An answer to the paradox of what happens when an immovable object meets an irresistible force may finally be answered on Friday night when Osceola, with one of the best rushing defenses in the entire state, goes on the road to meet Newsome, possessing one of the region’s best running games, in a Class 8A, Region 3 Quarterfinal Playoff game. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Newsome, behind the inside/outside running game of Jason Albritton and JC Roque, is averaging more than 243 yards per game on the ground, as the Wolves finished the regular season with an 8-2 record– including a perfect 4-0 mark in District 10 play.

Albritton has run for 1258 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging more than six yards a carry. Roque, who often lines up on the wing, is a speedster who is explosive on both jet sweeps and while catching the ball out of the backfield. He is also a threat on kick returns. Roque has amassed more than 1100 all-purpose yards and has scored a dozen touchdowns.

They will face a Kowboys defense that has been near impossible to run on this season. Although Osceola gave up a season-high 112 yards rushing on 26 carries last week against University, teams have gained just 338 yards rushing on 231 carries this season against the Kowboys – averaging just 1.5 yards per carry for the season. Eight times this season, Osceola has held teams to less than 50 net yards rushing for the game.

“No question the outcome is going to come down to stopping the run,” Osceola Head Coach Eric Pinellas said. “Newsome is a really talented and well-coached team. I would not say they are one-dimensional, though because their quarterback throws the ball pretty good, but the running game has been their bread and butter all season, and shutting that down is going to be a key for us.”

Newsome’s quarterback Christian Bishop has thrown for 856 yards and nine touchdowns this season but 233 yards and four of those touchdowns have come from Roque out of the backfield. “He’s fast and explosive,” Pinellas added. “If he gets a crack he can take it a long way.”

Defensively, the Wolves have been solid. They are allowing just 12 points a game and have given up 20 or more points just twice this season. Key players on defense are defensive end Travis Jandrlich (6 sacks), corner Amir Austin (5 interceptions), and outside linebacker Caden Huffman, who leads Newsome in both tackles (76) and tackles-for-loss (11.5).

Despite being held to season-low in points (13), total yards (171), and rushing yards (140) last week, it should be noted the Kowboys’ 13-8 win came in a torrential downpour. For the season, the Kowboys are averaging 40 points per game with a balanced attack that has seen Osceola throw for almost 1600 yards and 19 touchdowns; while rushing for more than 200 yards a game with 31 touchdowns. The Kowboys have also scored 10 touchdowns on defense and special teams.

Friday’s game will mark the second consecutive year Osceola has met Newsome on the road in the post-season. Last year, the Kowboys prevailed, 17-7, in the regional final. Pinellas believes that experience will be helpful. “They have a different quarterback but a lot of the same personnel from last year and they run the same basic double-wing offense. We played them last year combined with the fact that we used to run a similar offense means our defense should be well-versed in what they will try to do. As has been the case all year, we need to stick to our plan and eliminate turnovers and penalties.”

If the Kowboys win, they will meet the winner of the Durant (8-2) at West Orange (9-1) game in a Regional Semifinal. West Orange handed Osceola one of its two losses this season, winning 35-21 three weeks ago.

Celebration clinched just its second winning season in the school’s 18-year history with a 35-21 win over Gateway. Junior running back sensation Oneil Senatus rushed for 277 yards and three touchdowns and added two receptions for 57 yards and another score — adding to his single-season school records of 1654 rushing yards, 2185 all-purpose yards and 25 total touchdowns. The Storm can match their season record of seven wins when they take on Freedom High School (6-4) in a post-season bowl game on Friday night. Freedom is led offensively by a pair of former Osceola Kowboys in quarterback Blake Birchler and running back Rashaun Dudley. Gateway wrapped its season with a 2-8 record. The Panthers will have some talented players returning next fall including RB/DB Laquavion Pinellas and DE Jamare Owens.

Liberty made it 15 in a row and remained unbeaten in the annual Battle of the Boulevards with a 48-0 win over Poinciana (1-9). The Chargers finish their first season under Brett Munroe with a solid 5-5 record, with three of those losses coming by a total of eight points. “We had 11 kids show up for our first workout this summer and the numbers grew to 45,” Munroe noted. “I would call the season a success and was proud of how the kids finished the season, as we move forward we need to understand how important every play is. We finished 5-5 but if we have four or five more plays it could have been an 8-2 season.”

Tohopekaliga (2-8) ended its season with a 40-0 loss to Lake Nona. The Tigers, who were hampered with a number of losses from graduation and transfers from last season, also had to deal with injuries and numerous Covid-tracing issues this season. They were shut out six times and outscored 412-62 in the season.

Harmony (5-4) had its last game of the season at New Smyrna Beach canceled due to severe rain and unplayable field conditions. The Longhorns will return the vast majority of its starters on both sides of the ball next year, including quarterback Ayden Parks, running back Cooper Richards, and Player-of-the-Year candidate Tyler Emans (1367 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns).

St. Cloud (3-6) also had its season finale with Winter Springs (1-7) wiped out by rain. The Bulldogs were hampered this season with no starters returning on offense, covid-tracing issues, injuries, and multiple game suspensions resulting from an altercation with Sebastian River. Still, St. Cloud finished strong with a 31-30 upset of Harmony in the Soldier City Classic. The Bulldogs should be much improved next year, as freshman quarterback Logan King will have three more years of eligibility.