FHSAA Football Preview: Orlando area rivals meet in regional semifinals

The Florida High School Athletic Association announced Thursday a one-year deal with Bally Sports to broadcast its nine football state championship games statewide from the campus of Florida A&M University.

The championship games will air Dec. 7-9 on Bally Sports Florida or Bally Sports Sun and also stream live online on the Bally Sports app, according to a press release.

“Bally Sports shares our commitment to showcasing the talents and dedication of young athletes, and together, we look forward to creating unforgettable moments for fans and student-athletes across the state,” FHSAA executive director Craig Damon stated in the release.

The Orlando area will see no less than three high school football teams advance to play FHSAA regional championship games next week.

Six other programs can join that group with Friday wins vs. out-of-area opponents.

Lake Mary, ranked No. 1 in its classification, is home vs. Jacksonville Mandarin in the second matchup between those teams this year.

The three other local games serving as rematches this postseason take place between district rivals.

Sanford Seminole hosts Apopka, Edgewater is home vs. Jones and Orange City University plays DeLand in a game that was moved to New Smyrna Beach.

Orlando Christian Prep, which opened the playoffs with a bye last week, faces Providence School of Jacksonville in Winter Park.

Lake Minneola is home against Wiregrass Ranch of Wesley Chapel.

Dr. Phillips, Bishop Moore and Leesburg are all on the road.

Tickets for regional tournament games are available for $10 at the GoFan website.

Friday’s schedule for games involving Orlando area teams is listed below. Team seeding is based on FHSAA regional playoff power rankings. Win-loss records are included in parentheses.

Class 4M Region 1

No. 5 Jacksonville Mandarin (8-3) at No. 1 Lake Mary (10-1), 7

FHSAA 4M rankings: Lake Mary – No. 1; Mandarin – No. 10.

MaxPreps state rankings: Lake Mary – No. 8; Mandarin – No. 38.

Buzz: Lake Mary leaned on its run game at home on Sept. 29. Isaiah Thomas, who left last week’s game with an injury, rushed for 189 yards vs. Mandarin during a 34-16 win. Noah Grubbs was limited to 6-for-18 passing for 102 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting. Grubbs enters with 49 TD passes, which ranks tied for third most in the state for a single season. Drake Stubbs has four interceptions and two forced fumbles and Jon Mitchell has three interceptions for Mandarin.

No. 3 Apopka (8-3) at No. 2 Sanford Seminole (9-2), 7

FHSAA 4M rankings: Seminole – No. 2; Apopka – No. 5.

MaxPreps state rankings: Seminole – No. 12; Apopka – No. 52.

Buzz: Both teams were dealing with injuries when Seminole pulled away in the second half at home during a 21-3 win on Sept. 29. Karson Siqueiros-Lasky threw two touchdown passes to David Parks and another to Michael Key. Siqueiros-Lasky has 1,996 yards, 28 TDs and eight interceptions this season. Lorenzo Payne IV (30 tackles) has 10.5 sacks and Trevon Williams (33 tackles) has eight sacks for Apopka. The Blue Darters have won four of the past six meetings since 2017.

Class 4M Region 2

No. 6 Dr. Phillips (7-4) at No. 2 Tampa Plant (9-2), 7:30

FHSAA 4M rankings: Plant – No. 13; Dr. Phillips – No. 21.

MaxPreps state rankings: Dr. Phillips – No. 94; Plant – No. 96.

Buzz: First meeting since teams split four consecutive regional semifinal games from 2011-14. “We’ve had some historic battles with Tampa Plant,” DP coach Rodney Wells said last week. “That’s a great high school stadium [to play at] and I know they’ll be prepared.” Plant quarterbacks Trey O’Malley and JC Mirasola have combined for 2,098 pass yards, 28 TDs and six interceptions. Winner plays No. 1 Riverview Sumner (10-1) or No. 5 Plant City Durant (9-2).

Class 3M Region 1

No. 4 Jones (8-3) at No. 1 Edgewater (11-0), 7

FHSAA 3M rankings: Edgewater – No. 2; Jones – No. 9.

MaxPreps state rankings: Edgewater – No. 10; Jones – No. 18.

