Two weeks after clinching a district title — the first in Marcus Paschal‘s four years as coach — Largo’s reclamation project hit another milestone in a 27-24 victory over Naples Barron Collier in Friday’s Class 6A region quarterfinals.
That playoff win was the program’s first since 2009 — and the first under Paschal.
The staples of the Packers’ turnaround — a strong running and a stifling defense — were vital once again in erasing a 17-7 second-half deficit.
Solomon Brown ran for 153 yards and had an interception in the end zone.
Jaquaze Sorrells and D.J. Bullard each had two sacks.
And James Green returned an interception for the winning touchdown.
Player of the Week | Jordan Miner, Wiregrass Ranch
The Wiregrass Ranch roster lists Miner as a wide receiver/cornerback, but his contributions go far beyond that.
Entering the playoffs, Miner was the team’s second-leading passer and rusher and fifth-leading receiver.
He also is a dangerous kick returner, a sure tackler and playmaker on defense.
The Penn State recruit put all of his talents on display in Friday’s Class 7A region quarterfinal, leading the Bulls to a 17-10 win over Lake Nona — it was the program’s first postseason victory.
Miner finished with 63 yards rushing and a touchdown, and had two interceptions to match his regular-season total.
Coach of the week | Earl Garcia, Hillsborough
The Terriers had a lot going against them in Friday’s Class 6A region quarterfinal at Lake Gibson.
Not only was it on the road, but they lost to the team last year in the first round of the playoffs after taking a lead.
This year, Hillsborough took a lead again and held on 14-9.
Lake Gibson had the ball at the Hillsborough 11 in the final two minutes. But the defense held on fourth and 7.
Garcia had his team ready to play on the road.
He’ll have to do it again Friday at Armwood, a rematch of district teams. “We get Armwood as a reward,” Garcia said.
The Florida High School Athletic Association implemented a points-based playoff system to ensure more fairness in the selection process and produce better postseason matchups.
Last year, there were 35 first-round games statewide that ended with a running clock (a mercy rule used when a team is ahead by 35 or more points in the second half).
There were still blowouts Friday. But there also were plenty of close games.
Of the 21 first-round games involving area teams, nine were decided by a touchdown or less.
The most thrilling was Clearwater Central Catholic’s 37-35 win over Tampa Catholic.
The Marauders prevailed thanks to a 29-yard TD pass on the final play.
Five second-round games we’re looking forward to
No. 3 Plant (10-1) at No. 2 Viera (8-1): The Panthers are good at Dad’s Stadium, but how will they do on the road?
Viera’s only loss was in overtime, and the Hawks hammered Gaither 55-0 in the first round.
They haven’t given up more than a touchdown to an opponent in five games and haven’t lost at home this season.
Of course, Plant beat Orlando East River 43-0 in the first round, so this one could be a beauty.
No. 2 Indian Rocks Christian (9-2) at No. 1 Cambridge Christian (8-2): Hope you like touchdowns.
When these teams played last season, Cambridge Christian won 85-46.
The Lancers still have quarterback Jaylin Jackson and scored 63 points in their region semifinal Friday.
The Golden Eagles put up 45 points against Admiral Farragut, a team they lost to in the regular season.
This one could go until midnight.
No. 5 Hillsborough (8-3) vs. No. 1 Armwood (11-0): The first time around was a 28-6 Armwood win.
There might not be much scoring in this one.
The Hawks gave up 12 points to Tampa Bay Tech in the opener and haven’t given up that many since.
Hillsborough appears to be playing better, and the Terriers shouldn’t be intimidated.
It’s just a matter of being able to score.
No. 5 Wiregrass Ranch (9-2) at No. 1 Lakeland (9-0): The Dreadnaughts have won four of their past five playoff games over bay area opponents.
One of those came last year in a 43-20 win over Wiregrass Ranch.
The Bulls have been waiting for the opportunity to play again.
No. 3 Ocala Vanguard (11-0) at No. 2 Mitchell (11-0): Class 6A, Region 2 includes three teams that are still undefeated.
Two of them play this week in a matchup from last year’s region semifinals that Vanguard won 46-23.
All games at 7:30 p.m. Friday
No. 3 Plant at No. 2 Viera
No. 5 Wiregrass Ranch at No. 1 Lakeland
No. 6 Palmetto at No. 2 Tampa Bay Tech
No. 3 Largo at No. 2 Naples
No. 3 Ocala Vanguard at No. 2 Mitchell
No. 5 Hillsborough at No. 1 Armwood
No. 6 Jesuit at No. 2 Lakewood
No. 6 Clay at No. 2 Zephyrhills
No. 3 Calvary Christian at No. 1 Clearwater Central Catholic
No. 2 Indian Rocks Christian at No. 1 Cambridge Christian
This post originally appeared on tbo.com