We have reached the playoff round of high school football throughout the state of Florida and for the first time in Hernando County history, all five teams will be involved with the postseason. You heard that right. From Nature Coast to Central, each team will have a chance to hit the reset button and see what they can do in the playoffs. The Sharks ended the regular season undefeated at 7-0, but have a tough first-round opponent. The Leopards have been getting stellar performances from running back Contae Cason, but can he keep it up? Plenty of storylines and so much to write about heading into the playoffs for 2020, let’s take a quick look again at the matchups, picks to click and our final Top 5 poll of the season.
Orlando Bishop Moore (4-2) at Nature Coast (7-0): One of the more even matchups of the opening round will take place over at the ‘Shark Tank’ when Nature Coast hosts Orlando Bishop Moore. The Sharks haven’t lost all season long and look to move forward with a win over the Hornets.
Pick: Nature Coast
Zephyrhills (6-2) at Weeki Wachee (3-4): Coming off a 56-21 loss to Nature Coast, now Week Wachee must pull it together when they face a Zephyrhills team that has won six straight games. After losing to Tampa Catholic and Tampa Sickles to start the season, the Bulldogs have ripped off six straight wins.
Hernando (6-1) at Tarpon Springs (1-7): For some of the wacky home and away combos, this would be one of them, as the Leopards will travel south to take on the Spongers. Tarpon Springs has won 1 game all season long and it was a 16-0 victory over New Port Richey Gulf.
Holiday Anclote (2-7) at Central (0-5): In a play-in game to decide whether either team moves ahead, Central will take on Holiday Anclote. The Bears have yet to score a point all season long, while the Sharks are coming off a 26-20 loss to Keswick Christian.
Pick: Holiday Anclote
Clearwater Countryside (6-3) at Springstead (1-3): Now the Eagles are starting to find their stride as they’ve played just four games, the least amount by any Hernando County team. Now Springstead faces a streaking Cougars club that has won three in a row.
Pick: Clearwater Countryside
Top 5 Poll
1. Nature Coast (7-0): This pick is about as easy as it gets. Leopards haven’t lost all season long and rolled past Weeki Wachee in the regular-season finale.
2. Hernando (6-1): No doubt the Leopards posed the biggest threat to unseating Nature Coast as the No. 1 team in the county, but a head to head loss leaves them at No. 2.
3. Weeki Wachee (3-4): Yes, the Hornets have maybe dropped off a bit but now they’ll have a chance to right the wrongs when they host Zephyrhills in a playoff game.
4. Springstead (1-3): The Eagles have had the least amount of time on the field compared with any other team. Now they’ll buckle up for a Pinellas County foe, as Clearwater Countryside will make the drive up.
5. Central (0-5): The Bears are in the playoffs. That’s a line we’ve been waiting to say for quite awhile. They’re technically in a play-in game, but kudos to Central for making it through a tough 2020 campaign.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.