Sarasota looks to assure playoff birth, and snap drought against rival Riverview
SARASOTA -- In the final regular season rankings released on Tuesday by the Florida High School Athletic Association, Sarasota checked in at 7, in class 7A region 3. The top eight get to live to fight another day, advancing to the postseason. Head coach of the Sailors, Spencer Hodges is well aware of where his team sits entering Friday.
“We definitely want to do what we can to make sure we are in the driver seat going into the playoffs,” Hodges said.
Dropping seven straight in the rivalry, Sarasota hopes to turn the tide.
“They have had that thing rolling for a while now, for us it is our opportunity to see where we are at, at the end of the season and prep for a potential playoff run,” Hodges said.
With Sarasota on the bubble, Riverview, and head coach Josh Smithers enter the November 1st tilt riding a six game winning streak, carrying the designation as 8A-district 8 champions.
“This is a week where it doesn’t matter what is going on in the year , it is always going to be a big time game,” Smithers said.
A large reason why the Rams were able to lock up their fourth consecutive district title was the arrival of Tray Hall. The 5-foot-11, 190 pound running back transferred to Riverview from Cardinal Mooney this summer, and has been lights out for the Rams. The senior has rushed for over 1,000 yards, finding the end-zone a dozen times, and is in the midst of a six game touchdown streak.
“His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and make plays, he has been great for us and just been tough as nails and been a big part of our success,” Smithers said.
The former Cougar, however, has a few things to learn in regards to the "RiverSota" rivalry.
“I’m new to the whole sink the Sailors. I am going to try my best and we are going to handle business out there,” Hall said.
On the other side of the coin, this is not Sarasota Wide receiver / Corner back, Thomas Pack's first rodeo.
Thomas Pack Senior Wide Receiver / Corner Back “We’ve been working for this all four years as seniors, I know they have been working hard. We have 32 Seniors, so we really need to wins this,” Pack said.
The speedster leads the Sailors in receptions, and is averaging more than 10 yards a catch. Riverview sits at 7-2, while Sarasota enters the contest with a 6-3 record. Kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Ram Bowl.