Prepare your fuses properly and put on your safety goggles. It’s the quasi-elimination edition of the Friday Fireworks. Although it’s not win-or-stay-home just YET, we are already approaching that moment in some districts that have more than just two top dogs within them. This week contains six games that will effectively put someone behind-the-eight-ball in terms of the postseason race. The teams that lose these critical match-ups will not only have to hope the ones in front of them lose–but will hope they lose twice since they will not hold a tiebreaker if the teams finish tied. That’s something you don’t want to have to hope for, is it? Here now are the six games that should provide the pyrotechnics for us in week six.
Winter Haven (4-1, 0-0) at Kathleen (5-0, 0-0)
Blue vs. Red –Devils, that is. Winter Haven’s only blemish on the season comes at the hands of Kissimmee-Osceola while Kathleen’s record is impressively unblemished. Both teams are putting up solid numbers on the offensive side of the ball while applying bruising defenses. Something has to give. Winter Haven has won three of the last four games in this series. Kathleen’s last victory was a 21-14 OT win in 2013. Winner of this game holds the tiebreaker in a four-team district that features Bartow and Lakeland, so the margin for error is pretty small. Both of these squads are talented enough to go undefeated in district play even with the Dreadnaughts left on the schedule for both. Neither team wants to “hope” that they have to depend on someone other than themselves to get the job done, though. So? Light the fuse if you don’t mind.
Mitchell (3-1, 1-0) at Pasco (3-2, 0-0)
These two squads are in a district with Sunlake and with the ‘Hawks still left for both on the schedule, winning this game puts either the Mustangs or Pirates in a solid position for the postseason. District 6A-6 ended with a three-way tiebreaker with Sunlake, Mitchell and Springstead last season, so we think there’s tons of drama to be played out, but Pasco’s coming off two pedestrian performances against state-ranked foes at North Marion and Jesuit while Mitchell is starting to hit its stride following a season-opening loss to rivals River Ridge. In years past, the Pirates may have leaned on their home environment on top of their superior talent against county teams to go up 14-0 before opponents even stepped off the bus. In 2015, it’s a different scenario and Mitchell’s feeling like they’ve got a chance to make back-to-back appearances beyond week eleven. Dade City is the place to be in Pasco, just look for the fireworks in the distance. Light the fuse.
Tampa Bay Tech (3-2, 2-0) at Plant City (4-1, 2-0)
The way Lennard has jumped out this season and with Durant’s success–this district has ZERO room for error from this point on with both the Titans and the Raiders still having to play both. Plant City has won four-straight after getting destroyed against Armwood in week one. TBT leads this series 4-2 the past decade and has four-stright including a 17-15 victory last season. The Titans have found a new quarterback and have found their rhythm on offense to balance their swarming defense. Plant City’s becoming the team many thought they would be, but the Titans love a good scrap and will take the scrap to the Raiders each and every play this evening. If there’s a more important tiebreaker to own in this district outside of these two, then feel free to show us, because these two squads are about to get after it. Light that fuse!
Plant (3-2, 1-0) at Wharton (5-0, 2-0)
The Panthers have won four-straight in this series and it’s not even close in terms of margin of victory. The Wildcats are having a dream season and have the talent and experience to pull off the upset–BUT? Not so fast. Bury the Panthers if you must, but do it at you’re own risk. They’ve licked their wounds incurred from last week’s game in Seffner and usually come out from their game with Armwood a changed team regardless of the score. Wharton and Plant will still have to deal with Sickles in the coming weeks which makes this game a 2-game swing essentially with the tiebreaker. The ‘Cats are scratching to get this one kicked-off and we can’t wait for them to get going either. Light the fuse!
Indian Rocks Christian (2-2, 0-0) at Admiral Farragut (4-1, 0-0)
The Golden Eagles started off with a little adversity thrown their way to begin their season, but they’ve rebounded with wins against Victory Christian and Frostproof to get back to the .500-mark. Farragut stumbled in their opening game of the season against Carrollwood Day, but have blitzed their opponents since and are starting to hit their full stride. Farragut’s 5-4 in the series and the teams have split 2-2 the past four meetings. IRC won last year 21-7 en route to a district championship. With just three teams in the district and Northside Christian awaiting the both of these squads in the next few weeks, it’s a must-win unless chaos is something they would prefer to happen. Look for the atmosphere to be electric in Pinellas this evening and look for the fireworks. Light the fuse!
DeSoto County (0-4, 0-1) at Southeast (1-3, 1-0)
Lemon Bay is the only team above .500 overall and got a win over DeSoto last week in their 5A-11 opener. Southeast got a win versus Bayshore in their 5A-11 opener. DeSoto went undefeated in this district last season so we already know that won’t be repeated. Southeast won just a game last season and are trying to double-up that accomplishment this week in order to keep their postseason hopes alive. The ‘Noles have won three of the last four in the series dropping a heartbreaking one-point loss (21-20) to the Bulldogs last season so revenge–and holding the tiebreaker would give Southeast an immense amount of confidence on top of doubling their win total from last season for a program that is begging to be revived. This game should be a great one, so light the fuse, please!