Class 6A-Region 2
SUNLAKE (10-1) AT GAINESVILLE (9-2)
WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m./Citizens Field, 1400 NE 8th Ave., Gainesville
COACHES: Bill Browning (Sunlake); James Thomson (Gainesville)
LAST WEEK: Sunlake 22, Ocala Vanguard 21; Gainesville 20, Brooksville Hernando 14
LAST MEETING: First meeting
STATE TOURNAMENT RECORDS: Sunlake 1-0; Gainesville 13-13
NEED TO KNOW: Sunlake is bidding to become just the fourth different Pasco County school to advance to the third round of the football playoffs, joining Pasco (three times, last in 2008), Land O' Lakes (twice, last in 2003) and Hudson (once, 2005). Including Gulf and Zephyrhills, the only other two schools to ever have a team advance past the first round, Pasco County teams are a combined 6-8 all-time in second round games. … QB Cameron Stoltz has now thrown 27 TD passes this season, including at least one in every game. But his 11-of-17 performance against Ocala Vanguard marks only the second time all season he has completed double-digit passes in a game. … RB Jerome Samuels leads the Seahawks with 506 rushing yards and six rushing TDs, but as a team Sunlake has 1663 yards and 23 TDs on the ground, speaking to how diversified its offense is. WR Jamal Jones leads the team in TDs with 12 (10 receiving, two rushing). … Gainesville, founded in 1906, is making its 15th playoff appearance (including the past three seasons), and has one state championship (1980, 3A). The Hurricanes were ranked No. 10 in the final Class 6A poll of the season. Last year they won Class 4A-Region 2 before losing to eventual state champion Tallahassee Lincoln in the state semifinals. … Gainesville is 1-0 all-time against Pasco County teams, beating Hudson 17-0 in the 2009 Class 4A Region Quarterfinal. … The Hurricanes, which went 91 yards in the final minutes to beat Hernando, are led by an outstanding defense. Linebacker Tashon Whitehurst leads the team in tackles, and is verbally committed to Syracuse. DB Chris Bivins is committed to South Florida. And Chris Thompson is likely the toughest WR Sunlake has faced all season. … Tonight's winner will travel to the winner of the Armwood-Hillsborough 6A-2 semifinal.
STAFF PICKS: Rick Harmon-Sunlake; Mike Camunas-Gainesville; Chris Errington-Gainesville; Bart O'Connell-Gainesville; Andy Villamarzo-Gainesville.
ONLINE: Live blog and scoreboard at TBO.com/sports/preps or follow @BartOTrib on Twitter.
Class 5A-Region 2
PASCO (11-0) AT CITRA NORTH MARION (9-2)
WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m./Stan Toole Memorial Stadium, 151 W Highway 329, Citra, 32113
COACHES: Tom McHugh (Pasco), Craig Damon (North Marion)
LAST WEEK: Pasco 21, Alachua Santa Fe 14; North Marion 28, Fivay 0
LAST MEETING: Pasco 13, North Marion 12 (2008 Class 3A region final)
STATE TOURNAMENT RECORDS: Pasco 14-13; North Marion 19-16
RADIO/INTERNET: WZHR (1400 AM)/www.inspiration1400.com
NEED TO KNOW: Even with both teams having deep playoff history, the Pirates and Colts meet just for the second time in the state tournament, but the second time in four seasons. Last time, Pasco edged North Marion to advance to the Class 3A state semifinals and deny the Colts a fourth-straight trip to the semis. … The Pirates get a boost with the return of senior ATH Trey Dudley-Giles, who missed last week's game due to a one-game suspension and will bolster a return game and secondary that had threes interceptions against Alachua Santa Fe. Dudley-Giles will also be a welcome face back on offense, where Pasco turned the ball over four times (two interceptions, two fumbles). Junior WR Janarion Grant did a lot of the work, scoring on a 75-yard punt return as well as 19-yard grab on a broken field-goal attempt. Grant, along with David Emmanuel, also shined at cornerback, shutting down late drives by the Raiders. Also on defense, Malik Johns picked up a nice interception, while defensive lineman and linebackers Aryn Strickland, Nick Wilson and Joey Ivie were constantly in the backfield. Keep an eye on Phillip Thompson, who leads the team with 12 sacks. … Since taking over in 2000, coach Craig Damon has led the Colts to the state tourney each season, but the North Marion program has never won a state semifinal game. RB Jamie Gilmore, a Division I prospect with interest from Florida, will be the featured player for the Colts, with his 1,600-plus rushing yards this season and the 153-yard, four touchdown performance he dropped on Fivay. Fellow Division I recruits Sean Pittman (USF) and LaTroy Pittman (Florida) lead the team in receiving with a combined 911 yards and 12 TD. However, North Marion gained just 287 yards on the Falcons, a team that was down 38-6 to Pasco after the first half.
STAFF PICKS: Rick Harmon-North Marion; Mike Camunas-Pasco; Chris Errington-Pasco; Bart O'Connell-Pasco; Andy Villamarzo-Pasco.
ONLINE: Live blog and scoreboard at TBO.com/sports/preps or follow @andyvillamarzo on Twitter.