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Football: Monday tiebreaker set to decide 7A-8

Nothing like some good old-fashioned Monday night football.

With East Bay and Plant City winning their district games Friday, a tiebreaker will commence Monday night at 7 at Plant City to decide the Class 7A-District 8 champion and runner-up among the Indians, the Raiders and Strawberry Crest, which all have 3-1 district records.

Earlier this season, East Bay defeated Plant City, but lost to Strawberry Crest. Strawberry Crest then lost to Plant City, leading to the three-way tie.

Per Florida High School Athletic Association rules, in a district tiebreaker, the team with the highest winning percentage is the designated No. 1 seed and will be the host school. Plant City has the best record at 7-2.

Teams will play one full quarter against their bracketed opponents, and each team will be allotted two timeouts per quarter. A 10-yard-line overtime tiebreaker will be implemented if the score is tied at the end of the quarter. East Bay (7-3), the second seed, will play third-seeded Strawberry Crest (6-3) in the first round of the tiebreaker. The winner will play Plant City for the district championship in the second round. The winner of the second-round match is the district champion, but if Plant City loses, the Raiders will face the loser of the East Bay-Strawberry Crest game for the district runner-up spot. The district champion will host Gaither in the 7A region quarterfinals, and the runner-up will travel to Sickles.

Strawberry Crest is going for the first district title in the program’s short history, Plant City is looking for its first since 2006, and East Bay hasn’t won a district title since 1973.

Hillsborough extends winning season streak

With its 41-10 win over Robinson on Friday, Hillsborough (6-3) guaranteed a winning season in 2013. Friday’s game against Tampa Bay Tech is for little more than bragging rights as the Terriers won’t be making a playoff appearance this season. The winning season mark does hold a pretty special mark for Terriers coach Earl Garcia — a county record 22 straight winning seasons for the Terriers. That includes all 21 years of Garcia’s tenure as head coach.

Garcia, who took over at Hillsborough in 1993, has 10 district championships and has made 18 playoff appearances. Both are the most of any current Hillsborough County head coach at one school.

Bloomingdale can still make history

Friday night’s 30-23 loss to Wharton at home was tough for Bloomingdale, which was looking to secure only the second playoff berth in school history.

Though the Bulls will miss the playoffs, the team can still make history with a win against Middleton Friday in the regular-season finale.

“We have an opportunity for the first winning season here without the asterisk by it,” said Bloomingdale head coach John Booth.

Bloomingdale finished the 2008 regular season 6-4, with a forfeit by Spoto giving them the winning record. The Bulls lost in the first round of the playoffs that year to Lakeland.

An accomplishment, yes, but it will be bittersweet for the Bulls.

“It’s disappointing, because our expectations were much higher than that,” Booth said.

Wharton faces a familiar playoff foe

For the third consecutive year, Wharton will travel to Orlando Dr. Phillips for the first round of the playoffs. Dr. Phillips eliminated Wharton from the playoffs in the two previous meetings.

“It’s our third straight year, Dr. Phillips yet again,” said Wharton senior quarterback Chase Litton after Friday’s 30-23 win against Bloomingdale. “Hopefully this go, third time is the charm. They’re probably one of the best teams in the state, but we have a bye week so we have two weeks to prepare for them.”

Litton threw for 404 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s loss at Dr. Phillips.

Top performers

Kameron Daniels, East Bay — The Indians senior defensive end had 3.5 sacks, including a safety, as the Indians topped Durant 10-7, earning a spot in Monday’s three-team playoff tiebreaker.

Noah Johnson, Armwood — The Hawks finished undefeated in one of the toughest districts in the state with a win Friday, as the quarterback passed for 241 yards, rushed for 80 and added three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in the 38-7 win over Chamberlain.

Jeff Keil, Wharton — The Wildcats showed they were a true playoff team, scoring 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to come back and beat Bloomingdale, 30-23 as Keil rushed for three touchdowns and a 2-point conversion in the win.

Caleb Newman, Seffner Christian — In the Crusaders’ 57-0 rout of Seven Rivers, the senior quarterback had a pair of long (72 and 84 yards) rushing touchdowns to go along with three passing TDs.

Ray Ray McCloud III, Sickles — Once again, the Gryphons junior (in case you forgot) put on a show as Sickles captured its first district title behind the running back’s 248 rushing yards and four touchdowns. McCloud now has 1,684 yards on the ground this season and 19 TDs for the 8-1 Gryphons.

Deiondre Porter, Jefferson — The county’s leading passer and second-leading rusher added to his tally with a 56-0 win against Blake on Friday, scoring five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing).

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