The playoffs aren’t for the faint of heart. Not all of the 11 area teams that will play in Friday night’s regional quarterfinal games will advance. The regular season is preparation for this point. Check out the teams in action under the lights of potential elimination. All game times are 7:30 p.m. starts.
Jacksonville Lee (7-3) vs. Lincoln (4-6) at Gene Cox Stadium
The skinny: This is where we find out if the Trojans’ tough schedule has indeed prepared them for the playoffs or if it was smoke and mirrors hiding a disappointing season. Having running back Ricky Henrilus operating at full speed is a huge gain for the offense. The Generals don’t have enough offense to pull this one out.
Prediction: Lincoln 31, Lee 13
Chiles (6-4) at Lake City Columbia (9-1)
The skinny: The thought is Lincoln hung with Columbia and Chiles beat Lincoln. It wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for the Timberwolves to win this game, but it is unlikely. Perfect play is needed to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Columbia 42, Chiles 28
Panama City Bay (8-2) at Wakulla (9-1)
The skinny: The War Eagles must stop FSU defensive end commit Janarius Robinson, but considering the versatility of the offense to run veer option or five-wide shotgun sets, Robinson should be on his heels all night. Wakulla quarterback Feleipe Franks has 24 touchdowns versus just two interceptions on the year.
Prediction: Wakulla 35, Bay 14
Rickards (7-2) at West Florida (6-4)
The skinny: The Raiders have been tested on the road several times against much tougher opponents. West Florida is no slouch despite the record, but Rickards’ offense under Marcus Riley has been unstoppable the last few games. The Raiders’ Achilles heel is its kicking game.
Prediction: Rickards 38, West Florida 31
Jacksonville Providence (3-6) at Taylor County (5-5)
The skinny: The Bulldogs went from perhaps not even making the playoffs to hosting a first-round game, which was huge because it gets a struggling Stallions team. All Taylor County needs to do is stop Providence running back and Wake Forest commit Jamauri Wakefield (1,655 yards; 21 TD) and the result could be positive. But that isn’t the Bulldogs’ strength.
Prediction: Providence 21, Taylor County 20
Cedar Creek Christian (7-3) at North Florida Christian (6-3)
The skinny: The Eagles know just what it takes to win these types of playoff games. Look for Korey Charles to shine. Only way NFC loses is if it turns the ball over.
Prediction: NFC 35, Cedar Creek 17
Maclay (2-8) at Jacksonville University Christian (7-3)
The skinny: The writing is on the wall for the Marauders and playing a traditional powerhouse isn’t the kind of playoff opponent that inspires hope. Maclay gets a garbage time field goal, but otherwise struggles.
Prediction: University Christian 56, Maclay 3
Blountstown (8-2) at Liberty County (7-3)
The skinny: The last time these two teams met the Bulldogs jumped out with 14 first-quarter points before allowing 43 unanswered. The Tigers have won the last five games including first-round playoff wins the last two seasons. The streak continues.
Prediction: Blountstown 35, Liberty County 31
Lake Butler Union County (9-1) at Madison County (7-3)
The skinny: During the Cowboys’ seven-game win streak, the defense has allowed less than a touchdown a game, while the offense is averaging 41 points a game. Madison’s run game is tough to stop when it’s clicking and right now it is. Thriller at Boot Hill comes down to the wire.
Prediction: Union County 42, Madison County 35
Jefferson County (6-4) at Fort White (8-2)
The skinny: Props to the Tigers for getting back in the playoffs after a three-year absence, but Jefferson County’s luck probably runs out against the Indians, who have two running backs over 700 yards rushing.
Prediction: Fort White 42, Jefferson County 14