TAMPA, FL – Tampa Catholic plays host to Jacksonville-Trinity Christian on Friday night in the Class 3A State Semifinals.
Trinity Chrisitan (12-0) has captured two consecutive state titles and are looking to take down the Crusaders for the second time in three years in the semifinal round. Tampa Catholic fell to Trinity 20-11 in 2013.
The Crusaders (10-2) are a perfect 7-0 this season at home with their two losses coming on the road at Clearwater Central Catholic and Jesuit. Tampa Catholic has outscored their opponents in the postseason by 77 points. In comparison, Trinity Christian has scored 100 points this postseason and has only allowed three points.
This should be a fierce battle until the end with so many playmakers on both sides of the ball for Tampa Catholic and Trinity Christian. Here are three players from both teams to watch in Friday night’s state semifinal between Trinity Christian and Tampa Catholic.
At 6’3″, 200 lbs this kid can do it all on offense and defense. The No. 1 target in the Crusaders passing attack, Craig has a team-high 13 receiving touchdowns along with two rushing scores. The senior has scored a touchdown in all 12 games this season.
Craig also has six interceptions in which he’s returned two for touchdowns giving him 17 total touchdowns on the season. When given the chance he’s a dangerous return man (9 returns on the year). Watch out for Craig all night long in his most important game of his prep career.
The senior defensive end has 9.5 sacks this season along with 12.5 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. At 6’3″, 203 lbs the North Carolina commit seems to make a play every game.
Ross has one defensive touchdown on the year. Expect him to be flying around all night in this one. He’s a guy Tampa Catholic has to slow down if they want to be able to sustain drives.
If you know a thing or to about Tampa Catholic football, then you know that junior running back Devan Barrett is really really good. At 6’1″, 195 lbs he also suits up for the Crusader basketball team.
With 1,738 rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns this kid has proven week in and week out that he’s a force to be reckoned with. He also has a receiving score giving him 20 touchdowns on the year. Barrett has scored a touchdown in all but two games this season, he should have a big stat line in this one.
With 25 touchdown passes and only five interceptions this season, senior quarterback Billy Cobb has really shined for the Conquerors. He’s only thrown picks in three games this season with three of the five coming back in the first game against Trinity Catholic.
Cobb is smooth on his throws and has a knack to find the open more often than not with his 18 yards per completion average. At 6’1″, 200 lbs he’s a lot to take in for Tampa Catholic’s defense.
The junior quarterback has been very effective in his first season under center after transferring from Wesley Chapel. Sessums is completing 67 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions to show for it.
He also has two rushing scores. At 5’11”, 175 lbs he’s not the biggest guy, but he gets the job done with his smarts and grittiness in the pocket. Sessums has a big task ahead of him against a very athletic Trinity Christian pass rushing group.
The senior back committed to Auburn in 2013 and has been one of the best options out of the Conquerors backfield since. Buie has six rushing touchdowns on the season and will look to find the end zone on Friday night.
Buie has to be slowed down if Tampa Catholic wants any chance of winning this game. He’s only 5’8″, but at 182 lbs he’s strong and can fend off defenders often.
Note: The winner will play either Clearwater Central Catholic or American Heritage in the state championship next Saturday at 1:07 p.m. at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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