Last Friday, Andre DeBose led Seminole (Sanford) to an easy 38-12 victory over DeLand and Florida commit Mike Gillislee to highlight the opening round of the Class 6A regional quarterfinals.
While DeBose, who scored four touchdowns in the game, might have had the best individual performance in the larger classes, two-time defending state champion Miami Northwestern might have had the best team performance.
The Bulls (10-1) knocked off Class 6A’s top-ranked team, Miami Columbus, 21-6, and will now do battle with the team that dealt them a 27-25 loss during the regular season, Miami Central. The following is a look at each of the matchups in the larger classifications.
Seminole visits Spruce Creek (Port Orange) in a rematch from September. In that game, Spruce Creek, regional finalists last season, picked up a 34-13 victory. The Hawks are looking to win multiple games in the postseason for the third consecutive time and will host the Seminoles, who are 2-8 all-time on the road in the playoffs and haven’t won away from home since 2000.
The winner between Seminole and Spruce Creek will do battle with the Apopka/East Ridge (Clermont) winner. East Ridge, paced by senior tailback Jeremy Wright, downed the Blue Darters 21-13 earlier this month and snapped a three-game losing streak in the Class 6A postseason with a first-round triumph over Winter Park. Meanwhile, Apopka is trying to win two playoff games on the road for the first time since 2001 when it claimed the Class 6A state championship.
Last year’s Class 6A state runner-up, Orlando Boone, runs into Dr. Philips (Orlando), a team it lost to 41-27 during the regular season. Dr. Phillips lost to Boone 17-10 at this point in the playoffs last season and is 0-4 all-time in the regional semifinals. The winner gets the winner between Chris Dunkley’s Royal Palm Beach squad and Vero Beach. The game is a rematch of a 2006 first-round battle, won 28-14 by Royal Palm Beach.
From there, 2010 Florida commit Demar Dorsey (DB) and Boyd Anderson visit Deerfield Beach, a team they knocked off 27-10 during the regular season. Led by senior quarterback Denard Robinson, Deerfield Beach is hoping to continue a trend for Boyd Anderson, which has never won multiple games in the postseason. This matchup is a rematch of a 2005 opening-round game which saw Deerfield Beach win 26-20 in overtime.
Cypress Bay, 6A’s third-ranked team, will look to win its first-ever regional semifinal game when it hosts Miramar, a team it knocked off 41-40 during the regular season. In Region 4, Northwestern looks to move to 2-0 all-time in the playoffs against Central, while Miami Killian looks to go 3-0 all-time against Miami Palmetto, which won its first playoff game since 1999 behind tailback Jamal Berry. Killian shut out Palmetto 29-0 during the regular season.
Could this be the third time this decade that Pine Forest (Pensacola) makes it to the state finals? The Eagles are currently 10-0, but to keep their dream alive must knock off Niceville and star tailback Roy Finch. Earlier this season, Pine Forest held off Niceville 31-28 and had an easy 38-7 win over Ed White (Jacksonville) to start the playoffs. Niceville knocked off previously unbeaten Fletcher (Neptune Beach) 30-13 to begin its postseason run.
Perennial contender Mainland (Daytona Beach) meets old foe Orange Park. The last time these two schools met in the playoffs was 1992 with Orange Park winning 10-7. The Raiders didn’t win another playoff game after the Mainland tilt until last week, while the Bucs have been one of the best programs in the state regardless of classification.
Tampa Chamberlain does battle with Tampa Wharton in a rematch of last year’s 26-25 win for Chamberlain, which is 1-3 all-time in the regional semifinals. Also in Region 2, Lakeland meets Kissimmee Osceola in a rematch of a 21-14 victory for Lakeland earlier this month. A year ago, Osceola dropped the Dreadnaughts 22-7 in the regional semis.
In Region 3, Largo will look to advance to the regional finals for the third time in four seasons. The Packers host St. Petersburg, which won its first playoff game since 1984 last week. Venice, which features 2010 Florida quarterback commit Trey Burton, has a rematch with a Charlotte (Punta Gorda) team that it hammered 56-26 during the regular season.
In Region 4, South Fork (Stuart) visits Atlantic (Delray Beach) and Dillard (Fort Lauderdale) visits St. Thomas Aquinas and its talented roster, paced by junior offensive linemen Brandon Linder, who has narrowed his college choices down to include Florida, Miami and Notre Dame.
