THE BOX

The Friday Fireworks for Week 9

Lots of postseason implications in this week’s pyrotechnical lineup. These five games have the potential to have fireworks manifest themselves in all forms-and-fashions, so grab your favorite chair and cold beverage and buckle up!

Kathleen (9-0, 2-0) at Lakeland (6-2, 1-1)
All the Red Devils have to do to secure just their third undefeated regular season since 1951 is waltz into Bryant Stadium and pick up the ‘W’. Oh, and did we mention this one’s for the district title? Of course some other scenarios could take hold cause these teams to play again this coming Monday. Lakeland is 38-12 against Kathleen since 1964 and has won ten of the last eleven in the series. The ‘Naughts won this installment last season 21-2. All of that spells disaster for Kathleen, doesn’t it? WELP. The Red Devils are battle-tested and full of strong senior leadership, while Lakeland has themselves in a position to win yet another district title and do it at the expense of a team that pretty much bases their season on this result. Light ’em up!

Osceola (6-2, 4-0) at Clearwater (7-1, 4-0)
The Warriors come into the Tornadoes house with a storm-warning of their own. The last three games, Osceola has rushed for 1,100+ yards and not surprisingly are 3-0 in those games against Tarpon, Largo and Boca Ciega. They’re also averaging 36 points a game this season, but Clearwater is no stranger to the end zone. They’re averaging 30 points per game and can run the ball just as well as anyone else in Pinellas County. Clearwater’s Offense may catch quite a bit of the publicity, but anyone that knows that program knows they hang their hats on that defense and will ask that unit to dominate once again. This one’s for the District 6A-9 title. Light ’em up!

Palmetto (6-2, 3-1) at Venice (7-1, 3-1)
It’s win-or-stay-home for both these fine teams in a District 7A-11 contest to determine the runners-up. The Tigers are licking the wounds following their 35-0 rout at the hands of Braden River. In order to make the postseason, they’ll have to face the #6 squad in 7A on their home turf. It’s time to pull out all the tricks in the bag if you’re Palmetto. The Indians want to pound the Tigers into submission with their run-based spread offense. They’ll lean on QB Bryce Carpenter while the Tigers (of course) will be looking at Jack Allison to rebound and show that playmakers make plays at this point in the season.

East Bay (6-3, 3-2) at Tampa Bay Tech (5-4, 4-1)
The Titans come into this 7A-9 contest with the postseason on the line. The pressure is something they’ve embraced and relished since they nearly upset Armwood and then turned that into two consecutive wins in the district. Their defense even shutout Durant last week–something which hadn’t been done in 27 games, while East Bay’s rattled off four consecutive wins to put themselves in a win-or-stay-home position. The Indians are arguably one of the hottest teams in the area at the moment, and the chess match that could ensue between Head Coaches Jayson Roberts and Frank LaRosa will be worth the price of admission–oh yeah, and the hype from the players on the field will be too. Light ’em up!

Lakeland Christian (8-0, 1-0) at Tampa Catholic (7-1, 1-0)
This one’s for the District 3A-4 title and there’s a lot going on with both teams. The Vikings, if they can defeat TC and then Agape next week can finish off their first undefeated season in school history. They’ve won games with clutch offense, defense and special teams this season and without their starting quarterback. Their destiny is firmly in their own grasp. The Crusaders are a couple of wins away from having their best finish to the regular season since 2009, when they made it all the way to Orlando to the finals, but fell to Bolles. Of course, that means defeating the Vikings and then their nemesis Jesuit in the final week. Even if they don’t and were to finish 8-2, they’d still have the fact that in 2007 when they played their final game in Orlando against Madison County. No matter which way you look at it, points-upon-points should be posted with what looks like a good old-fashioned shootout brewing. Light ’em up!