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Credit: Florida High School Athletic Association

High School Football Playoffs Kick Off Around North Central Florida

The high school football regular season has come to an end. And tonight, numerous teams across the area will begin the chase for a state championship in what has been an unusual and challenging season for many.

And while several schools will be in action, the coronavirus has forced some to call it quits earlier than they expected.

Slate of Games

Of the teams in action tonight across North Central Florida, three are from Alachua County. One of the matchups set to take place is the Hawthorne Hornets (6-2) vs. the Chiefland Indians (1-7).

The Hornets are coming off of a regular-season finale win last week over the Tavares Bulldogs and will look to keep the momentum going as they enter the playoffs. Head coach Cornelius Ingram joined Sportscene with Steve Russell to preview the matchup and the week it has been for his team.

Hawthorne’s game with the Indians went through some shuffling this week, like a lot of the games around the area, due to Tropical Storm Eta’s impact in the county. After originally being moved to Wednesday, the matchup was then moved back to tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Ingram said his team has done a good job of adjusting to each situation presented to them this season.

In terms of the Hornets’ opponent, Ingram said Chiefland is a quality football team and will pose a challenge for his squad.

Another game set to take place tonight is the Buchholz Bobcats (6-1) taking on the Creekside Knights (5-3) from Citizens Field at 7:30 p.m. After an early-season loss to the Oakleaf Knights, the Bobcats have won six straight and are looking to continue their regular-season success in the playoffs.

Head coach Mark Whittemore also made an appearance on Sportscene and talked about the matchup with Creekside. The Bobcats and Knights are pretty familiar with each other, as the two schools last met on Oct.30 with Buchholz winning, 49-27.

When asked whether it is an advantage playing Creekside in a span of a few weeks, Whittemore said it becomes a little bit of a “chess game” for the coaches in terms of scheming.

 Other Matchups

In addition to the two games already mentioned, there are several other playoff contests scheduled to kick off tonight, as well.

  • Daytona Beach Mainland vs. Gainesville Hurricanes (at Santa Fe)
  •  Santa Fe Raiders vs. Gadsen County Jaguars, 7:30 p.m.
  • Columbia High Tigers vs. Ponte Vedra Sharks, 7:30 p.m.
  • Fort White Indians vs. Branford Buccaneers, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday:

  • Eastside Rams vs. Dunnellon Tigers, noon.
  • Oak Hall vs. Winter Haven Haven All Saints Academy

Seasons Cut Short

While some schools continue their seasons this week, others have not been so lucky. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 within their programs, the Trenton Tigers and the P.K. Yonge Blue Wave have both forfeited their scheduled playoff games tonight.

Because it is the postseason, that means both team’s seasons are over.

P.K. Yonge head coach Marcus McDonald said he and his team were taken back when finding out the news.

McDonald said he was just thankful his team had the opportunity to complete a full regular-season schedule.

As of now, games are still being played. But could the playoffs be in jeopardy these next few weeks? We will have to wait and see.

*Saint Francis Catholic Academy has also forfeited its game against Foundation Academy scheduled for tonight at 7:30 p.m. No word yet as to why the decision was made as of Friday afternoon.

 

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