CLASS 5A-REGION 2
ALACHUA SANTA FE (8-2) AT PASCO (10-0)
WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m./W.F. Edwards Stadium, 36850 State Road 52, Dade City
COACHES: Tommy Keeler (Santa Fe), Tom McHugh (Pasco)
LAST WEEK: Columbia Fort White 19, Santa Fe 10; Pasco did not play
LAST MEETING: Santa Fe 42, Pasco 20, 1998 region quarterfinals (second round)
RADIO: WZHR (1400 AM)
NEED TO KNOW: The Pirates are 12-12 all-time in the state tournament, though haven't made it past semis since their 2008 final four appearance. Yet, Pasco faces a bit of nemesis tonight, as Santa Fe is 3-0 against them, outscoring the Pirates 111-63. Pasco will be without a powerful weapon, senior Trey Dudley-Giles, who is serving a one-game suspension after drawing two unsportsmanlike fouls vs. Zephyrhills on Nov. 4. His receiving game (13 TD, 755 yards), defensive skills (three INT) and return highlights (381 punt return yards) will be missed. However, QB Jacob Guy (33 TD, 1,834 yards) still has dynamic juniors: Janarion Grant (21 total TD, 893 offensive yards) and David Emmanuel (21 TD, 1,377 yards). Keep an eye on Pasco's defense, which has given up just 51 points all season, but 27 of them McHugh taks the blame for by running the wrong defensive scheme in the season's first game. Players like Philip Thompson (team-high 12 sacks), Aryn Strickland (team-high 72 tackles), Joey Ive (53 tackles, 8 sacks), Nick Wilson (50 tackles, 3.5 sacks) and Lane Stancil (27 tackles, 3 INT) have all stepped up defensively to anchor a formidable core. … The Raiders, 29-14 overall in the postseason, have two state titles ('91, '94) and a runner up ('69), but haven't been to a state tournament since 2004. Santa Fe's postseason return is thanks to the hiring of Keeler, who has turned this into a Radiers' resurgence year after winning just five games in the past three seasons, including 1-9 in 2010. However, Santa Fe will be without D.J. Powell, a standout option QB, who has missed more of the season with an ACL injury. Without Powell, the Raiders are a run heavy team utilizing the Wing-T formation, including a single T set with direct snaps to the running backs. Though the defense averages 16 points per game against it, Santa Fe has turned mistakes and turnovers into points.
FIVAY (7-3) VS CITRA NORTH MARION (8-2)
WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m./Stan Toole Memorial Stadium, 151 W. Hwy. 329, Citra
COACHES: Chris Taylor (Fivay), Craig Damon (North Marion)
LAST WEEK: Inverness Citrus 28 Fivay 20 ; Citra North Marion 48, St. Cloud 14
LAST MEETING: First meeting
NEED TO KNOW: The Falcons face a tall task going into their Class 5A-Region 2 quarterfinal matchup vs. North Marion. The Colts have up to six Division-I prospects on the team and the closest resemblance to a North Marion within Pasco County would be Pasco, which features several potential D-I players. Fivay, though, had a tough time with the Pirates in a 59-6 loss in Dade City and the Falcons will be hard pressed to keep up with the high-powered North Marion offense, but do have some weapons to combat the Colts. Running back Kyrie Rodriguez, who only carried the six times for 75 yards vs. Citrus last week, will be counted upon to carry a much heavier load against North Marion. The workhorse back has carried the ball 169 times for 1,071 yards and eight scores. Fivay quarterback Tyler Degen also has put together a very nice season as the junior signal-caller has completed 107 of 170 attempts for 1,248 yards and 16 touchdowns. Degen's main go-to-guy has been clutch senior wide receiver James Bullock, who caught 51 passes for 603 yards and scored seven touchdowns and also watch out for 6-foot-4 tight end Kevin Faulkner (16 catches, 259 yards). Fivay's defense will be led by Ridgewood transfer Brice Sessler (121 tackles) and Jordan Wisner (90 tackles). Sessler leads the team in sacks with four and cornerback Andrew Meyer leads the team in interceptions with four on the year. ... North Marion has an impressive resume of wins, including a 23-20 season-opening victory over Ocala Trinity Catholic and comes in with one of the most powerful rushing attacks in central Florida, led by Jamie Gilmore, who has rushed for 1,497 yards, including 174 yards in last week's 48-14 win against St. Cloud. The Colts not only are loaded in the ground game, but through the air as well with Florida commitment Latroy Pittman (21 catches, 399 yards) at wide receiver and tight end and USF commitment Sean Price (22 catches, 424 yards). North Marion's well oiled offense goes through quarterback Chase Tuten, who has thrown for 897 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Colts have been very stingy defensively throughout the season, totaling 22 sacks and intercepted opposing quarterbacks 14 times.
CLASS 6A-REGION 2
SUNLAKE (9-1) AT OCALA VANGUARD (7-3)
WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 p.m./Vanguard Booster Stadium, 7 NW 28th St., Ocala
COACHES: Bill Browning (Sunlake), Alex Castaneda (Vanguard)
LAST GAME: Sunlake 54, Gulf 7; Ocala Forest 17, Vanguard 14
LAST MEETING: First meeting
NEED TO KNOW: Sunlake, making its first playoff appearance, will be matched up against a playoff-tested opponent in the regional quarterfinals. Vanguard has made the playoffs three consecutive years and is 3-2 during that span. Last season the Knights won two postseason games before falling to eventual state champion Jefferson in last season's Class 3A region final. Both teams are defense-oriented. Sunlake allowed 14 points or less in eight games, while Vanguard did it seven times. The Seahawks' offense is better statistically, especially in the passing game with Cameron Stoltz throwing for 1,428 yards and 25 TDs. … Vanguard, however, has a huge edge in strength of schedule and experience in tough games. Six of the Knights' 10 opponents made the playoffs, and are a combined 53-37 in games not counting Vanguard. Sunlake played one playoff team in the regular season and those opponents went 35-55 in games not against the Seahawks.