Buzz: It’s a rematch of last year’s regional final round, which Jones won 41-13 on the road after losing by one point in the regular season. Edgewater has claimed four of the past six in the series since 2019, including a 31-14 win on Sept. 14. Cai Bates and AJ Howard (three forced fumbles) each have three interceptions for the Eagles. Vernell Brown III has 1,081 receiving yards (eight TDs) and Jerrian Parker has 1,065 rush yards (12 TDs) for Jones. Winner plays No. 2 Seffner Armwood (10-1) or No. 3 Tampa Bay Tech (9-2).

Class 2M Region 1

No. 3 Bishop Moore (8-3) at No. 2 Jacksonville Riverside (9-2), 6:30

FHSAA 2M rankings: Riverside – No. 10; Bishop Moore – No. 11.

MaxPreps state rankings: Bishop Moore – No. 83; Riverside – No. 89.

Buzz: Bishop Moore is balanced on offense as Bjorn Jurgensen has passed for 2,122 yards, 28 TDs and six interceptions and rushed for 465 yards and nine scores. The Hornets have tallied 47 sacks, 11 interceptions and five forced fumbles on defense. Riverside, which has turned the ball over 18 times, enters with 50 sacks, 14 INTs and 10 forced fumbles. Winner plays No. 1 Jacksonville Raines (10-1) or No. 4 Jacksonville Bolles (6-5).

Class 1M Region 1

No. 3 Jacksonville Providence (7-3) at No. 2 Orlando Christian Prep (9-1), 7

FHSAA 1M rankings: Orlando Christian Prep – No. 7; Providence – No. 11.

MaxPreps state rankings: Orlando Christian Prep – No. 163; Providence – No. 227.

Buzz: Game will be played at Showalter Field in Winter Park. OCP averages 220 rush yards per game behind the play of Avery Anderson (746 yards, nine TDs), Akeevin Anderson (720 yards, nine TDs) and Adryan Marayne (710 yards, nine TDs). Providence averages 198 rush yards with Mason Williams (732 yards, nine TDs), Tiago Tauler (672 yards, seven TDs) and Jett Hood (501, five TDs) leading the way. Winner plays No. 1 Jacksonville Trinity Christian (7-3) or No. 4 Jacksonville University Christian (5-5).

Class 4S Region 2

No. 3 Wiregrass Ranch (9-2) at No. 2 Lake Minneola (8-3), 7:30

FHSAA 4S rankings: Lake Minneola – No. 16; Wiregrass Ranch – No. 18.

MaxPreps state rankings: Lake Minneola – No. 72; Wiregrass Ranch – No. 115.

Buzz: Expect a high-scoring affair as Lake Minneola averages 262 pass yards per game with senior Jackson Hughes (27 TDs, five INTs) at quarterback and 199 rush yards with junior Dane Thompkins (22 TDs) at running back. The Hawks have 30.5 sacks, 11 INTs and seven forced fumbles on defense. Luke Knight has thrown for 3,602 yards, 41 TDs and seven interceptions for Wiregrass Ranch. Winner plays No. 1 Lakeland (8-3) or No. 5 Bartow (7-4).

Class 4S Region 3

No. 3 DeLand (9-2) at No. 2 Orange City University (10-1), 7:30

FHSAA 4S rankings: University – No. 4; DeLand – No. 6.

MaxPreps state rankings: DeLand – No. 40; University – No. 53.

Buzz: Game will be played at New Smyrna Beach Municipal Stadium. DeLand won 14-3 at University on Oct. 20 to improve to 6-0 in the series since 2013. The Bulldogs average 251 rush yards per game with quarterback TJ Moore (1,007 yards) and slotback Javon Ross (921 yards) combining for 28 TDs. University quarterback Malachi Walters paces the Titans with 2,117 yards, 26 TDs and six interceptions. Winner plays No. 1 Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast (8-2) or No. 4 Vero Beach (9-2).

Class 3S Region 2

No. 3 Leesburg (10-1) at No. 2 Lake Wales (11-0), 7:30

FHSAA 3S rankings: Lake Wales – No. 5; Leesburg – No. 7.

MaxPreps state rankings: Lake Wales – No. 33; Leesburg – No. 86.

Buzz: Defending 3S state champion Lake Wales has won 26 consecutive games since the start of last season. Rashad Orr has 1,336 rush yards and 11 TDs and Johnqaue Richardson has 129 tackles for the Highlanders. Evan James and Demetrice McCray have combined for 1,286 receiving yards and 17 TDs for Leesburg. Winner plays No. 1 Ocala Vanguard (9-2) or No. 4 Zephyrhills (8-3).

This article originally appeared on Email J.C. Carnahan at