The Cowboys (5-2, 3-0 Class 7A-District 7) are on the brink of the impossible. They are one win away from making the playoffs and two wins away from a district title.
"We're playing for three things this week: a chance to make the playoffs, stop a losing streak with Chamberlain and guarantee a winning season," said head coach Jason Stokes.
No one thought they would make the playoffs this year. No one imagined they could win the district title. The Cowboys have not done either — or even had a winning record — since 2007. They have not beaten Chamberlain in more than seven years.
A win against Chamberlain (2-6, 1-2) would put the Cowboys in the 7A playoffs, even if they drop their last two games. It would validate what first-year coach Stokes and crew have been preaching since spring.
"We believed we'd be where we are now," Stokes said. "We've been telling the kids since the summer and they're starting to see it unfold."
The Cowboys stomped Freedom (1-7, 1-2) 37-0 last Friday to set themselves up for a shot at the playoffs and district.
"That was the first complete game we've played," Stokes said. "We showed we can put it together, play all four quarters and finish strong."
Carrollwood Day School:
The Patriots (5-3, 4-3 Class 2A-District 5) did their part last week and beat Cambridge (5-3, 4-3) 54-35. However, Admiral Farragut and Canterbury both did their parts and won. That mathematically eliminated CDS from playoff contention.
"We hope to run the table for the rest of the year, finish 7-3, third in the district and set the tone for next year," said head coach Lane McLaughlin.
With two games left on the schedule, this Friday at Indian Rocks Christian (6-3, 4-3) and the Friday after that at home against Calvary Christian (3-4, 2-4), the focus at practice shifts.
"We try to have a little bit more fun at practice, now," said McLaughlin. "We played Gator-ball the other day."
It's been nail-biting season. The Patriots' three losses were tight games. They suffered a three-point defeat against Keswick and a six-point loss to Canterbury, then fell to Farragut by eight points after leading 22-0 in the first quarter. Seventeen points separate the Patriots from an undefeated season.
At the same time, some promising things have developed.
Junior tailback Robert Davis has more than 1,500 yards rushing and a whopping 21 touchdowns with two games left on the slate. Davis' yardage (1,521), yards per carry (14.71), yards per game (190.1) and touchdowns (21) all lead Class 2A.
"He's having a heck of a year, and he's played hurt in a few games, too," McLaughlin said.
The Patriots would like to finish their season showing some love for their seniors, including quarterback Deuce Gruden and wide receiver Dillon Floyd.
"I'd like to see a couple more Deuce-to-Dillon touchdowns before the season is done," McLaughlin said.