East Lake (5-4) at Clearwater (6-3)
Other than racking up another win, East Lake’s victory last week win over Seminole didn’t do much in terms of its power ranking point average.
Class 7A Region 3 is being dominated by two leagues: District 7A-9 and District 7A-11. The way things look, both will send three teams each into the postseason. Only eight teams advance from each classification’s four regions. Adding in league champs from District 7A-10 (Pinellas Park) and District 7A-12 (Riverdale), that leaves no room for any other non-champ hopefuls.
Considering fellow District 7A-10 foe St. Petersburg takes on fellow Region 3 opponent Braden River this Friday, the Green Devils leapfrog East Lake as having the better shot at sneaking into the bracket. Every opponent on every team’s schedule, however, can change categories and point values with each win or loss. That makes predicting power ranking averages difficult.
Clearwater may be in a similar predicament after failing to secure the District 6A-9 championship last week at Largo. The Tornadoes lost 39-27 and likely now need to get in as an at-large. A win over East Lake should secure one of the final four spots. A loss would probably be enough to allow another region contender to jump ahead.
Northeast (4-5) at Countryside (5-4)
Countryside probably needed to pull off the upset at Pinellas Park to get itself into the playoffs for the first time since winning the District 7A-10 title. That didn’t happen and beating Northeast to get to 6-4 overall probably won’t be enough to sneak in.
In terms of depth, Region 3 may have the most quality teams of the four Class 7A regions when it comes to power ranking averages. That’s not a good thing for Countryside’s outside chances.
Northeast won’t be playing past Week 11, either, but a win at Countryside allows the Vikings to avoid a sub-.500 season for the third straight year. Vikings coach Jeremy Frioud will have his players ready to go no matter what.
Mitchell (7-2) at Tarpon Springs (5-4)
Tarpon Springs wasn’t able to upset Lakewood for the District 5A-9 championship last week but that doesn’t mean the postseason is out of the question.
Had the season ended prior to last Friday’s game, the Spongers would have been in with the sixth-best power ranking average in the Class 5A Region 3 field. Playing a team with a good record like Mitchell is a benefit in Week 11. Even a loss will garner 38 points, which is greater than Tarpon Springs’ current power ranking average. An upset win provides 53 points and would guarantee advancement and potentially the district title if Lakewood falls to Largo this week.
The Spongers, Lakewood and Gibbs enter Friday in a three-way tie atop the District 5A-9 standings. The old system would set up a three-way playoff game settled on the field. The new system simply gives the team with the better power ranking average the championship.
Dunedin (0-9) at Palm Harbor University (2-7)
Both rebuilding programs will put an end to their seasons Friday night at PHU.
The Hurricanes won two of their first four games before dropping their last five in a row. Playing in a highly competitive league like District 8A-6 made life challenging once again, but PHU has the opportunity to end on a high note Friday.
Dunedin has been unable to end its lengthy losing streak that dates back to 2014, but they’ve been a more-competitive team compared to last year. That’s progress and that’s something.