PLAYOFFS: Tampa Bay High School Football Recap

Hillsborough stared down Sumner High and came out with a 28-7 win, advancing to the school's first region final since 2004. The Terriers will go to Jesuit next week and play for a Class 6A state semifinal berth.

The Tampa Bay area’s top high school football programs flexed up Friday night. 

A week after getting a little roughed up, going from 33 contenders to 15, local teams represented with some big-time performances. 

Grabbing the spotlight was Wharton High. The Wildcats, seeded No. 6 in Class 7A Region 3, traveled south to No. 2 Lehigh Acres Lehigh as a bit of a road dog, but played like absolute champs. Wharton (9-2) jumped the Lightning with 17 points in the second quarter, then went up 30-0 by the end of the thirden route to a 36-0 blowout victory. 

The win sets up an all-Tampa Region 7A-3 showdown, and a rematch, at No. 1 Tampa Bay Tech next week. TBT picked up a big 26-18 semifinal win over No. 4 Palmetto. The Titans led 19-3 heading into the fourth and held off a late Tigers comeback bid. 

TBT went to Wharton on Oct. 22 and beat the Wildcats 21-12. (Check the Tampa Beacon recap here: https://www.tampabeacon.com/sports/football-unbeaten-tampa-bay-tech-hands-wharton-first-loss/article_85aae1a6-33cb-11ec-9187-973eb4c8b8ad.html) 

***(Class 2A Northside Christian gave the Tampa Bay area its comeback win of the night. Scroll down for that) *** 

Speaking of all-Tampa, region-final rematches, there will be one in Region 6A-3, as well, when No. 7 Hillsborough heads to No. 1 Jesuit next week. 

Both teams earned convincing wins Friday night, as Hillsborough went on the road to beat No. 3 Sumner, 28-7, and Jesuit dismantled No. 5 Bradenton Braden River, 49-9. 

Back in Week 4, Jesuit went to Hillsborough and jumped on the Terriers early, earning a 28-7 win. (Check the Tampa Beacon recap on that one, too: https://www.tampabeacon.com/sports/football-quick-starts-propels-jesuit-past-hillsborough/article_1fec746e-1842-11ec-a76f-cf4a52f43c99.html) 

***WE’RE NEW IN HILLSBOROUGH (NOT THE REGION) BUT NOTICE OUR PRESENCE! WE’RE HERE TO STAY*** 

Just sayin 

Anyway, let’s keep going. 

The Class 5A Region 3 final is going to be interesting. No. 1 Clearwater worked No. 5 Nature Coast Tech (40-14) and No. 3 Sebring wiped out No. 7 Gibbs (29-0). Clearwater (11-1) gets to be the host in its first-ever region final appearance against a Blue Streaks team that’s 8-3 and also making its first appearance in the region finals. 

In Class 4A Region 3 No. 1 Lakewood (10-2) took care of business against No. 5 Belle Glades Glades Central. The Spartans went up 7-0 at the half and never trailed before picking up the 27-12 win. Lakewood will host No. 3 Clewiston next week. The Tigers (8-2) beat No. 2 Englewood Lemon Bay (9-1), 42-28. 

Class 3A Region 3 featured three Tampa Bay teams playing in two games, meaning one local season was ending. 

That came when No. 2 Clearwater Central Catholic (8-3) took down No. 6 Tampa Catholic, 31-7. The Mauraders spotted TC a 7-0 lead after one quarter before reeling off 31 straight points. 

CCC will go to unbeated No. 1 Berkeley Prep (10-0) next week after the top-seeded Buccaneers blanked Fort Myers Bishop Verot, 38-0. That’s shutout number five for Berkeley Prep this season. 

In Class 2A, the Tampa Bay area went two for three. 

Region 2A-2 No. 2 Zephyrhills Christian Academy bounced back from an early 7-0 deficit to beat No. 6 Lakeland Victory Christian 24-16. The win gives the Warriors (9-2) a rematch in the region finals against No. 1 Orlando Christian Prep (9-1). ZCA hosted OCP during the last week of the regular season and OCP came away with a 15-12 win. Next week, the rematch is in Orlando. 

There was the potential for a Tampa-on-Tampa Region 2A-3 final, but No. 1 Naples First Baptist Academy (9-1) went to work on No. 4 Seffner Christian, 43-0.

Pinellas stayed in the game, however, with No. 2 Northside Christian (7-2) pulling off a huge second-half comeback against No. 3 Community School of Naples. The Mustangs trailed 21-7 at halftime before storming back to win 32-27.  

CLASS 7A 

No. 1 Tampa Bay Tech 26 
No. 4 Palmetto 18 

No. 6 Wharton 36 
No. 2 Lehigh Acres Lehigh 0 

CLASS 6A 

No. 1 Jesuit 49 
No. 5 Braden River 9 

No. 7 Hillsborough 28 
No. 3 Sumner 7 

CLASS 5A 

No. 1 Clearwater 40 
No. 5 Nature Coast 14 

No. 3 Sebring 29 
No. 7 Gibbs 0 

CLASS 4A  

No. 1 Lakewood 27 
No. 5 Glades Central 12 

CLASS 3A  

No. 1 Berkeley Prep 38 
No. 4 Bishop Verot 0 

No. 2 CCC 31 
No. 6 Tampa Catholic 7 

CLASS 2A 

(Reg. 2) 
No. 2 Zephyrhills Christian 24 
No. 6 Lakeland Victory Christian 16 
 
(Reg. 3) 
No. 2 N-Side Christian 32 
No. 3 Comm. School Naples 27 
 
(Reg. 3) 
No. 1 Naples First Baptist Academy 43 
No. 4 Seffner Christian 0