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PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Class 5A filled with interesting matchups for Regional Quarterfinals

Cardinal Gibbons travels to Jones for one of the best matchups to open the Class 5A playoffs. (PHOTO CREDIT: @GibbonsFootball)

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Class 5A is filled with very interesting matchups from the Panhandle all the way to South Florida for the Regional Quarterfinals. Here are our previews and predictions for Class 5A.




When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Conqueror Stadium, Jacksonville
Records: Bolles, 8-2; Trinity Christian, 7-3
Rankings: Bolles ranked No. 5 in final AP Poll, unranked in Joe Pinkos’ Power Rankings; Trinity Christian ranked No. 4 in final AP Poll, ranked No. 8 in Joe Pinkos’ Power Rankings
Last Playoff Appearance: Bolles: 2016; Trinity Christian: 2016
Quick Hits:
Trinity Christian won the first meeting back in Week 4 before having to forfeit the win to Bolles due to ineligible player … the meeting back in Week 4 was the first meeting in 17 years and now they meet for the second time in the same season … keep an eye on senior QB Josiah Johnson for the visiting Bulldogs who has thrown for over 1,200 yards so far this season … for the host Conquerors, keep an eye on quarterback Austin Thomas to lead things as the Conquerors start their quest for a five-peat in state championships.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Trinity Christian by 10 Prediction: Trinity Christian 34, Bolles 20


When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Chiles High School, Tallahassee
Records: Ponte Vedra, 7-3; Godby 9-1
Rankings: Ponte Vedra unranked in final AP Poll, unranked in Joe Pinkos’ Power Rankings; Godby ranked No. 6 in final AP Poll, ranked No. 10 in Joe Pinkos’ Power Rankings
Last Playoff Appearance: Godby: 2014; Ponte Vedra: 2016
Quick Hits:
The visiting Sharks would love nothing more than another chance to reach a state championship game, but they will have to do so starting on the road against the host Cougars … For Ponte Vedra keep an eye on QB Jack Murrah to lead thing for the offense … For Godby watch out for Rasean McKay to get the ball through the air to his receivers … Godby back in the playoffs for the first time since 2014, the last time the played in a state championship game.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Godby 7 over Ponte Vedra Prediction: Godby 31, Ponte Vedra 14



When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Jones High Field, Orlando
Records: Cardinal Gibbons, 9-1; Jones 9-1
Rankings: Cardinal Gibbons ranked No. 2 in final AP Poll, No. 2 in Joe Pinkos’ Power Rankings; Godby ranked No. 3 in final AP Poll, ranked No. 9 in Joe Pinkos’ Power Rankings
Last Playoff Appearance: Cardinal Gibbons: 2016; Jones: 2016
Quick Hits:
This matchup could have an impact on the national rankings for other teams depending on the outcome … Jones claimed the first district championship since 1998 a few weeks ago … For the visiting Chiefs, keep an eye out for Nik Scalzo who has thrown for over 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns this season … For the host Tigers keep an eye on quarterback Quadry Jones to lead the way.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Cardinal Gibbons by 11 Prediction: Cardinal Gibbons 35, Jones 30


No. 8 Rickards (5-4) at No. 1 West Florida (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. CST at Marlon L. Bullock Field at Woodham Middle School, Pensacola — Rickards is a strong team, but lost four straight to close out the season and for the visiting Raiders that could hamper them against a pretty strong West Florida program.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: West Florida by 17 Prediction: West Florida 38, Rickards 13

No 5. Wakulla (8-2) at No. 4 Ribault (7-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Trojan Stadium, Jacksonville — Ribault closed off the season in the worst way possible with a running clock loss to rival Raines. Now comes in the visiting War Eagles and the host Trojans have to be ready for this one or they will get shown the door quickly.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Wakulla by 14 Prediction: Wakulla 35, Ribault 10

Region 2
No. 8 Nature Coast Tech (7-2) at No. 1 Baker (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium, Macclenny — The host Wildcats will take on the visiting Sharks who closed out the season on a strong note including a win over district rival Hernando. However, Baker County is a pretty strong squad and might be the toughest team Nature Coast has faced all season.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Baker County by 28 Prediction: Baker County 38, Nature Coast 14

No. 5 Menendez (7-3) at No. 4 Belleview (6-4), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at The Strike Zone, Belleview — Look at the schedules of both teams and it will be clear who the stronger team is on paper. A Menendez win here will give them their first playoff win in school history.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Menendez by 24 Prediction: Menendez 33, Belleview 7

No. 6 Clay (7-3) at No. 3 Hernando (7-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Tom Fisher Memorial Stadium, Brooksville — The Leopards won their district through a tiebreaker on point averages, but they draw a very tough opponent in Clay who has been consistent in deep playoff runs over the last few years. This automatically gives the visiting Blue Devils the advantage.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Clay by 28 Prediction: Clay 42, Hernando 20

No. 7 River Ridge (7-3) at Zephyrhills (9-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium, Zephyrhills — A district rematch from earlier in the season which Zephyrhills dominated, but do the Knights have an answer the second time around?
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: River Ridge by 3 Prediction: Zephyrhills 35, River Ridge 24

Region 3

No. 8 Booker (4-6) at No. 1 Immokalee (9-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Gary Bates Stadium, Immokalee — Booker had to redistribute the gear once it found out it was in the playoffs after thinking they were out of it two weeks ago. However, they get a tough draw against a very strong Immokalee team and this one could be over early.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Immokalee by 37 Prediction: Immokalee 55, Booker 6

No. 5 Dunbar (7-3) at No. 4 Hardee (7-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium, Wauchula — Dunbar could be the better team on paper, but don’t the host Wildcats that. It all depends on how the visiting Tigers perform and what Hardee does as to if this game will be close or not at the end of the night.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Dunbar by 10 Prediction: Dunbar 28, Hardee 17

No. 6 Jesuit (5-4) at No. 3 Jefferson (8-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Sam Horton Stadium, Tampa — This is the second rematch between district rivals and Jefferson won the last time overtime, but the word is the Dragons have some talent back they haven’t had. Could that be a bigger win this time?
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Jesuit by 9 Prediction: Jefferson 27, Jesuit 14

No. 7 Tarpon Springs (5-4) at No. 2 Lakewood (7-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Lakewood Stadium, St. Petersburg — Another district rematch from two weeks ago, the host Spartans dominated the visiting Tarpons in that game and it is expected they will likely do the same in this one.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Lakewood by 24 Prediction: Lakewood 31, Tarpon Springs 9

Region 4
No. 8 Merritt Island (6-3) at No. 1 Plantation American Heritage (8-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Heritage Field, Plantation — The visiting Mustangs get the first taste of the host Patriots to open up the playoffs. The differences between these two teams are night and day. This one could be over very early.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: American Heritage by 28 Prediction: American Heritage 38, Merritt Island 10

No. 5 Bishop Moore (7-2) at No. 4 Fort Pierce Westwood (6-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Lawnwood Stadium, Fort Pierce — A decent season for the host Panthers, but if you look at the visiting Hornets’ schedule, that is where you will find huge differences as in who is the better team.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Bishop Moore by 14 Prediction: Bishop Moore, 33, Fort Pierce Westwood 8

No. 7 Palm Bay (7-2) at No. 2 Rockledge (6-3), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at McLarty Stadium, Rockledge — A district rematch from the regular season and with the host Raiders coming off their first win over Cocoa in a long time, things are rolling right now at the Rock. Expect this game to possibly be like the last time.
Joe Pinkos’ Forecast: Rockledge by 17 Prediction: Rockledge 38, Palm Bay 10


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