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Week 10 means it is time to win or go home for many teams as the final week of district play arrives in Florida. The Top 10 Games of the Week all feature matchups with a district championship at stake.
1.Miami Northwestern vs. Miami Carol City
Why: What a story it has been for District 6A-16 this year. First, it was Carol City beating Miami Central. Then it was Miami Northwestern pulling the upset in double overtime two weeks ago that ended the Rockets’ chances of going for five straight state championships. And now? This matchup. The Bulls and host Chiefs know they are in the playoffs, but which team can host in the first round? A win by either team would be a great finish to the regular season.
2. Niceville at Crestview
Why: Both teams come into this game at 8-0 and both have been running some high-powered offense this season. Crestview wasn’t projected to be in this position at the start of the season, so it will go down as one of the season’s surprises. Neither team has had a close game this season, but this could be one that goes down to the wire for the District 6A-2 championship.
3. Charlotte at Port Charlotte
Why: This is a rematch of last year’s District 6A-10 championship game, but should be a lot better than Charlotte’ 58-8 victory. Both teams are undefeated and can stop the opposition when they need to, but Port Charlotte has been the more dominant defensive team. Charlotte has been more explosive on offense. This is Port Charlotte’s chance to get back at Charlotte for last year’s loss and to claim the district championship.
4. Raines at Bolles
Why: A huge Jacksonville-area showdown between unbeaten teams that also have had two weather two hurricanes. The Vikings have not looked as crisp on both sides of the ball as they did last year in a run to Class 4A state runner-up spot. Bolles has won every game by at least double digits and appears to be unstoppable. However, given the recent history between these two teams, look for this one to go down to the end for the District 4A-2 championship.
5. Hillsborough at Armwood
Why: Hillsborough has made an impressive turnaround this season and is 8-0 entering the District 6A-7 championship. Armwood’s only loss came by two points to Plant in late September. Both teams have been solid on defense. Going on the road in the first round is not an ideal scenario so much is at stake in this matchup.
6. Jacksonville Trinity Christian at Episcopal
Why: What an impressive season so far Episcopal head coach and former Jacksonville Jaguars QB Mark Brunell and his Eagles. No one expected them to be undeafeated coming into what is now the district championship game for District 3A-2. Trinity Christian, the defending Class 3A state champion, will have to rebound after getting dropped by nationally ranked IMG Academy last week. If Episcopal upsets Trinity Christian, it could be one of the biggest stories of the year and send the Conquerors on the road during the playoffs.
7. Gulf Breeze at Navarre
Why: The District 6A-2 championship is on the line here with the teams combining for just one loss on the season — Gulf Breeze fell 42-33 to West Florida. The visiting Dolphins hired Bobby Clayton as head coach during the offseason to take over the previously struggling program, and the team has a chance to claim a district championship for the first time since 1989 and beat Navarre for the first time since 2006. Navarre can complete a second consecutive undefeated regular season with a win here.
8. Plant at Wiregrass Ranch
Why: No surprise that Plant will be in the playoffs again, but now it faces what will likely be the second-biggest challenge of the season in Wiregrass Ranch. The Bulls have gone from 2-8 last season to a postseason berth, thanks in part to some help after Sickles forfeited four games last week due to an ineligible player. A win figures to mean more to Wiregrass Ranch. The victory would be a considerable upset given the projections for Plant to win the District 7A-8 championship.
9. Ocala Forest at Ocala Vanguard
Why: This is the biggest matchup between these two rivals in many years, but no one expected both teams to come into this final District 6A-5 contest undefeated. Undefeated records might be where the comparisons end. When looking at the level of competition, Vanguard has played a stronger strength of schedule than Forest has, although not by much. Now they settle it on the field, with the winner getting the district title and a home playoff game in two weeks.
10. Wesley Chapel at River Ridge
Why: Wesley Chapel was not even projected to finish in the top half of District 5A-8, but a coaching change has helped change that forecast. River Ridge has consistently been one of the top teams in the district for the last few years. For River Ridge, it is simple – win and you are the district champion. For Wesley Chapel, a win here would shake up the playoff picture, possibly forcing a tiebreaker shootout on Monday night.
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