top 10 are undefeated.
  10. Lakewood's Artez Hooker (8) consoles Cornelius Mckenzie (10) after the Spartans fall 9-7 in the Class 4A state semifinals to Miami Booker T. Washington. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    One thing is certain: South Florida remains a hurdle for teams all over the state to clear.
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