Four Gainesville area high school football teams are in the 2018 postseason for FHSAA Class 1A.
Union County and Dixie County will be in their respective quarterfinal games for the Class 1A bracket while Chiefland and Hawthorne earned first-round byes.
No. 5 Union County at No. 4 Lafayette
The Fightin’ Tigers will take their triple option the road for their matchup with the Lafayette Hornets.
They snapped a three-game losing streak with a 38-0 win over Tampa Bay Christian to end the regular season at 5-5.
According to Tigers Head Coach Ronny Pruitt, his team is deserving of the position it’s in.
Pruitt on being in the playoffs:
He described Lafayette as a well-coached team with a good offense and good quarterback.
“They have a system now where everything is an RPO,” he said. “So they try to make every decision you make the wrong decision.”
Junior QB Jaxson Beach leads the Hornets in both rushing and passing. He has 2,184 yards and 25 TDs to just seven picks passing the ball along with over 1,000 yards rushing with 13 scores.
Pruitt on what his team needs to do:
Pruitt said the season’s been up-and-down as they’ve battled through injuries and had to move some players around this season. He said some of those players are back now, but it’s all down to just one game.
The mindset going into Friday night:
Winner of the bout will face No. 1 Madison County in the regional semifinal on Nov. 16.
No. 6 Branford at No. 3 Dixie County
This is the first meeting between these two schools since 2015 and is Branford’s first playoff appearance since 2000.
It will be a game won in the trenches. Both teams come in with a majority of their offense coming from the ground game. Branford averages 231 yards rushing per game while Dixie County is racking over 350 yards in that same area.
Dixie County is led by a trio of tailbacks in Carlos Williams Jr., Fitzgerald Warren and Derrick Charboneau. They account for 3,060 of the Bears’ 3,575 rushing yards this season along with 42 of their 44 touchdowns.
Both Hawthorne and Chiefland get to take the weekend to rest and not worry about playing a game Friday night.
That’s what happens when a team earns one of the top two seeds in their region: first-round byes. Cornelius Ingram’s Hawthorne team road an undefeated season into the playoffs and will take on the winner of Crescent City and Fort Meade as the top seed.
Chiefland will face the winner of the above Dixie County and Branford matchup.