Durant and Plant CIty will both be on the road this weekend to kick off their playoff runs.
While Newsome was able to claim the 8A District 10 title with a win over Plant City two weeks ago, both Durant (8-2) and Plant City (6-4) clinched postseason berths following the 2021 regular season.
Durant was given the seventh seed in the region and will head to Winter Garden on Friday, just east of Orlando, to take on 9-1 West Orange High School in the regional quarterfinals. West Orange claimed the second seed on the heels of a dominating regular season in which they won all of their contests by multiple scores, with the exception of their lone 13-0 loss to Apopka.
Durant and West Orange both have balanced offenses that can attack you through the air or on the ground, and both have strong defenses that surrendered fewer than 100 total points against on the season.
West Orange was led by quarterback Tyler Huff, finishing the year with 1,312 passing yards and 19 touchdowns to just five interceptions, his favorite target coming in the form of four star wide receiver and University of Florida commit Jayden Gibson. Gibson totaled 698 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. In the backfield, West Orange was paced by 609 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns from Terrell Walden, followed by 442 rushing yards by Jessie Shannon.
Plant City will head to Venice to take on 9-1 Venice High School, the top seed in the region. Venice’s lone loss on the season came in a 28-22 contest against Fort Lauderdale’s Cardinal Gibbons.
Venice has an extremely explosive offense — averaging 43.4 points per game — led by quarterback Ryan Brown, who finished 10th in Florida’s 8A division with 1,825 passing yards and seventh with 21 touchdowns. Brown also finished second on the team with 496 rushing yards and six touchdown runs.
Running back Damarion Escort eclipsed 1,100 yards on the season, reaching 1,161 in total, with 15 touchdowns and was spelled by Alvin Johnson III with 419 yards and 7 touchdowns. Out wide, Venice had two receivers put together 600-yard seasons as Jashawn Platt hauled in 41 receptions for 652 yards and seven touchdowns, followed by Omari Hayed with 47 receptions for 612 yards and nine touchdowns.