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November 14, 2012

Class 3A Preview: Breaking it down

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Continuing our in-depth look at the 2012 Florida High School Athletic Association post-season, we break down the class 3A playoffs Both defending champ American Heritage-Delray and runner-up Madison County made the post-season. Some have speculated that the 'state title game' may be played next week in south Florida - and we'll get to that.

There's not a lot of 'new blood' in this division. Perhaps one of the most intriguing matchups is unbeaten First Academy against Fort White. The Indians have played a pretty tough schedule and may pull the upset.

With all the hype surrouunding American Heritage-Delray and University School - and their anticpated second-round matchup - don't forget there are still eight teams in the north that will battle for the right to face the heir apparent.

In the north, there's the usual suspects - Madison County and Trinity Christian. Our 'darkhorse' in this class has got to be Trinity Catholic - yes, that Trinity Catholic. The Celtics are 6-4 on the field but have really stepped up their game. We're not saying that Clearwater Central Catholic or Fort Meade don't have a shot against American Heritage-University - but Pinkos and LAZ are.

If you're looking for a sleeper in the south - take Chaminade Prep. The Lions gave U-school a handful until the game got away from them.

Untitled Document
Providence at Madison County

The Skinny: Other than a fourth-quarter loss to Gainesville, Madison County has - once again - been relatively unstoppable this year. The Cowboys remember last year's 30-3 embarrassment in Orlando and want another shot. Standing in the way are some pretty good teams, starting with Providence. The Stallions have a passing offense that may give Madison a challenge (like Gainesville) and will try to control the tempo of the game. Providence had Madison County tied 6-6 late in the first half earlier in the year, but depth became an issue - and the Stallions lost 48-6. Playing at Boot Hill presents a challenge for most visiting teams.

vs
PROVIDENCE
MADISON COUNTY
Prediction: MADISON COUNTY

Pensacola Catholic at Trinity Christian The Skinny: The longest road trip of the post-season - week 1 - takes place when the Crusaders and QB Cody Henry travel to Jacksonville to face Oshay Carter and the Trinity Christian Conquerors. Trinity is riding an eight game winning streak, with the only loss coming at the hands of unbeaten St. Augustine. Pensacola Catholic took Madison to overtime before falling 29-28. It should be an offensive display, and a big test for Henry - facing off with a Trinity secondary that has been very good against the pass.
vs
PENSACOLA CATHOLIC
TRINITY CHRISTIAN
Prediction: TRINITY CHRISTIAN

Melbourne Central Catholic at Trinity Catholic

The Skinny: The Trinity Catholic Celtics are -once again - at home in the first round and take on Melbourne Central Catholic. The Hustlers edged out Holy Trinity 22-21 to take second in their district, while Trinity won its two-team district with a 21-19 win over Fort White. Both teams have been up and down all season, but FlaVarsity analyst John Patton says keep your eye on the Celtics - who may be peaking at the right time. All four of Trinity's on-field losses have come to playoff teams.

vs
MELBOURNE CENTRAL CATHOLIC
TRINITY CATHOLIC
Prediction: TRINITY CATHOLIC

Fort White at First Academy The Skinny: Quietly, First Academy has put together a 10-0 record. At least the Royals were 'under the radar' until a 45-41 offensive shootout with Jones last Friday. That game showed more than anything the explosiveness of the Royals and the ability to play with anyone. First Academy averages 48 points a game and will take on a Fort White team that has been battle-tested, with wins over Newberry (1A), Taylor County (4A) and losses to Wakulla (5A), and Union County (1A), the Indians have played a formidable schedule and that may make the difference.
vs
FORT WHITE
FIRST ACADEMY
Prediction: FIRST ACADEMY

Frostproof at Clearwater Central Catholic The Skinny: The Bulldogs have a penchant for pulling a first-round upset and this one might be the time - or not. Clearwater Central Catholic enters the game with a nine-game winning streak, and only a loss to 8A playoff team East Lake. The Marauders' offense has been a scoring machine, averaging 38 points in the last three games while the defense has dealt out three straight shutouts. If Frostproof is going to pull the upset, the 'Dogs have to control the tempo and keep the CCC offense off the field.
vs
FROSTPROOF
CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Prediction: CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC

Tampa Catholic at Fort Meade The Skinny: Tampa Catholic started the season hot, but has simmered - losing three of the last five games - scoring just 24 points in those three losses. Fort Meade has played a typical Polk County football schedule, and has losses to district champions Ridge Community (7A) and Auburndale (6A). Fort Meade has the defense to slow down Zach Benjamin and company and if Devin McCalebb and the Miners control the tempo, it may be yet another long night for Tampa Catholic.
vs
TAMPA CATHOLIC
FORT MEADE
Prediction: FORT MEADE

Chaminade Prep at American Heritage Delray

The Skinny: It's likely that no one in small school football (1-4A) has faced a tougher schedule than American Heritage-Delray. The defending champs opened with Atlantic (7A district champs), knocked off Armwood (6A), Glades Central (5A) Cardinal Newman (3A) West Monroe, LA and Dwyer(7A runner-up). If Chaminade wants to pull the giant upset, the Lions will have to score - and that's something that only Armwood has done on the Stallions more than once. Chaminade is no slouch, with wins over playoff teams Gulliver Prep (4A), Village Academy (2A), Champagnat (2A) and Archbishop McCarthy (6A). In fact, Chaminade played University almost even into the fourth quarter before the Suns pulled away. If Jim Carrey were breaking this game down - he'd say 'So you're saying there's a chance?'... yes - but it's going to take a monumental effort and an error free game by Chaminade.

vs
CHAMINADE PREP
AMERICAN HERITAGE-DELRAY
Prediction: AMERICAN HERITAGE-DELRAY

Cardinal Newman at University School The Skinny: : The only two things standing in the way of the epic matchup between University School and American Heritage-Delray are Cardinal Newman and Chaminade Prep. Like the Lions, the Crusaders will have to play flawless football - something they did not do in a 42-0 loss to American Heritage earlier in the year. University has been simply dominant of every team its played. The Suns have some of the best talent in the state - period and are capable of staying on the field with anyone. There are multiple weapons to choose from for the Suns and Cardinal Newman will have to play 'lights out' to pull the upset.
vs
CARDINAL NEWMAN
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL
Prediction: UNIVERSITY



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