It’s the week eleven edition of BCP’s Friday Firework games. This week, we’ve got a slate that’s chocked full of playoff teams that are taking on some of their fiercest rivals. Grab your popcorn and enjoy!
Southeast Seminoles (5-4) at Manatee Hurricanes (7-2)
Before last season’s 39-26 loss by the ‘Noles, Manatee has won the previous three games by an average of 47 points per contest. The ‘Canes are 8-2 in the last ten games in this series having won eight consecutive as well. NOT SO FAST–the ‘Noles are in the playoffs this season after winning just one game last season. This is a rivalry that began in 1974, with Manatee leading by a slim 16-14 margin. Although Southeast has had their issues scoring points at times this season, they’ve got enough playmakers on defense and enough momentum to make this rivalry a relevant one–the area–and State of Florida are better because of its relevancy. Light the fuse!
Sunlake Seahawks (7-2) at River Ridge Royal Knights (9-0)
The Royal Knights are seeking their first undefeated season in school history–and are attempting to become the first team on the west side of Pasco County to finish their season undefeated. They have RB Chris Schwarz in hot pursuit of the all-time Pasco County rushing record–but they’ve also posted historical numbers on defense this season. The Seahawks own this series winning seven of the eight played–but are coming off consecutive losses to Mitchell and St. Petersburg, but are in the playoffs and if you go–arrive early. When Mitchell played at River Ridge in week one, the number of fans attending turned the traffic into a bigger issue than when the Bucs play. This week will be no different. Welcome to one of Pasco County’s best “new” rivalries ladies and gentlemen. Light the fuse!
Gibbs Gladiators (6-3) at Braden River Pirates (9-0)
Two more teams–district champions actually–squaring off in a potentially scoreboard-busting contest. The Gladiators didn’t have the services of DJ Johnson vs. Tampa Catholic in the first half, but when he returned–he was instant offense. The Pirates are used to shutting down preeminent offensive attacks this season, but have they faced someone as individually talented as Johnson? Gibbs hosts Jefferson next week in the first round and probably don’t want to take the chance of rust building up, so expect them to go full-steam–same with Braden River–they don’t want to have the opportunity to go back-to-back in the regular season undefeated slip away either. Light the fuse!
Pasco Pirates (4-5) at Zephyrhills Bulldogs (7-2)
The 58th installment of the Nine Mile War cranks up at Bulldog Stadium and we don’t care if this one ends in a one-point margin, or a thirty-one point margin–there will be fireworks. The Pirates could care less about how god the ‘Dogs season has progressed–and the ‘Dogs feel the same way about the Pirates. Both could be 0-9 and their seasons’ would be considered successes by many with a victory over one another. This game literally separates families and turns normally mild-mannered folk into savages when they see the opposing colors run onto the field. The bad news–for Zehpyrhills Fans–is that the Pirates lead the series 40-17. The good news is, most-if-not all will go home and this too shall pass once they blow the final whistle–but for now…LIGHT THE FUSE!
Seminole Warhawks (2-7) at Osceola Warriors (6-3)
Nope–this isn’t the cities of Sanford and Kissimmee getting after it–this one’s for the neighborhood in Pinellas County. The Warriors have won four consecutive in the series and are 7-3 in the last ten meetings–the Warhawks have intentions of ruining the good taste in their rivals’ mouths from finishing second in their district and heading to the playoffs next week. TRUTH VIA SPORTS CLICHE ALERT: throw the records away–this one’s for pride–a lot of it. Light the fuse!
Lennard Longhorns (6-3) at Jefferson Dragons (3-6)
If styles make fights, then let’s call this a potential Gotti v. Ward in terms of how they approach the game offensively. Let’s be real, the Dragons are quietly going to root for health over victory–since they’ll be in the playoffs next week, but once the lights come on and the ‘Horns start tossing it around, a shootout should commence. There’s athletes all over the place and Jefferson’s pride doesn’t just stop with a playoff appearance–it starts with defending their home field and silencing the doubters that look at their record and think “PLAYOFFS?!?” like Jim Mora Sr. so please–light the fuse!!