#3 Bloomingdale at #5 Lakeland
The Bulls of Bloomingdale have gone through the gauntlet. The first half of the season arguably unmatched by any team in the area. Armwood, Plant City, Tampa Bay Tech all within the first half of the season, and now Lakeland. The “Who have you played” debate is non-existent with Bloomingdale. All four teams mentioned are currently ranked in the Sweet 16.
Lakeland started off running. Getting a win against city rival Lake Gibson before being humbled by Venice. But Lakeland is still Lakeland. Well coached, good running backs, and a massive defensive line. What to watch for tonight, can Lakeland defend the pass and can Bloomingdale hold up against the run?
Styles make fights. Lakeland will try to shorten the game with Kellum, Gant, and Martin in the backfield only passing when needed. Bloomingdale’s Tre Simmons is having another great season averaging 211 passing yards. If his improving offensive line can protect, he’ll find his playmakers.
#11 Armwood at #6 Gaither
Armwood gets everyone’s best shot. One they could not recover from against Bloomingdale and Tampa Bay Tech. Heartbreaking 1-point losses to each team. Now Gaither is attempting to establish themselves as a top program in the Tampa Bay Area. 31 wins in the last three seasons, the Cowboys have forced teams to pay attention to them.
Last season Armwood defeated Gaither 14-0 doing nothing but adding gas to the burning confidence of Gaither. Can Armwood’s secondary limit Gaither’s passing attack? It’s simple. That’s the biggest question. Armwood’s pass defense allowed Tampa Bay Tech to rack up 397 yards passing and 5 touchdown passes last Friday. Can Armwood’s offensive line create a new line of scrimmage versus an active Cowboy defensive front? Very few weaknesses in the Cowboys defense. But, Armwood can not allow Gaither’s defensive strength to grow stronger throughout the game.
Carrollwood Day at Cambridge Christian
Another big test for both teams. Carrollwood Day has had their fair share of stiff competition and has yet to topple one of the better teams on their schedule. Senior USC commit Michael Trigg has been good; 96.8 rec yards per game. However, RB Anthony Carrie has to be great tonight versus undefeated Cambridge.
Cambridge QB Chris Stephenson has been super hot this year. Passing for nearly 200 yards per game. He has connected with three receivers who each have over 200 receiving yards on the season. CDS needs to place a premium on stopping the rush attack for Cambridge Christian especially leading rusher Jaiden Bivens who is averaging 6.7 yards per carry.