CCC'S BACKFIELD VS. ANCLOTE'S BACKFIELD
Both CCC and Anclote have had one consistent stay true throughout the season offensively and that’s been the ability to run the football. The Marauders will have to rely upon the running of quarterback Jeff Smith (360 yards) and tailbacks Eric Davis (422 yards) and J. T. Steele (293 yards), as backs Diquan Walker (589 yards, 6 TDs) and CJ Cotman (313 yards) will be out due to injuries, according to CCC coach John Davis. The Sharks will counter with arguably one of the top 1-2 punches in the Tampa Bay area in running backs Willie Barrett (968 yards, nine TDs), Trent Crawford (912 yards, seven TDs) and the duo needs 32 and 88 yards, respectively, to break the 1,000-yard plateau for the regular season. “(Anclote) is a physical football team,” Davis said. “Obviously when we put this football schedule together we wanted to play good football teams and I hope we didn’t overstep our boundaries.”
PINELLAS VS. PASCO
Bragging rights are on the line in this contest, as it’s a Pinellas vs. Pasco matchup. Anclote has struggled against Pinellas County teams during its brief five-year history, as the Sharks have lost contests to Northeast, St. Petersburg Catholic and Tarpon Springs in August’s preseason classic. “This is a great game for us,” Anclote coach Matt Wicks said. “We’re going to do our best to stay in the game against a Pinellas County team, which for us traditionally has not happened yet.” For Clearwater Central Catholic, Anclote is another tough opponent among the slew of solid teams on its schedule, which includes games already against Ocala Trinity Catholic, Tampa Catholic and IMG Academy. The Marauders, despite being without the services of Walker and Cotman, will have to halt a potential two-game losing streak if they drop tonight’s contest to Anclote. CCC will open the Class 3A postseason against Fort Myers Bishop Verot (5-3).
STAYING HEALTHY FOR PLAYOFFS
The most important thing coming out of this nondistrict matchup for CCC and Anclote is exiting injury-free and not losing any key starters. CCC will be sitting Walker and Cotman, while Anclote will be playing the bulk of its starters throughout the game. Neither team can afford to lose any playmakers going into their respective postseason games next week, as the Marauders are eying a deep run inside of the Class 3A bracket, while Anclote has its sights set on the school’s first ever home playoff game and building rivalry against Tarpon Springs. An injury to Smith, Davis or Steele for CCC would be a blow to the Marauders’ state title hopes and for Anclote, any type of loss in the backfield to Barrett or Crawford could spell trouble come next Friday against the Spongers. “We’re going to have a couple starters out for this one,” Davis added. “We do not want to go into the postseason with two losses in the back of our mind.”