The chill in the air makes the coffee taste better this morning. It's November and you can feel the football post-season in the air.
This Friday night we're at Daytona for the big game - Deland vs. Mainland. Is there anyone who plays a tougher schedule than Mainland? I don't think so.
Other big games around the state include NFC and Providence. If the Eagles are going to defend their 1A title, they've got to make the post-season. Trinity Christian wrapped up the district with a win over Providence Friday night.
Here's a look at some key games this weekend:
Desoto travels to Hardee - This is the state's oldest continuous rivalry and well worth the price of admission as the Dogs (Arcadia) take on the 'Cats (Hardee)... should be a great matchup with a district crown awaiting the winner.
Lake Gibson at Kathleen - Ok, so this one lost a little luster when Kathleen had to forfeit six games - and is appealing to the FHSAA (good luck with that)... but the Red Devils can salvage a chance to claim 'Lakeland City Champs' with a win over the Braves and then a win over the 'Naughts next week. Lake Gibson is 6-1 and ready to win the district title outright with a victory.
Fletcher at First Coast - Marty Lee told me his team was young, but the Buccaneers have a chance to win a district championship in 5A after three straight in 4A. Fletcher has a penchant for playing an easy schedule and this could come back to haunt the Senators - as First Coast has faced some very tough competition... Don't be deceived by the 26-3 loss to Andrew Jackson - Lee held out some starters from that game to save them for Middleburg and Fletcher. That being said, Jackson may be the best team in Jacksonville (public school - anyway).
Other games to watch:
Cypress Bay vs. Everglades - This one is a key game - point blank - for the playoffs. Winner is district champ, loser is runner up.
Gainesville vs. Lake Weir - This one is the game in North Central Florida. 16-2 is the record between these two teams.
Cape Coral vs. Ida Baker - Baker is five years old and playing for a district championship. Cape Coral is 8-0, Baker is 7-1... great game for Southwest Florida.
Bishop Kenny vs. Jackson - The Crusaders are 7-1 and Jackson is 8-0. Experience in big games goes to the Tigers - who have a stellar defense.
Nease vs. Clay - The Nease Panthers are getting healthy at the right time. Good news for Nease and bad news for Clay. The Blue Devils can win the district with a victory - otherwise, it could be a three-way tie between these two and Bartram Trail.
Hernando vs. Nature Coast - we all remember what happened after this game last year. The Sharks blew past the Leapords 34-3 and then had to vacate their district crown after a dispute on the field with South Lake. Now Nature Coast is trying to stay alive in the playoff race. A win by the Sharks creates a possible three-way tie with Crystal River. A loss gives Hernando the runner-up spot behind Dunnellon.
Land 'O Lakes vs. Mitchell - winner is district runner-up behind Pasco.
Lakewood vs. Spoto not bad for the four year school Spoto. A win puts them in the playoffs as the runner-up to Jefferson. A loss puts Lakewood in.
Southeast vs. Bayshore The 'Noles need a win to clinch the district. Bayshore needs a win to force a possible three-way tie with Braden River (provided the Pirates win over Lemon Bay).
Barron Collier vs. Lely - Experts agree this one kinda shocks us. The fact is - Naples is out of playoff contention. Well, here it is... If Lehigh wins over
Cypress Lake, AND Lely beats Barron Collier, Lehigh is champ and Lely is runner-up. If Barron Collier and Lehigh win, BC is the district champ and Lehigh is the runner-up. Unless... if Cypress Lake beats Lehigh, and Lely beats Barron Collier, then there's a three-way tie for second between Lehigh, Barron Collier and Naples. Confused yet?
We'll take a look at the smaller classes tomorrow... anyone have more coffee?