Week 9 is here and that means a ton of important games. District matchups are on tap for Friday night all around Florida and here are some big games that you should take notice of.
Here are five matchups I will be keeping an eye on.
Tampa Bay Tech (6-1) at Durant (7-1)
This is a great matchup between two Class 7A-District 9 squads. Both teams have clinched playoff spots, but the winner takes the district crown.
For the visiting Titans, the lone blemish on their record is a loss to Armwood. Tampa Bay Tech will be ready to go offensively whether it is junior Michael Penix Jr. or senior Trent Wyatt. This defense is allowing just 10.1 points per game as junior Jonathan King (5 sacks) and senior Rejai Anderson (2 interceptions) lead the group.
Durant has been nearly flawless since losing its season opener at Hillsborough 17-7. The Cougars have allowed just 29 points over the past seven games, all wins. Junior quarterback Carlton Potter has accounted for 18 offensive touchdowns (17 passing, 1 rushing). Seniors Christopher Gay and Grey Wentz each have three picks.
Series history: Tampa Bay Tech has won the last two matchups including a 28-0 shutout last season.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Tech 27, Durant 20
Wesley Chapel (7-0) at Zephyrhills (5-2)
A lot is on the line is this one. Zephyrhills must win to stay alive. If River Ridge wins over Anclote, the Bulldogs are out of the playoffs or if they simply lose to visiting Wesley Chapel. Both River Ridge and Wesley Chapel are 5-0 in 5A-8 play.
For Wesley Chapel, it has been the Jacob Thomas show. The senior quarterback has 11 touchdowns (eight passing, three rushing) and no interceptions. Out of the backfield, junior backs Dexter Leverett and Malik Melvin have 13 scores combined. Christian Austin leads the defense with 5.5 sacks.
Zephyrhills has an athletic junior quarterback in Charles Harrison III. He has 22 touchdowns for the Bulldogs (17 passing, 5 rushing). Sophomore receiver Tre’Pavis Mobley has a team-best nine touchdown receptions.
Series history: The Bulldogs have won five straight in this series including a 40-28 victory a year ago.
Prediction: Wesley Chapel 35, Zephyrhills 24
East Lake (5-0) at Pinellas Park (4-2)
A win at Pinellas Park and a St. Pete win over Countryside would give East Lake the 7A-10 district crown.
The undefeated Eagles are led by senior quarterback Tyler Rupe, who has 12 touchdown passes. Senior Bryce Miller has caught 10 of them. The defense has 11 sacks on the season led by Jake Castle and Joshua Fletcher, two apiece.
For Pinellas Park, they started off 4-0, but have lost to Lakewood and St. Pete the past two weeks. This is a must win game for Zamari Maxwell and company if they want to have a chance at the postseason.
Series history: East Lake has owned the Patriots in this series, winning the last nine games overall.
Prediction: East Lake 30, Pinellas Park 20
Hillsborough (7-0) at Brandon (3-4)
A win for the Terriers would not only keep them undefeated but it would clinch them a 6A-7 playoff spot. That would set up a battle for the district championship against Armwood in the season finale next Friday.
Hillsborough is going to lean on a three-headed backfield in Duran Bell Jr. (10 touchdowns), Drequan McCullough and Russell Booth (4 touchdowns each). With sophomore quarterback Tyler Thomas out with an ankle injury, senior Caleb Youngblood will fill in once again. Senior Zachary Carter and junior Ken Montgomery are two big time athletes for this defense.
Brandon will need Tyrek Bell (2 interceptions) and Larry Anderson (4 touchdowns) to have monster nights to have a chance to hang around.
Series history: Brandon won the first ever matchup between the two schools last season, 13-6.
Prediction: Hillsborough 24, Brandon 10
Berkeley Prep (4-2) at Lake Highland Prep (6-1)
This may not be a district game, but both schools want to win. Berkeley Prep has senior running back Gordon Stetson (13 total touchdowns) who continues to do everything and more for the Buccaneers offense. For the Highlanders, juniors, quarterback Elijah Lucas and running back Devyn Castor are the pulse for this team.
Series history: Berkeley Prep has won two in a row including a 24-23 edge in 2012
Prediction: Lake Highland Prep 24, Berkeley Prep 17
Other games to keep an eye on:
CCC (6-1) at Admiral Farragut (3-2)
Plant (7-0) at Freedom (3-4)
Braden River (5-1) at Palmetto (6-1)
Northside Christian (6-1) at Jordan Christian (5-1)
CAI (4-2) at Cambridge Christian (6-0)
Countryside (4-2) at St. Pete (5-1)
Mitchell (4-2) at Sunlake (6-1)
Largo (3-4) at Clearwater (6-1)
2016 season prediction record: 26-4
What games will you be watching? Comment below with any predictions or thoughts.
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.