tampabay.com

Playoff hopes hinge on one quarter at a time

Two districts decide teams' fates in tiebreakers.

By JOEY KNIGHT
Published October 29, 2006


TAMPA - Only three nights after winning a fight for their postseason lives, Jesuit and Newsome must fight a little more in the autumnal version of March Madness.

By winning Friday (Newsome over Middleton, Jesuit over Robinson), the Wolves and Tigers host Monday night's district tiebreakers in 4A-11 and 3A-11, respectively. Call them one-quarter crapshoots, where anything is possible.

"I don't have a yay or nay opinion about it," Wolves coach Ken Hiscock said. "I mean, that's the way it is, and why argue with that?"

Newsome's 27-21 victory over Middleton left the Wolves (6-3), Hillsborough (6-4) and Freedom (6-4) with 3-1 district records.

The Wolves get a first-round bye and home-field advantage Monday, based on a slightly better overall winning percentage. Hillsborough plays Freedom in the opening quarter, with the loser facing Newsome for the district title.

If Newsome loses, it plays the Hillsborough-Freedom loser for the district's runnerup (and second playoff) spot. If teams are tied after a quarter, a Kansas tiebreaker ensues, where teams alternate possessions from the opponent's 10-yard line until a winner emerges.

In the 3A-11 tie-breaker, only the runnerup spot will be decided. Sarasota Booker clinched the district title with a 48-25 win Friday over Palmetto, but Jesuit's 34-21 win over Robinson left Palmetto, Jesuit and the Knights tied with 1-2 district records.

Jesuit (5-4) gets the tiebreaker bye based on its head-to-head win against the Knights (5-4). Robinson faces Palmetto (4-5) in the opening quarter; the winner faces Jesuit for a playoff berth.

"We're extremely excited about it," said Tigers coach Joe Ross. "At least we have more of a chance Monday than we thought we had a couple of weeks ago."