The first round of the high school football playoffs are in the books. This is where history happens for these kids and where the better teams stand out from the lesser opponents.
Round 2 is always fun and there are a ton of awesome matchups around the state of Florida. Here are 13 games that I’ll take a look at and give you my prediction.
Dr. Phillips (9-2) at Sarasota Riverview (9-1)
Dr. Phillips handled high flying Manatee 39-7 while Riverview smoked Olympia 56-25. Both of these teams have been in these situations time and time again. The Panthers may be viewed as the underdogs in this one, but I think they go into a tough environment and pull off the upset in this region semifinal.
Prediction: Dr. Phillips 31, Riverview 27
Lakeland (8-2) at Plant (10-0)
Plant completely dominated Winter Haven in a 59-6 win, forcing a running clock last week. Lakeland fought hard and went onto to win handily in the end 43-20 over Wiregrass Ranch. The Dreadnaughts are built for the playoffs, but the Panthers are simply too talented on both sides of the ball. Look for Plant to move forward with a victory in this region semifinal.
Prediction: Plant 38, Lakeland 17
Tampa Bay Tech (9-1) at East Lake (8-1)
I’ve gone back and forth on this matchup too many times for this region semifinal. The Titans had to go to overtime last Friday to beat St. Petersburg 48-45 while East Lake shut down Durant 14-7. I like both teams, but I have to go with defense in this one and the Eagles have just that.
Prediction: East Lake 23, Tampa Bay Tech 14
Venice (10-0) at Braden River (9-1)
Braden River went down to Gulf Coast and won 37-21 while Venice hosted South Ft. Myers and smashed them 56-0. Both teams are solid from start to finish, but the Indians are the group to like in this one just a little more. Dual-threat quarterback Bryce Carpenter is fun to watch. Expect his best efforts here in this region semifinal.
Prediction: Venice 30, Braden River 24
Armwood (10-1) at Lake Gibson (10-0)
Armwood and Lake Gibson have something in common, they both beat Hillsborough, one of the top defenses around. The Braves beat Hillsborough last week in the region quarterfinal. Armwood defeated Auburndale 41-20. This is a tough region semifinal matchup for the Hawks on the road, but I think this is where we see quarterback Devin Black and his offense perform above and beyond its expectations.
Prediction: Armwood 27, Lake Gibson 21
Clearwater (10-1) at Charlotte (10-0)
Clearwater has been a solid team all season long. Last week, they beat Port Charlotte 27-16. The Tornadoes travel to undefeated Charlotte who wasn’t nice to Boca Ciega in a 35-6 victory. Clearwater will have to force turnovers defensively to have a prayer. They’ve done that this season, but on the road in a crazy environment, I’m not sure what will happen. I give the slight edge to the home team in this region semifinal.
Prediction: Charlotte 31, Clearwater 27
Jefferson (7-3) at Jesuit (10-0)
The Dragons snuck by Lakewood 34-33 last week while Jesuit made Gibbs angry in a 64-12 win. Malik Davis, Travell Harris and Danny Boon are too much to slow down offensively. Jefferson has plenty of athletes, but this group isn’t as disciplined as the Tigers. Look for Jesuit to win by at least two scores in the region semifinal.
Prediction: Jesuit 35, Jefferson 17
Clay (8-3) at Baker County (9-1)
Clay has to travel to Baker County which is a small population but they bring the noise. The Blue Devils beat North Marion 41-38 last week while Baker County crushed Belleview 35-7. Look for the Wildcats to continue their run with another win in this region semifinal.
Prediction: Baker County 42, Clay 24
Raines (7-2) at Bolles (10-0)
A rematch of last year’s region final, Bolles is looking for revenge against rival Raines. The Bulldogs won earlier this season 24-23 in a fun one. Bolles shut out East Gadsden 40-0 last week while Raines beat Walton 52-14. This is going to be a tight and physical game. Look for Bolles to get its revenge.
Prediction: Bolles 30, Raines 24
Clearwater Central Catholic (9-1) at Melbourne Central Catholic (10-0)
For anyone who thinks CCC won’t be amped up for this one is crazy. The Marauders have invested so much time for this moment. They beat John Carroll Catholic 42-17 last week while Melbourne Central Catholic beat Cardinal Mooney 56-34. Melbourne won’t be friendly to CCC, but I see the Marauders being that team who comes in and wins this region final.
Prediction: CCC 38, MCC 31
Berkeley Prep (8-2) at Tampa Catholic (6-3)
Tampa Catholic handled Trinity Christian 25-10 last week while Berkeley Prep went to First Academy and won 28-14. These two teams are rivals and are always looking to one-up each other. Berkeley Prep is red hot while the Crusaders are as well. If the Buccaneers were at home in this region final I’d give them the slight edge. But I have to go with TC. Their offense is too dynamic.
Prediction: Tampa Catholic 31, Berkeley Prep 20
Cambridge Christian (9-0) at Northside Christian (9-2)
Down in 2A, this is an awesome matchup between two loaded teams. Cambridge Christian beat Northside Christian 19-14 in last year’s region semifinal as the Lancers went all the way to the state title game. The Mustangs want to make a deep run with Purdue commit quarterback Griffin Alstott playing his best football. If Cambridge wants to keep this going, they’ll need to feed junior running back Andrew Cunningham endlessly.
Prediction: Cambridge Christian 30, Northside Christian 23
Bayshore Christian (8-2) at Cornerstone Christian (6-1)
Last but not least, I’ll preview the FCSA quarterfinal between Tampa Bayshore Christian and Gainesville Cornerstone Christian. Both teams won their last three games. Bayshore Christian is the better of the two teams even on the road. Expect the Faith Warriors to get the victory.
Prediction: Bayshore Christian 42, Cornerstone Christian 30
2016 season prediction record: 49-7
Read the full previews of these five games:
5A Region Semifinal Preview: Jefferson at Jesuit
5A Region Semifinal Preview: Clay at Baker County
4A Region Final Preview: Raines at Bolles
3A Region Final Preview: Berkeley Prep at Tampa Catholic
2A Region Final Preview: Cambridge Christian at Northside Christian
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.