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The Pasco County Football Player of the Week

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QB Jaxson Rivera, Sr., Zephyrhills

The second-year starter is used to scoring. After all, Jaxson Rivera does it as a quarterback — and a kicker. 

As a senior, Rivera is having the best season of his high school career. He already has 1,071 yards and 15 touchdowns, both career highs. And has made 28 of his 30 extra points. 

Most of all, Rivera knows how to win. 

Since taking over in the second game last season, Rivera is 16-3 as a starting quarterback. 

Two weeks ago, Rivera had perhaps his best performance of the season, throwing for 262 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Nature Coast. 

Fans were impressed. Rivera received 46 percent of the votes (465) in the Pasco County football player of the week poll to beat out Anclote’s Quinton Moore, who had 32 percent (329 votes). 

Football

Friday football forecast — Nov. 26

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Region finals

Class 7A

Wharton (9-2) at Tampa Bay Tech (12-0), 7:30

For preview of the game click here

Fans’ pick: Tampa Bay Tech (69 percent/49 votes)

Putnam’s prediction: Tampa Bay Tech 21-20

Class 6A

Hillsborough (10-2) at Jesuit (12-0), 7:30

For preview of the game click here.

Fans’ pick: Jesuit (73 percent/52 votes)

Putnam’s prediction: Jesuit 21-7

Class 5A

Sebring (8-3) at Clearwater (11-1), 7:30

For preview of the game click here.

Fans’ pick: Clearwater (76 percent/54 votes)

Putnam’s prediction: Clearwater 28-21

Class 4A

Clewiston (8-2) at Lakewood (10-2), 7:30

For preview of the game click here.

Fans’ pick: Lakewood (89 percent/63 votes)

Putnam’s prediction: Lakewood 22-17

Class 3A

Clearwater Central Catholic (8-3) at Berkeley Prep (10-0), 7:30

For preview of the game click here.

Fans’ pick: Berkeley Prep (75 percent/53 votes)

Putnam’s prediction: Berkeley Prep 28-24

Class 2A

Zephyrhills Christian (9-2) at Orlando Christian Prep (9-1), 7:30

For preview of the game click here.

Fans’ pick: Zephyrhills Christian (58 percent/41 votes)

Putnam’s prediction: Zephyrhills Christian 21-19

Northside Christian (7-2) at Naples First Baptist (9-1), 7:30

For preview of the game click here.

Fans’ pick: Northside Christian (66 percent/47 votes)

Putnam’s prediction: Naples First Baptist 35-21

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Football

Football: Wharton at Tampa Bay Tech preview

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7A region final

Wharton (9-2) at Tampa Bay Tech (12-0), 7:30

This is a rematch from a regular season game the Titans won 21-12. That win not only clinched the district title for Tampa Bay Tech but also helped the program go undefeated in the regular season for the first time. The Titans schedule included nine games against teams that made the playoffs. Playing — and beating — such tough competition is the reason why Tampa Bay Tech earned the top overall seed in 7A based on RPI rankings.  The offense has displayed some nice balance with more than 2,000 yards rushing and passing this season. Quarterback Xavione Washington, a transfer from Tampa Catholic, took over as the starter and had played well down the stretch, throwing for 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions the last seven games. Defensively, the Titans are led up front with a furious pass rush that has recorded 38 sacks this season. The Wildcats are road warriors. They have won all road the past two seasons under coach Mike Williams, including two straight in the playoffs so far to reach the region final. Wharton’s strength is its defense, which has allowed just 93 points all season and has posted four shutouts. Last week, the Wildcats stymied Lehigh’s five-star running back Richard Young, who held to his lowest rushing total of the season. Wharton’s defensive playmakers also have a knack for finding the end zone once they get their hands on the ball. The Wildcats have scored a whopping 12 defensive touchdowns this season (five fumble returns, seven interception returns). 

Stat leaders

CategoryWhartonTampa Bay Tech
Passing yardsCarson Mohler, 947 (10 TDs, 5 INTs)Xavione Washington, 1,932 (19 TDs, 7 INTs)
Rushing yardsArkese Parks, 570 yards (7 TDs)James Evans, 917 yards (14 TDs)
Receiving yardsJason Cornwall, 227 (2 TDs)Greg Gaines III, 741 yards (9 TDs)
TacklesCameron Campbell, 92Ed Gwinn, 78
SacksBooker Pickett Jr., 19Keyon Clark, 15
InterceptionsTwo players tied with four. Two players tied with three.
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Football

Football: Hillsborough at Jesuit preview

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Class 6A

Hillsborough (10-2) at Jesuit (12-0), 7:30

This a rematch from a regular season game the Tigers won 28-7. Jesuit has stayed perfect and is now ranked No. 12 in the nation by MaxPreps. Another win and the Tigers will be in the state semifinals for the fourth straight season and the sixth time in the past seven seasons. Defensively, Jesuit has ranked among the best in the state, allowing just 85 points this season and posting six shutouts, including five straight from Oct. 15-Nov. 12. On offense, the Tigers’ Junior Vandeross has turned it up a notch, scoring at least two touchdowns in three of the last four games, including four in last week’s win over Braden River. Since losing to Jesuit, the Terriers have won eight straight. They have had to make adjustments along the way. Starting quarterback Caleb Pierce went down with an injury midway through the season. Shaun Joshi took over and has led Hillsborough to six straight wins. The Terriers also have some balance on offense thanks to depth in the running game. Four players have rushed for more than 400 yards this season. Defensively, Hillsborough has been tough, allowing seven points or less in seven of their past eight games. 

Stat leaders

CategoryHillsboroughJesuit
Passing yardsShaun Joshi, 936 (11 TDs, 4 INTs)Luke Knight, 1,818 (23 TDs, 5 INTs)
Rushing yardsJordaan Bailey, 677 (4 TDs)Joquez Smith, 1,541 (23 TDs)
Receiving yardsJordaan Bailey, 365 (4 TDs)Junior Vandeross, 666 (7 TDs)
TacklesJoeseph Sipp Jr., 111AJ Cottrill, 92
SacksJustin Anderson, 6Wayne Quin, 6
InterceptionsLaterrian Hicks, 4Two players tied with two.
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