By Tamas Mondovics
Spoto 42, Lake Wales 6 Class 5A
Unlike the fate of its neighboring programs, Spoto defeated its regional rival, Lake Wales 42-6 in a Class 5A regional quarterfinal to advance in its quest for a state appearance.
It was the third playoff game in Spoto’s history, the school’s first playoff win and a much-deserved redemption victory after last year’s 28-0 to Lake Wales in the opening round.
The Spartan’s scoring started early, and proved too-much for the Highlanders who turned the ball over three times and couldn’t keep up with Spoto’s desire to prove their right to advance.
Unfortunately, the Spartans were not strong enough to keep the momentum going and fell to Jesuit in a close 18-14 loss.
Dr. Philips 24, Bloomingdale 21 Class 8A
The first round of regional games proved to be a disappointing venture for a number of area schools, bringing an end to another exciting football season.
While Spoto managed to keep its momentum going, Bloomingdale, Durant and Plant City all suffered defeat in battles that could have gone either way.
Perhaps the most disappointing loss hit Bloomingdale (9-2) a program that has seen its best season in school history, which includes the school’s best record 6-4 in 2013 that came on the heels of seven consecutive wins, and last postseason appearance in 2008.
Facing Dr. Phillips, the Bulls found themselves with less than one minute left in the game and within 30 yards from a chance to complete a drive with a winning score.
It was not the time for mistakes, which is what junior quarterback Isaiah McIntyre, who has undoubtedly led the program to its season success, had to learn the hard way after he lost control of the ball, ending Bloomingdales history-making season with a final 24-21 home Class 8A Region 2 quarterfinal loss.
The Bulls Fred McCoy, Jordan Kiers and Chris Wonsley also gave the school and their fans a season that will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Bloomingdale’s history making season also included a 34-27 win against its neighboring Class 8A District 6 rival Newsome Wolves.
Tampa Bay Tech 42, Durant 25 Class 7A
Durant (6-5) gave it all against Tampa Bay Tech in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs, but as the final score indicates, the Cougars third-quarter-rally on two touchdown runs by sophomore Kamerron Joyce, was too little too late.
The Titans (6-5) senior Deon Cain scored five touchdowns in all, defeating Durant 42-25.
Durant appeared in the playoffs in 2012 after an undefeated season, but suffered a crushing defeat by district runner up Newsome.
Durant entered the playoffs as district champions after Plant City’s 20-14 win over Brandon, which gave the Raiders their runner-up status.
“I am very happy that we won especially since we have had a frustration season,” said Coach Mike Gottman following the game on the eve of his 50th birthday. “Finishing the night as district champs is a great accomplishment.”
Sickles 9, Plant City 7 Class 5A
With things lining up just right at the end of the close low scoring game, all that Plant City needed was a field goal to eliminate Sickles and advance to the next round.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the victory belonged to the Gryphons, who instead forced a turnover and ran out the clock to earn a 9-7 win in the Class 7A regional quarterfinals.