The bully of the northern part of Class 4A, Nease (Ponte Vedra Beach), rolled to a 43-13 win over Eastside (Gainesville) to start the playoffs. The Panthers visit Ridgeview (Orange Park), a team they lost to 28-22 during the regular season.
Also in Region 2, Merritt Island meets Seabreeze (Daytona Beach) in the first playoff meeting between the schools since 1995. The Mustangs drubbed Seabreeze 34-14 during the regular season.
Region 1 has some old and new flavor. Pace (Pensacola) plays host to Fort Walton Beach in a rematch of Pace’s 32-28 first-round victory in 2005.
Meanwhile Tallahassee schools Lincoln and Leon will have their first meeting in the playoffs. Lincoln has been one of the state’s dominant teams and holds a 44-27 victory over Leon to its credit this season. Leon is looking for its first victory in the regional finals since 1992 that helped spark the team to a trip to the Class 4A state title game.
Tampa Plant, Seffner Armwood, Booker T. Washington and Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer are all still alive in the southern half of the Class 4A bracket.
Plant visits a Southeast (Bradenton) team, which is looking for its first trip to the regional finals since 2002. Armwood, meanwhile, will look to make the regional finals for the sixth consecutive season by knocking off Tampa Bay Tech, a team which won its first-ever playoff game this past week.
Dwyer will look to get a chance to knock off Washington, a team it has been eliminated by in the postseason in each of the past three seasons. Dwyer visits Westwood, while Washington hosts Hallandale, a team it defeated 19-11 during the regular season and also at this point in the playoffs in 2007.
Nothing last forever, no matter how bad it is. Gulf (New Port Richey) proved that with its first-ever playoff victory, a 49-35 road triumph over St. Cloud. The Bucs, paced by junior tight end/offensive tackle Leon Orr (6-5, 295), advance to face Pasco (Dade City), which knocked off Bishop Moore (Orlando), 37-20.
The wins by the two Pasco County schools sets up a rematch of a Week 10 contest won 21-20 by Pasco. The win for Pasco over Bishop Moore snapped a five-game playoff losing streak dating back to 1998.
Meanwhile, North Marion (Citra) pitched its first playoff shutout since 2005, downing an inept Crystal River team, 42-0, that played without 2,000-yard rusher Trevaughn Brooks due to discipline issues. The Colts now get a rematch with Williston, which advanced via forfeit over Nature Coast (Brooksville) which lost an appeal of penalties handed down by the FHSAA stemming from a brawl with South Lake two weeks ago.
Williston lost 21-19 to North Marion earlier this season and hasn’t beaten the Colts since 1999. North Marion is looking for its fourth consecutive trip to the state playoffs, and if Gulf knocks off Pasco, it would host the 3A-2 regional final. But if the Pirates win, it hits the road.
Still lurking in the north is St. Augustine, which hosts Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) in a battle of unbeatens. The winner gets either 10-0 Arnold (Panama City Beach) or 9-2 Godby (Tallahassee) after the battle at Chiles H.S. in the state capital.
In the south, Naples pounded Riverdale 61-23, behind the blocking of Florida commit Nick Alajajian. The Golden Eagles host Dunbar (Fort Myers), while Miami Pace hosts unbeaten Glades Central (Belle Glade). Also, Cocoa visits Ridge Community (Davenport) and Braden River (Bradenton) travels to Arcadia to meet DeSoto County in a meeting between two 8-3 teams.
FHSAA FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Regional pairings in the 2008 Florida High School Athletic Association state football tournament. All games are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 28 with 7:30 p.m. local-time kickoffs unless otherwise noted:
Seminole (Sanford) (9-2) at Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (9-2)
Apopka (9-2) at East Ridge (Clermont) (10-1)
Boone (Orlando) (9-2) at Dr. Phillips (Orlando) (10-1)
Royal Palm Beach (9-2) at Vero Beach (9-2)
Boyd Anderson (Lauderdale Lakes) (7-4) vs. Deerfield Beach (9-2) at Coral Springs H.S.
