For Jesuit, all eyes have been on a state title since last season’s 28-14 loss to Bishop Moore in the state semifinal round.
The Tigers (11-0) have blown past Gibbs and Jefferson in the first two rounds, combining for 106 points. Up next for Jesuit is a visit from Immokalee (8-4) in Friday’s Class 5A region final.
The Indians beat Ft. Myers Dunbar 28-6 soundly last week and have scored 70 points this postseason.
Jesuit is always a prepared team but nothing is a given this deep into the playoffs.
“Well around this time of the year, every team here on out is going to be good, so we are not taking any one for granted,” Jesuit senior quarterback Danny Boon said. “We have to focus on the little things and just execute.”
The Tigers have so many weapons on offense including senior running back Malik Davis and senior athlete Travell Harris. The two players can change a game at any second.
“Malik and Travell have been playing some of their best games recently,” Boon said. “All over the field, they are the sparks on this team anytime a play is needed to be made you can count on them to make it.
“They’re not the only two. The team is giving it all they got because we don’t want that same feeling we had last year coming off that loss in the semis. So everyone is doing everything in their power to play their best. We are all on the same mission and playing selfless football.”
Harris has a touchdown in each playoff game and an interception. The two-way starter makes plays wherever he lines up. He says he truly loves the offensive scheme that Matt Thompson and his coaching staff has implemented.
The guy who attracts all the attention is Florida commit Malik Davis. He has 467 yards and seven touchdowns in the postseason alone with 31 scores in total this year.
“The offense has kicked into another gear because at this point we know that we are facing good teams and we have to put up points,” Harris said.
The Tigers offense is averaging just north of 48 points per game, but Boon says the team has not peaked yet.
“At 11-0, we are very comfortable with the way we are playing but of course there are things that we can fix,” he said. “We have yet to put together and play a full complete game.”
Defensively, Jesuit has allowed only 90 points in 11 games this season averaging a little over eight points per game.
The coaches have been preaching to leave everything on the field this week. Harris wants everyone to stick to the basics and execute.
Junior linebacker Braden Gilby is a hard-hitting linebacker that battles every week. He says the Tigers are planning to run their defense and do what they do best.
Home has been kind to the Tigers over the past four seasons. Jesuit owns a 22-6 record in that span. Gilby called the pride factor a big deal in front of their home crowd while Harris said it is an awesome feeling to “do what we do on our home field.”
The fans as a whole are called the “Blue Tide.”
“Home field advantage is a big factor especially late in the playoffs,” Boon said. “You always want to protect the house or in our case ‘defend the den.’ The ‘Blue Tide’ is that 12th man in the stands and they are always going crazy and uplifting the team.”
For the visiting Indians, they’ll feature two highly talented junior running backs in Fred Green (21 touchdowns) and Malcom Jackson (9 touchdowns). Junior wide receiver Shedro Louis leads all Immokalee pass catchers with nine scores.
Harris says he feels like a lot of people have doubted Jesuit. He wants to prove them all wrong and win a state title.
“Our mind set is to leave it all on the field,” Harris said. “All we want is the win because at this point it’s either win or go home. A win is what we want and nothing less.”
To this point, it has looked almost impossible to slow down either Davis or Harris. With Boon playing sound football and progressing through his reads, the Tigers offense is firing on all cylinders.
On defense, Jesuit will have to deal with the Indians backs all night long. They’ve been up to the task before and I expect it to be more of the same on Friday night. The home team has the edge in this one.
Photo credit: Jesuit Tampa FL
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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