Tampa Bay Area High School Football Region Final capsules (7 games)
The Tampa Bay area could see as many as seven teams clinch berths in their respective state semifinals. We have game capsules for each game involving Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco programs. All games are slated to kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
Wharton (9-2) at Tampa Bay Tech (12-0): This game is one in a series of rematches taking place throughout the Tampa Bay area and the Wildcats and Titans bring two tenacious defenses to the table. The Wildcats shutdown nationally recruited running back Richard Young and Lehigh, 36-0. Tampa Bay Tech quarterback Xavione Washington has been playing some of his best football as of late, now with season totals of 1,932 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Hillsborough (10-2) at Jesuit (12-0): Like we said, there’s plenty of rematches from the regular season. Jesuit got the best of Hillsborough, 28-7, during the regular season. Now, after playoff blowout wins over Boca Ciega (50-0) and Bradenton Braden River (49-9), the Tigers are rolling. Jesuit quarterback Luke Knight has thrown for 1,818 yards and 23 touchdowns and running back Joquez Smith has rushed for 1,541 yards and scored 21 touchdowns. The Terriers will be playing their third straight playoff game after picking up wins at Pinellas Park (33-27) and Sumner (28-7).
Sebring (8-3) at Clearwater (11-1): Clearwater has had an easy time in the first two of rounds of the playoffs, but the region final figures to be the toughest test since Lakeland in the season opener. The Blue Streaks will enter Jack White Stadium with a balanced offense led by signal caller Cameron Kimbrell (927 yards, 10 touchdowns) and running back Travis Kerney (1,001 yards, 12 touchdowns). They are countered by Clearwater quarterback Aidan MacLean, who has tossed a Pinellas County record 41 touchdown passes.
Clewiston (8-2) at Lakewood (10-2): The Spartans pulled off a 27-12 win over the Glades Central Raiders last Friday, but now have a tough Clewiston Tigers group coming into town. The Tigers have a very efficient passing attack led by senior Zomarion Harper, who has thrown for 1,429 yards, 15 touchdowns and just one interception. On the other side, Lakewood quarterback Anthony Colandrea has had a very good season, tossing 24 touchdowns and 2,748 yards.
Clearwater Central Catholic (8-3) at Berkeley Prep (10-0): Another one of the four area rematches. The Buccaneers were the victorious team in the first meeting. Berkeley Prep won 35-21 and have done it all year long behind a tough rushing attack and stout defense. Dominick Ciao’s bunch is allowing an average of 9.2 points per game and scoring 40 points a contest. CCC’s defense will have its work cut out stopping running backs Xavier Townsend (950 yards, 16 touchdowns) and Travis Bates (1,307 yards, 16 touchdowns).
Zephyrhills Christian Academy (9-2) at Orlando Christian Prep (9-1): This game is another rematch from the regular season. ZCA needs a big game from running back Dontrevius Jackson (1,803 yards, 18 touchdowns) in order to clinch the school’s first-ever state semifinal berth. Senior Adrian Miller III is filling in at quarterback for the injured starter, freshman Jaycee Nixon.
Northside Christian (7-2) at Naples First Baptist Academy (9-1): The Mustangs hosted a team from Naples in the region semifinals and now will make the trip down to southwest Florida against First Baptist Academy. Eighth grader Will Griffin has played a tremendous first season at the helm, throwing for 2,232 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has set himself up to be a potential great that could break school and county records.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.