Braden River (8-1) at Naples Gulf Coast (7-3)
What: Class 7A-Region 3 quarterfinal
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: The playoffs start on the road for Braden River as the District 11 runner-up. ... And the opponent this week is who they saw to open last year’s state semifinal march. ... Gulf Coast’s first district title came with a 14-6 upset of South Fort Myers and gives the Sharks a home game against the Pirates. ... They feature a strong junior class led by QB Kaden Frost (138.1 PYPG), TE George Takacs (23 catches, 247 yards) and RB Demarcus Townsend (729 rushing yards, 5.5 YPC). ... Takacs and Townsend are the team’s top recruits, with Takacs receiving 13 offers from the likes of Florida, Ole Miss and Wisconsin. ... Townsend has six offers with the top programs being Oklahoma, Iowa State and USF. ... Braden River shut down Gulf Coast’s passing game in a home playoff opener last season, and will be tasked with doing the same this year. ... The Pirates boast a talented secondary with CB Tyrone Collins, who picked up his 11th college offer this week. Collins’ latest offer comes from Kentucky, his second SEC school. ... The Pirates pass defense has allowed 84.6 YPG and the run defense has allowed 109.7 YPG. It’s the area’s top overall defense, and they’ve got a prolific offense with QB Louis Colosimo (1,592 passing yards, 23 TDs, one INT), RB Raymond Thomas (1,036 rushing yards, 9.4 YPC, 12 TDs) and RB Deshaun Fenwick (775 rushing yards, 9.3 YPC, 11 total TDs) leading a team that’s averaging 38.8 PPG.
Prediction: Braden River 28, Naples Gulf Coast 14