Football: Friday Night Rewind — Nov. 20, 2023

Take a look back at last week’s scores and recaps from the region semifinals, then look ahead to Friday’s region finals.


Class 4

For the full MaxPreps bracket click here.

Region 2

Sumner 40, Durant 25

A loss to the Cougars in September prevented the Stingrays from winning a district title and going undefeated in the regular season.

But Sumner knew it had a good at redemption in Friday’s rematch.

After all, Greg Smith III was back in the lineup.

Smith III, a dynamic playmaker, missed the first meeting with an injury. This time, he made an impact, especially in the passing game.

The senior threw for 234 yards and five touchdowns to four different receivers in leading the Stingrays to the region final. He also ran for 58 yards on 10 carries.

Since Smith III returned, Sumner has won five straight games, averaging more than 40 points per contest.

On defense, the Stingrays showed some balance on their pass rush with five different players registering sacks. Despite the pressure, Durant’s Michael Ryan fared well, throwing for 252 yards and two touchdowns. His top target was Damari Styles, who had 11 catches for 118 yards and two scores.

Plant 28, Orlando Dr. Phillips 21 (OT)

After making the region semifinals last season, the Panthers took the next step by getting past the second round against the Panthers.

It was not easy.

The game was tied at halftime — and at the ed of regulation. In overtime, Plant pulled through to extend its win streak to 10 games.

Trey O’Malley completed eight of his nine passes for 41 yards, including an 18-yarder to Tripp Brown for the Panthers’ first score.

Waltez Clark, a Florida commit, did the rest. He ran for 132 yards on 17 carries and scored three touchdowns on the ground, including the game-winner in overtime.

That sets up a region final showdown with Sumner in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal thriller.

Friday’s region final matchup

No. 2 Plant (10-2) at No. 1 Sumner (11-1), 7:30

Class 3

For the full MaxPreps bracket click here.

Region 1

Tampa Bay Tech 27, Armwood 22

The Titans were depleted headed into their showdown against their fiercest rival.

Rod Gainey, a Charlotte commit, missed the game after being ejected for throwing a punch in a quarterfinal win over Neptune Beach Fletcher.

No problem.

The defense, particularly a ball-hawking secondary, compensated for that loss.

Tampa Bay Tech recorded five interceptions, including two each by Rukeem Stroud and Se’an Sheffield. They also had a knack for finding the end zone with Stroud and Sheffield each returning picks for scores.

Still, the Titans had to hold on to win.

Down 27-16, Armwood made a furiously rally, scoring once to cut the deficit to six, then recovering the onside kick. On the final drive, the Hawks drove to Tampa Bay Tech’s 19-yard line before the drive ended with an interception in the end zone.

On offense, Xzavier Jackson led the Titans, throwing for 230 yards and two touchdowns.

The win helped Tampa Bay Tech avenge a loss to Armwood earlier this season.

Friday’s area region final matchup

No. 4 Orlando Jones (9-3) at No. 2 Tampa Bay Tech (10-2), 7:30

Region 2

Gaither 16, Largo 0

The Cowboys came in with a high-scoring offense that averaged 36 points per game.

But it was their defense that once again delivered in the postseason.

Gaither, which recorded its second shutout of the season, has allowed just 14 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

It didn’t take long for the Cowboys to seize control. Ladainian Ferrell returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Elija Mason scored on a 1-yard run for a 13-0 halftime lead. Vasilios Fotopoulos rounded out the scoring with a 31-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Mason finished with 145 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Defensively, Antonio Henley wreaked havoc, recording 11 tackles and six sacks for Gaither.

Since starting 1-4, the Cowboys have won six of its last seven games.

Jesuit 38, Northeast 7

The Tigers are one win away from making the state semifinals for the sixth straight season and eighth time in the past nine seasons.

That streak could continue based on Jesuit’s performance through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Thanks to a fast start, the Tigers cruised against the Vikings.

Led by the passing combination of quarterback Will Griffin and Willy Suarez, Jesuit went to halftime with a 38-0 lead.

Griffin, a sophomore, completed 18 of his 22 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns. He now owns the school record for most passing yards in a season with 3,145.

Three of Griffin’s scores went to Suarez, who now has 13 receiving touchdowns, tying the season school record set by Curt Suchan in 1967. Suarez, a senior, finished with 150 receiving yards and added a touchdown on the ground.

