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Handful of Teams Still Alive in High School Football Playoffs

After Friday night’s regional semifinals, only a couple of teams still remain alive in the Florida High School Football playoffs. Chiefland, Union County and Bradford all advance to the next round, while several other teams had their seasons come to an end.

Hawthorne at Pahokee

After defeating Wildwood in the first round of playoffs, the Hawthorne Hornets lost 28-14 to the Pahokee Blue Devils. Pahokee jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. The Hornets trailed the whole way, and turned the ball over six times.

Pahokee will advance to face Chiefland in the Class 1A Regional Finals on Friday.

Chiefland at Newberry

Two local Gainesville teams squared off in this one, with both coming in off a red hot end to the regular season. Ultimately, Chiefland came out on top and defeated Newberry 20-19. The top-seeded Newberry Panthers led 13-0 at halftime, but that wasn’t enough to carry them to victory. Chiefland put up 14 points in the fourth quarter, capped by a two-point conversion with eight minutes remaining, to give them a one-point lead which they carried to the end.

This unexpected exit from the Panthers comes after finishing 1-9 in 2018. Newberry’s star 1,000-yard running back, Kobe Delima, was absent in the game for reasons head coach Ed Johnson was unwilling to disclose. Chiefland will advance to face Pahokee in the Class 1A Regional Finals on Friday.

Union County at Lafayette

The Union County Tigers defeated the Lafayette Hornets 32-19 on Friday night. The Tigers put up 14 unanswered points in the first quarter, and continued to pile on as they led the whole game.

Union County will face Madison County in the Region 3-1A Finals on Friday.

Oak Hall at Winter Garden Foundation Academy

The Foundation Academy Lions led 21-0 in the second quarter. It seemed the game was destined for a rout. However, the Oak Hall Eagles thought otherwise. Oak Hall made it a one possession game in the third quarter at 21-14. However, a scoreless fourth quarter saw the Eagles go home disappointed and out of the playoffs.

Lions wide receiver Danny Stutsman carried the load offensively, hauling in 127 yards and scoring the game-sealing touchdown.

Foundation Academy will play Victory Christian for the Region 2-2A Final on Friday.

Bradford at West Nassau

The Bradford Tornadoes dominant second half performance led them to a convincing 45-13 victory over the West Nassau Warriors. After the game was knotted at seven at halftime, the Tornadoes put up 25 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter en route to a 38-point second half.

Bradford advances to the Region 1-4A Final where they will face a Bolles team with only one loss in the season.

Columbia at Jacksonville Lee

The Columbia Tigers clashed with the Jacksonville Lee Generals in a real “barnburner” on Friday night. Four quarters went by without either side scoring so much as a field goal. A whole overtime transpired and the game was still knotted at 0-0. Finally, in the second overtime, the Tigers kicker Zach Williams cracked the scoreboard with a field goal.

Eventually, it came down to fourth and goal for Lee down 3-0. Cale Zarah found an open receiver in the end zone for the walk off score and, for the second straight year, the Generals knocked the Tigers out of the playoffs. Not only did Jacksonville Lee serve Columbia a frustrating loss in the playoffs last year, but they also defeated the Tigers in another overtime thriller earlier in the regular season.

Needless to say, the next time these teams play each other, you can expect an emotional game.

Lee advances to play the Escambia Gators in the Region 1-6A final.

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