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November 14, 2012

Class 4A Preview - All eight games

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Continuing our in-depth look at the 2012 Florida High School Athletic Association post-season, we break down the class 4A race to Orlando.

The defending champ - Jacksonville Bolles and runner-up Miami Washington are back and expected to challenge for the title.

All eyes week one will be in Yulee as Derrick Henry goes for the nationall all-time rushing record. But don't forget about some other great games - including Raines at South Sumter.

The Raiders are the sleeper - even though South Sumter is the only 10-0 team in the 4A playoffs. Keep your eye on the usual supsects in the south, Cocoa and Booker T.

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West Nassau at East Gadsden

The Skinny: A rematch of last year's first round game - where East Gadsden bounced the Warriors in a first round 33-21 and faced off with Yulee. West Nassau runs the double-wing and multiple sets - which usually gives teams fits to adjust to. East Gadsden has the speed to counter. This one might be a high scoring affair. East Gadsden lost early and late in the season, losing to Niceville and Walton. West Nassau comes in 4-6.

Prediction: EAST GADSDEN

Taylor County at Yulee The Skinny: The stage couldn't be any bigger for this one - with Alabama-bound RB Derrick Henry going for the national career rushing record (officially) held by Sugarland, TX RB Ken Hall. Henry needs just over 100 yards - which would be an average quarter for him the way he's been running. Taylor County is under first-year coach Ryan Smith and knocked off Marianna to get here. The Bulldogs have faced a tough schedule, and some speedy teams - but nothing like what they'll see Friday against Yulee and Henry.
Prediction: YULEE

Mount Dora at Bolles

The Skinny: The Hurricanes are 8-2 and in the post-season looking to start a tradition for the Lake County squad. Unfortunately, the first opponent for Mount Dora, is 11-time state champion Jacksonville Bolles. Mount Dora has never won a playoff game and the Bulldogs are not the team to face when one thinks of starting a streak. However, Bolles is banged up from a tough regular season and anything can happen.

Prediction: BOLLES

Raines at South Sumter The Skinny: This may very well be the best game in the bracket - with the fast Raines Viking offense taking on a stingy South Sumter defense. For all the talk of the Raiders being 10-0 - the question remains - who have they played? Raines will be a quick answer for Raider fans should the boys from Bushnell come out victorious. It will also be a great momentum builder for South Sumter - which would have to travel to Bolles if both teams win. So this is likely the Raiders only home game of the post-season.
Prediction: RAINES

Clewiston at Cooca The Skinny: Both teams started slow and both teams gained momentum as the season went on. Clewiston and Cocoa - both steeped in tradition and loaded with talent. The Tigers travel to Cocoa to face the home-standing Tigers and dare we say - but we see a Tiger victory in this one (kinda corny, ain't it.) Cocoa has most definitely righted the ship after starting 0-2. A early-season matchup with Hillsborough could have made the Tigers 0-3. Clewiston also started on an 0-4 slide, but won four of the last six.
Prediction: COCOA

Jones at Dunbar The Skinny:Two very evenly matched teams face off. Both teams went down last week in close games, and both teams have speed to burn. WR's Levonte Whitfield (Jones - Florida State) and Johnell Barnes (Dunbar - Duke) will be worth the price of admission - just to see these two run pass patterns. It will be interesting to see who can score the most points. Jones has looked bad at times - getting blown out by Booker T. Washington. Dunbar has score 34 or more points in all of its eight wins.
Prediction: JONES

Gulliver Prep at Inlet Grove

The Skinny: Inlet Grove has been up and down all year. Either the offense is clicking or it's not - there's no in-between. Gulliver Prep has the post-season experience and the battle-tested fortitude to take it on the road and get another shot at Booker T. Washington. The Wolverines come in with a 5-5 record, but four of those losses came at the hands of playoff teams. It will be interesting to see which Inlet Grove team shows up.


North Broward Prep at Booker T. Washington The Skinny: : Unfinished business - that's the mantra being repeated as Booker T. Washington starts its quest to get back to Orlando. The Tornados had a sizeable lead on Jacksonville Bolles in the fourth quarter and simply fell apart. Other than the same thing happening in week two of the season against 6A power Miami Central, Booker T. has been nearly unstoppable. North Broward Prep will have to contain a high octane offense and a fly-to-the-ball defense. The tornado warnings have been issued - a storm is heading for 4A
Prediction: WASHINGTON

* * Discuss your thoughts of the games on our Football Central message forum.


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