Friday’s area region final matchup

No. 6 Gaither (7-5) at No. 1 Jesuit (10-2), 7:30

Class 2

For the full MaxPreps bracket click here.

Region 2

Berkeley Prep 42, Tampa Catholic 28

In September, the Buccaneers routed the rival Crusaders 35-7.

The rematch ended up being a similar outcome.

Once again, Berkeley Prep leaned on its punishing rushing attack and took advantage of an opportunistic defense to building a commanding lead before Tampa Catholic scored twice in the waning minutes to make the score closer.

The Buccaneers, winners of seven straight, are in the region final for the second time in the past three seasons.

Calvary Christian 48, Clearwater 20

A record-setting performance from quarterback Jacob Drackett helped the Warriors advance to the region final for the second straight season.

Drackett, an Air Force commit, threw for 265 yards, giving him 7,364 for his high school career to become Pinellas County’s all-time leading passer. 

Drackett broke the record of 7,312 set last year by Lakewood’s Anthony Calandrea, now at Virginia. The Calvary Christian senior also threw for four touchdowns, giving him 89 in his career. He needs three more to set the Pinellas County single season record set by Clearwater’s Aidan MacLean in 2021.

It was not the only record the Warriors would set on offense.

Josh Robinson had 88 receiving yards, giving him a school-record 1,015 for the season. The junior also had two touchdown receptions. The offense displayed some balance with Zander Altieri rushing for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. The senior also finished with 10 tackles and two interceptions on defense.

Friday’s region matchup

No. 2 Calvary Christian (10-2) at No. 1 Berkeley Prep (10-2), 7:30

Class 1

For the full MaxPreps bracket click here.

Region 3
Clearwater Central Catholic 42, Indian Rocks Christian 14

For the second straight season, the defending state finalist Marauders breezed past the Golden Eagles.

Clearwater Central Catholic went into halftime with a 35-0 lead.

Jershaun Newton was 8-of-10 for 115 yards and two touchdowns. The junior also ran 49 yards for another score. Justin Stephens added 100 yards rushing on seven carries.

On defense, the Marauders recorded eight sacks, including three each by Tyrique Harris and Keo Jenkins.

Carrollwood Day 40, Northside Christian 0

Led by a suffocating defense, the Patriots posted their second shutout in the past four games.

Carrollwood Day took control early, jumping out to a 21-0 halftime lead. It was the second straight season the Patriots knocked out the Mustangs in the region semifinals.

Soloman Williams, a four-star recruit, ended up with eight tackles and two sacks. In all, Carrollwood Day brought down the quarterback six times.

Friday’s region final matchup

No. 2 Carrollwood Day (8-1) at No. 1 Clearwater Central Catholic (11-0), 7:30


Class 4

For the full MaxPreps bracket click here.

Region 2
Lake Minneola 42, Wiregrass Ranch 28

The Bulls, who were trying to reach the region final for the first time, had a furious rally fall short.

Down 28-10 in the second half, Wiregrass Ranch ended up tying the score at 28.

But the Bulls wore down at the end, allowing two late scores.

Luke Knight, who set nearly every school and Pasco County single season record, threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score. Isaiah Riggins, the state’s leading receiver, had 11 catches for 121 yards.

Class 3

For the full MaxPreps bracket click here.

Region 2
Ocala Vanguard 34, Zephyrhills 14

For a half, the Bulldogs stayed within striking distance of beating the top-seeded Knights and advancing to the region final for the first time.

Zephyrhills took a 7-0 first quarter lead and headed into halftime down 14-7.

Soon after, the deficit was too much to overcome.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs can take solace in going undefeated against Pasco County competition and making another playoff run.

Putnam’s pick: Vanguard 27-13

Class 1

For the full MaxPreps bracket click here.

Region 3
Lakeland Victory Christian 29, Zephyrhills Christian 26

The Warriors, who won their first district title this season, had plenty of confidence going into the region semifinal.

After all, Zephyrhills Christian had won six straight games, including a victory over the Storm.

In a tight game that saw the lead change numerous times, the Warriors could not hold on in the fourth quarter and were unable to beat Lakeland Victory Christian for the second time this season.

The Storm was used to close contests with six of its last seven games decided by seven points or less.