The Southridge Spartans visit the Deerfield Beach Bucks in a Class 8A state semifinal at Butler Stadium on Friday night. It is a battle between two schools that have not gone this deep into the FHSAA playoffs in a long time.
Deerfield Beach(10-2) attempts to win their first state semifinal since 2005. The Bucks beat Western 27-7 in a regional quarterfinal then went on the road and eliminated the defending FHSAA Class 8A champions Flanagan 10-7 in a regional semifinal. They came back home and edged Atlantic 28-21 in the regional final last week. It is their first appearance in a state semifinal since quarterback Denard Robinson led them back in 2007.
The Bucks will split their offensive calls in half between the run and the pass. The player with the biggest profile for the school is wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. He has committed to the University of Alabama, can make receptions on any part of the field and score if he gets space following a catch. Quarterback Nick Holm looks to find him downfield along with wide receivers Daewood Davis, Leroy Henley and Cornelius McCoy. Running backs Jakari Norwood and Jaylan Knighton share the amount of carries from the backfield.
Southridge(10-2) had racked up seven consecutive shutouts until they stopped Coral Gables 28-10 in the regional final last week. The Spartans compiled consecutive shutouts in the playoffs with a 28-0 win over Southwest in a regional quarterfinal and a 26-0 victory against Palmetto in a regional semifinal. They are playing in their first state semifinal game since 1999 and have outscored opponents 234-10 in their last eight games.
The Spartans can use either Michael Cox or Antwan Collier at quarterback. Look for rushing plays from running backs Bentavious Thompson, Courtney Reese and Collier. They will spread the ball around with short passes to wide receivers Mark Pope, Rodney Scott and tight end Kemore Gamble.