Miramar (9-2) at Cypress Bay (Weston) (10-1)
Miami Northwestern (9-1) vs. Miami Central (8-3) at Traz Powell Stadium, Miami
Miami Palmetto (7-4) vs. Miami Killian (9-2) at Florida International University
Niceville (9-1) at Pine Forest (Pensacola) (10-0)
Orange Park (9-2) vs. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (11-0) at Municipal Stadium, Daytona Beach
Wharton (Tampa) (9-2) at Chamberlain (Tampa) (10-1)
Osceola (Kissimmee) (8-3) at Lakeland (11-0)
St. Petersburg (9-2) at Largo (10-1)
Charlotte (Punta Gorda) (10-1) at Venice (11-0)
South Fork (Stuart) (8-3) at Atlantic (Delray Beach) (11-0)
Dillard (Fort Lauderdale) (9-2) at St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) (11-0)
Fort Walton Beach (9-1) at Pace (6-4)
Leon (Tallahassee) (8-3) vs. Lincoln (Tallahassee) (8-3) at Cox Stadium, Tallahassee
Nease (Ponte Vedra Beach) (7-3) at Ridgeview (Orange Park) (7-4)
Seabreeze (6-5) at Merritt Island (7-4)
Plant (Tampa) (10-1) at Southeast (Bradenton) (9-2)
Tampa Bay Tech (10-1) at Armwood (Seffner) (11-0)
Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens) (10-1) at Fort Pierce Westwood (10-1)
Hallandale (9-2) vs. Washington (Miami) (9-1) at Curtis Park, Miami
Arnold (Panama City Beach) (10-0) vs. Godby (Tallahassee) (9-2) at Chiles H.S., Tallahassee
Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (11-0) at St. Augustine (11-0)
Williston (7-4) at North Marion (Citra) (8-3)
Gulf (New Port Richey) (10-1) at Pasco (Dade City) (10-1)
Cocoa (10-1) at Ridge Community (Davenport) (10-1)
Braden River (Bradenton) (8-3) at DeSoto County (Arcadia) (8-3)
Dunbar (Fort Myers) (10-1) at Naples (10-1)
Glades Central (Belle Glade) (11-0) at Monsignor Pace (Miami) (9-2)
Madison County (Madison) (10-0) at Pensacola Catholic (8-2)
South Sumter (Bushnell) (10-1) at Bolles (Jacksonville) (11-0)
Mulberry (8-4) at Tampa Catholic (8-3)
Gulliver Prep (Miami) (9-1) at Archbishop Carroll (Miami) (8-2)
Florida High (Tallahassee) (10-1) at South Walton (Santa Rosa Beach) (9-2)
Newberry (9-2) at Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (10-1)
Frostproof (9-1) at Wildwood (10-1)
University School (Fort Lauderdale) (11-0) at Pahokee (9-1)
Port St. Joe (9-2) at West Gadsden (Greensboro) (9-2)
North Florida Christian (Tallahassee) (7-2) at First Academy (Orlando) (10-1)
Fort Meade (10-1) at Glades Day (Belle Glade) (6-5)
American Heritage (Delray Beach) (8-2) at Dade Christian (Miami) (8-3)
FAMU (Tallahassee) (8-3) at Eagle’s View (Jacksonville) (7-4)
Warner Christian (South Daytona) (10-1) vs. Orangewood Christian (Maitland) (7-3) at Lake Brantley H.S., Altamonte Springs
Pine Castle (Orlando) (6-5) vs. Victory Christian (Lakeland) (8-3) at Lake Gibson H.S., Lakeland
Upperroom Christian (Lauderhill) (5-5) vs. Jupiter Christian (11-0) at John I. Leonard H.S., Greenacres
FRIDAY, DEC. 5
For Classes 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A
For Classes 2A, 2B, 1A, 1B
FRIDAY, DEC. 12
For Classes 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A
At Citrus Bowl, Orlando
Class 1B, 1 p.m.
Class 1A, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, DEC. 13
At Citrus Bowl, Orlando
Class 2B, 1 p.m.
Class 2A, 7 p.m.
FRIDAY, DEC. 19
At Citrus Bowl, Orlando
Class 3A, 1 p.m.
Class 5A, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, DEC. 20
At Citrus Bowl, Orlando
Class 4A, 1 p.m.
Class 6A, 7 p.m.