Class 6A has shaken out to be one of the funnest classes to watch in the playoffs. Which of the eight teams standing this week survive to see the state semifinals this week? Here is our preview of all of the Class 6A Regional Finals.
Ed White (10-2) at Choctawhatchee (10-2)
Last Week’s Results: Choctaw def. Navarre 35-14, Ed White def. St. Augustine 26-14
The Skinny: Choctaw spotted Navarre a 14-0 lead and then rattled off 35 in a row to advance to the Elite 8 for the second straight year. Choctaw averages 36 points per game and lives on taking advantage of other teams mistakes, the Indians mojo is blocking punts, scoop and scoring on kickoffs, blocking field goals, picking off passes, so ball control and security is key for Ed White. When tailback Taylor Thomas went out early with a injury last week, seldom used fullback Brent McGlashon and fellow tailback Jay Davis carried the Commanders offensively. All three will be needed to control the clock and keep the Indians guessing. A stingy Commanders defense featuring safety Justice Johnson, safety Isaiah Belton and lineman Mytrel Denson, has allowed ten points or less in seven of its twelve games and only one opponent to score over 17 points.
Looking Ahead: Winner host the Gainesville/Armwood winner in Class 6A State Semifinal
Prediction: Ed White
Gainesville (7-5) at Armwood (12-0)
Last Week’s Results: Gainesville def. Sunlake 27-19, Armwood def. Venice 42-14
The Skinny: These two are very familiar having met twice in the playoffs in 2011 and 2012. The winner went on to play for a state title both years, with Armwood winning in 2011 and Gainesville winning in 2012. Don’t let the Hurricanes record fool you, four of the five losses were to playoff teams: Columbia, Madison County, Lincoln and Wakulla. The key matchup can a Gainesville offense featuring quarterback Caelen Christian (2262 yards, 23 TDs), tailback Demari Medley (783 yards, 4 TDs), utility player Ahmed Ivey (310 rushing, 12 TDs, 413 receiving, 4 TDs) and wide receiver Dock Luckie (689 yards, 9 TDs), score on a Armwood defense which has posted nine shut outs and only given up 54 points. Stopping an offense, featuring quarterback Noah Johnson (1206 yards, 21 TDs, 3 INTs, 603 yards, 11 TDs), tailback Cailin Holloway (669 yards, 11 TDs) and wide receiver Cordell Pimenta (399 yards, 11 TDs), which has outscored its opponents 534-51 will be a tough task for the Hurricanes defense.
Looking Ahead: Winner would travel to Ed White/Choctaw winner in Class 6A state semifinal.
Mainland (12-0) at South Fort Myers (10-2)
Last Week’s Results: Mainland def. Edgewater 30-28, South Fort Myers def. Winter Haven 41-23
The Skinny: Through 11 games No. 1 ranked Mainland had looked unbeatable every week until Friday. Edgewater jumped on Mainland early 21-0 and held a 21-0 halftime lead, before the Bucs rallied for 28 in a row to lead 28-21 in the fourth. Tied at 28-all, the
Bucs defense, which has 5 shutouts and held all but three opponents to under 17 points, bailed them out forcing a game winning safety with .27 left in the game. Sophomore quarterback Denzel Houston (2409 yards, 29 TDs, 7 INTs, 462 rushing, 7 TDs), tailback Adrian Killings Jr. (999 yards, 14 TDs), receivers Kaylo Hannah (377 yards, 10 TDs), Wilfred Taylor (820 yards, 6 TDs) and Will Collins (560 yards, 5 TDs) lead the Bucs. Adam Hamilton (112 tackles), Marcus Bronson (100 tackles, 20 sacks) and Kyle Oliver (92 tackles, 5 sacks) lead a defense which has accumulated 70 sacks and 17 interceptions. South Fort Myers won’t need much motivation for this one as this a rematch of a 2013 regional final which the Bucs won. The Wolfpack are led by quarterback Keith Smith (1337 yards, 13 TDs, 3 INTs), receiver Willie Johnson (706 yards,, 6 TDs) and the tailback trio of Noel Penn, Kelsey Dawson and E’quan Dorris, who have combined for 1500 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Winner hosts Central/Heritage winner in Class 6A state semifinals.
Miami Central (11-1) at Palm Bay Heritage (8-3)
Last Week’s Results: Central def. Hallandale 35-19, Heritage def. Naples 30-28
The Skinny: Central ranked No. 15 in national polls continues to show its still the top dog. The Rockets mojo of running the ball, controlling the clock and playing stellar defense continues to work each week. Tailbacks Anthony Jones (156 yards) and Cedric Miller (145 yards) were a work load in the come from behind win over Hallandale. Trailing 19-7 at halftime, Central linebacker Marquise Couch recovered two fumbles both of which led to scores. The Rockets defense has been on a roll posting four shut outs and holding seven opponents to 21 points or less. It’s no secret what Heritage is going to do offensively, run it down its opponents throats, except most teams haven’t figured out how to stop it. The Rockets defense will be tested in trying to stop the three headed monster of junior Josh Gaines (1228 yards, 10 TDs), sophomore Lasedrick King (1024 yards, 10 TDs) and junior tailback Daeshawn Mills (1319 yards, 14 TDs), who scorched Naples for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Looking Ahead: Winner travels to Mainland/South Fort Myers winner in Class 6A state semifinals.
Prediction: Miami Central