Could it be … it’s the last week of the high school football regular season?!? For teams that won’t qualify for the playoffs or a bowl game … this is it. The final act. En finito.
Week 11 features games that will feel like a playoff game, an inter-county matchup for bragging rights, and other chances to end the year on a positive note.
St. Cloud (6-3) at Lakeland Victory Christian (7-1), 7 p.m.: Sitting in 9th place in Class 7A Region 2, the Bulldogs have to get the win to get in the playoffs right at the wire. “It’s playoffs or bust,” Coach Bryan Smart said.
They’re in this position after a dominant 48-7 win last week over Harmony. Romeo Medina caught seven passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns, Garhett King scored on two short touchdown runs and Craig Chapman scored on a 70-yard run. They’ll need to dominate again Friday against a Storm team that features a 1,000-yard running back (junior Cornelius Shaw) in just eight games. (Note: The game is at Southeastern University)
Liberty (1-8) at Celebration (3-6), 7 p.m.: Somebody gets to close the season with a win, and if it’s Liberty, its ends on a two-game winning streak — look at what end-of-year momentum did for St. Cloud this year (won last four of 2018 and first five of 2019). For the Storm it’d be just the third season with four or more wins this decade, and Friday is the last chance to see senior quarterback Will Bohn, who’s among the county leaders in passing and rushing.
Haines City (0-9) at Tohopekaliga (5-4), 7 p.m.: After big wins over Harmony (28-7) and Celebration (51-8), do the Tigers have one more in them to finish the regular season on a three-game win streak and get to 6-4 in just their second season? We’re hearing THS is gearing up for a bowl game against an Orange County school next week; a win against a rebuilding Hornets team would provide momentum going into that.
Lake Brantley (6-3) at Harmony (2-7), 7:30 p.m.: A game set up last year against two likely playoff teams, but it hasn’t been in the cards for the Longhorns this year. The Patriots feature a pounding Wing-T running attack behind quarterback oah Hudak and senior 1,200-yard rusher Travis Lesko. Harmony counters with tough linebackers Elijah Gunn, Juan Gomez, Gibson Gaston and defensive end Remi Barrios, who led a defense that’s averaged 10 tackles for loss per game.
Gateway (0-9) at Olympia (3-6), 7 p.m.: The Panthers get one more shot to get a victory in 2019, and it’s all-everything weapon Phillip Bangura’s last game in the silver and black before heading into the college recruiting game. The Titans are looking to snap a three-game losing streak of their own.
Osceola closed its regular season with an 8-1 record thanks to a convincing 35-17 win over Lake Nona last week that earned the Kowboys their ninth consecutive district championship. On a bye this week, OHS awaits its Class 8A playoff opponent next week, likely Lithia Newsome (8-2), which is also on a bye this week.