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Playoff picture: Hernando County

By DAVID MURPHY
Published October 20, 2006


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Nature Coast

Record: 6-1, 3-0 Class 3A, District 6

Games remaining: Tonight vs. Hernando; Oct. 27 at Mulberry; Nov. 3 at Central.

What's at stake: The Sharks have clinched a playoff berth and can clinch the district title with a win over Hernando tonight. Even if Nature Coast loses, it still clinches the district if Crystal River loses to Citrus tonight.

Probable scenario: Nature Coast wins the district and plays the runnerup in District 5, which almost surely will be Dunnellon. The game will be a tough one: Dunnellon is 3-0 against teams from Class 3A, District 6 this year and has won all three handily.

Hernando

Record: 2-5, 1-1 Class 3A, District 6

Games remaining: Tonight at Nature Coast; Oct. 27 vs. Citrus; Nov. 3 vs. Pasco.

What's at stake: Though the Leopards have struggled this season, they still have a small bit of playoff hope. They need to beat Nature Coast and Citrus, and have Crystal River lose one more district game to get into the postseason as a district runnerup.

Probable scenario: It would take a huge effort to knock off Citrus, so even if Hernando upsets Nature Coast tonight, it looks like its season will end on the last day of the regular season.

Central

Record: 5-2, 3-0 Class 4A-8

Games remaining: Tonight at South Lake; Oct. 27 at River Ridge; Nov. 3 vs. Nature Coast.

What's at stake: Not much from here on out. Central has clinched the district title, meaning it will play the runnerup from District 7, either New Smyrna Beach, Merritt Island or Seabreeze. All three teams are tough: Seabreeze and New Smyrna Beach are both on the verge of cracking the Class 4A top 10.

Probable scenario: Central beats River Ridge, goes undefeated in the district, then hosts a home playoff game against a favored opponent.

Springstead

Record: 3-4, 0-2 Class 4A-8

Games remaining: Tonight vs. River Ridge; Oct. 27 vs. Ridgewood; Nov. 3 at Lecanto.

What's at stake: The Eagles would need a lot to go right in order to reach the playoffs. First, they would have to beat River Ridge and Ridgewood, which would make them 2-2 in the district. A loss to either one eliminates them from postseason consideration. If Springstead finishes 2-2, it would need Ridgewood to beat Tarpon Springs tonight. If that happens, Springstead, Ridgewood and Tarpon Springs would all be tied for second. And because they all beat each other, a district tiebreaker would be played, with the winner advancing to the playoffs.

Because there is not enough room in this space to detail the ridiculousness that is a district tiebreaker, head over to our blog at blogs.tampabay.com/preps to read the ins and outs of the process.

Probable scenario: Springstead beats River Ridge and Ridgewood, but Ridgewood loses to Tarpon Springs. The Spongers, who have defeated Springstead, make the playoffs as the runnerup.

Staff writer David Murphy can be reached at dmurphy@sptimes.com or 352 848-1407.

[Last modified October 20, 2006, 06:39:53]


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