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November 13, 2011

Class 2A playoffs - previewing the first round

2A North - First round

University Christian at North Florida Christian
An Eighties playoff rivalry - these two schools battled routinely in the latter 80's and early 90's. It was NFC that turned in University in 2005 for using two ineligible players and resulted in Port St. Joe advancing to the state championship. That was the last time these two played. Matt Dobson and the Eagles look to continue their perfect season. DB Dwayne Norman will attempt to stop him.

FAMU at Eagles View Academy
Eagles View continues to play great football - inspired by the battle that head coach Ryan Keith is fighting against Lou Gehrig's Disease. The Warriors are averaging 38 points a game while giving up 12. Led by senior Josh Gates and sophomore QB D.J. Gillins (who threw for 372 yards last week against Hilliard), the Warriors will have to counter FAMU's overall team speed. The Baby Rattlers have two losses - but those two were the last two games - in which they gave up 84 points while scoring only six.

Lake Mary Prep at Warner Christian
The Eagles chose to play a tough front-end schedule, losing to 8A Sandalwood, 4A Cocoa and 7A Pine Ridge by a combined score of 108-9 but since then have been cruising. Three years in a row the Eagles have gotten to the state title game only to fall short. To take the first step, they've got to knock off Lake Mary Prep. Led by Taylor Oldham, Warner Christian is looking to make it four years in a row. Lake Mary Prep also scores almost 35 points a game and wants to make a statement.

St. John Lutheran at Victory Christian
The St. John Lutheran Saints started the season 7-0 and stumbled from there. Giving up 137 points in the last three games, including a 69-51 loss to Oak Hall. If the Saints want to extend their season, they'll have to turn around a defense that has struggled of late. Victory Christian opened the season with losses to 2A south playoff rival Admiral Farragut Academy and 3A power Berkeley Prep. After that, the Storm have been a category 4... scoring less than 34 points only once. This one will be interesting because of the two offenses. Demeitre Brim is the player to watch in this one.

Predicted winners: North Florida Christian, Eagles View Academy, Warner Christian, Victory Christian

2A South - First round

St. John Neumann at Canterbury
The Celtics of St. John Neumann travel to face a Canterbury team that had a hiccup along the way. Somehow the Cougars lost to a 3-7 Bradenton Christian team - but managed to finish the season 9-1 and have won their last three games by a combined score of 139-7. The Celtics haven't played since losing to Evangelical Christian 41-12 on November 4. Look for Brent O'Neal to lead the way for the Cougars.

Admiral Farragut Academy at Evangelical Christian
Another very good game - with the one-loss Blue Jackets of AFA traveling to Fort Myers to face the Sentinels. Evangelical Christian has quietly put together a 10-0 season and has had the last two weeks to prepare for the first round game. AFA lost 12-10 to Canterbury and has ripped off seven straight wins since. Like Evangelical, AFA is well rested, taking the final week of the season as its open week. This may be the best first-round game in 2A.

Champagnat Catholic at Glades Day
Glades Day is the defending 1B champion that moved up to 2A after the restructuring. The Gators feature Kelvin Taylor who broke Emmitt Smith's career rushing record last week. Champagnat is a relative newcomer to the football playing world and will be tested long and hard by the now-healthy Gators. In the Lions' four losses, they were outscored 166-28. This game may get away from Champagnat early if Taylor gets loose.

Jupiter Christian at Dade Christian
Jupiter had its run a few years ago and wants to get back. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they're in the same district with Glades Day. UCF-bound QB Kedric Bostic and ATH Isaiah Nelson are the keys for Jupiter Christian. Bilal Marshall leads the Crusaders, who lost to Darlington (Ga.) High and Immokalee to start the season, but has run off eight straight wins. The Crusaders want to strike quickly and hold the ball after that to keep Jupiter Christian's offense off the field.

Predicted winners: Canterbury, Admiral Farragut, Glades Day, Dade Christian



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