CLASS 5A-REGION 3 SEMIFINALPalmetto (9-2) at Lake Wales (7-4)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
On the air: 1420-AM WTMY
The scoop: So much for home-field advantage. Both of these teams went on the road to open the playoffs and came away with victories. ... The Highlanders are a difficult team to figure out based on their results. They've beaten top teams in the region such as Immokalee (last year's 5A region finalist), but also turned around and lost 21-0 to Auburndale (a club Palmetto beat last week with ease). ... Lake Wales is a physical team that likes to pound the ball. It's a similar test to what the Tigers faced last week in Auburndale. ... Palmetto enters with newfound confidence, but this game should come down to sophomore quarterback Chris Tuten's arm. ... The Tigers' ability to convert on third down should determine whether they move on.
SCOUTING LAKE WALES
Coach: Rod Shafer, fifth year, 46-12.
District: 5A-9 runner-up.
Players to watch: Tony Reeves, sr., RB/LB (572 rushing yards, 10 receptions for 171 yards); Justin Henderson, soph., RB/LB (795 rushing yards on 111 carries); Dedric Brinson, jr., WR/DB (nine receptions for 172 yards); and David Jones, sr., LB/RB (71 tackles, five sacks).
Coach: Dave Marino, third year, 27-9.
District: 5A-10 runner-up.
Players to watch: Cory Crawford, sr., WR (659 rushing yards, 341 receiving yards, verbally committed to Temple); Josh Hicks, jr., RB (645 rushing yards, verbally committed to Rutgers); and Shaq Harris, sr., WR (28 receptions for 532 yards, 11 total TDs).
The prediction: Palmetto 21, Lake Wales 17.
-- Jason Dill, Herald sports writer