The second round of the playoffs is almost here and there are some interesting match-ups this week. Which Class 8A teams are the hungriest to compete in next week’s regional finals for a trip to the state semifinals? We tell you who we think will be advancing beyond tomorrow night.
Lake Mary (11-0) at First Coast (11-0)
Last Week’s Results: Lake Mary def. Flagler Palm Coast, 43-30; First Coast def. DeLand, 34-19
The Skinny: First Coast got challenged early in the game last week by DeLand, before pulling away later in the game. However, for Lake Mary a shootout ensued with Flagler Palm Coast, but the Rams seized the victory and now have to go on the road this week. The biggest challenge facing Lake Mary to pull an upset is be being able to stop the passing attack the Buccaneers will issue out with QB De’Andre Johnson leading the way. However, First Coast could be on the short end of the stick if Lake Mary gets going early and First Coast is unable to respond to it.
Looking Ahead: If Lake Mary wins, they would host the winner of the Apopka/West Orange game. If First Coast wins, they would host the regional final against the winner of the Apopka/West Orange game.
Prediction: First Coast
Apopka (7-4) at West Orange (11-0)
Last Week’s Results: Apopka def. Oviedo, 41-34; West Orange def. Timber Creek, 42-21
The Skinny: West Orange captured their first playoff win in the school’s 40-year history and is now starting to receive some national attention. For the Warriors, they must now take care of business and that is facing Apopka at home for the second time this season. The challenge won’t be easy as it was the first time around and this will likely prove to be another shootout once again. Apopka, as we have seen, can get hot in the playoffs and this is the time of year you have to keep their eye on them. The thing that goes against the Blue Darters is being able to keep pace with challenging teams and that has been an issue this season.
Looking Ahead: If Apopka wins, they would travel to the winner of the Lake Mary/First Coast game. If West Orange wins, they would travel to the winner of the Lake Mary/First Coast game.
Prediction: West Orange
Plant (10-1) at Dr. Phillips (11-0)
Last Week’s Results: Plant def. Boone, 29-7; Dr. Phillips def. Bloomingdale, 24-21
The Skinny: This game will be a test for both teams as both have been called into question among the national ranks for strength of schedule this year. The best team Plant played might not be Lowndes, GA after all, which was on the schedule to help make it the best game this season. Instead Lowndes missed the playoffs, making Bloomingdale, likely at this point the best they have played. If we can say that, look at just how close Bloomingdale came to knocking off Dr. Phillips last week. The Panthers have skirted by some close games this season, but if we look at this entire match-up, it is a toss up on paper.
Looking Ahead: If Plant wins, they will host the winner of the Manatee/Vero Beach game. If Dr. Phillips wins, they would host if Manatee wins or would travel to Vero Beach if Vero Beach wins.
Vero Beach (11-0) at Manatee (10-1)
Last Week’s Results: Vero Beach def. St. Petersburg, 35-28; Manatee def. Fort Pierce Central, 28-20
The Skinny: Both teams had close games against quality first round opponents last week and both teams could be in line to have a tight battler of their own this week. Vero Beach has been tested through thick and thin this season having to battle back in some games, but the offense has been totally potent for the Indians. Same could be said for Manatee, which has rode a wave of sucess among players that haven’t gotten as much recruiting attention as they have had in previous years. Overall, this game likely won’t be decided until very late in the fourth quarter.
Looking Ahead: If Vero Beach wins it will have to travel to Plant if they win or will play at home against Dr. Phillips if they win. If Manatee wins they will travel to the winner of the Plant/Dr. Phillips game.