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Florida is at the center of the DII club scene this weekend as the playoffs between the North and the South get underway.
The Miami Tridents (4-5-0) are hosting the Tampa Bay Krewe (7-1-1) this Saturday afternoon in one of the three FRU crossover matches scheduled for the day. The Daytona Beach Coconuts (3-6-0) will host the Naples Hammerheads (8-1-0) and the Fort Lauderdale Knights (3-6-0) host the Orlando Griffins (6-2-1).
Tampa won their appeal to have an overtime win count, which made them the top team in their conference over Orlando. In the end it's unlikely to matter that much as the teams still have to perform in the crossovers. St. Petersburg has pulled out of the crossovers, meaning teams set to play them get a bye. Boca Raton takes the weekend off this time.
Last week, Orlando beat Miami 38-14 to move to 1-0 in the crossover series. Boca defeated Daytona 25-12, and Tampa and Naples each won by forfeit.
With victories this weekend, Naples, Tampa, and Orlando should clinch homefield advantage for the final weekend of games March 9, regardless of what happens March 2. Boca, with a forfeit win coming to them this weekend, have already clinched.
In Southern California, the Sin City Irish continue to play extremely well. With a tough, hard-nosed squad that is still learning to play at a serious level, said club president Michael Hutcherson. The Irish have a tough task ahead of them as they face 0-1-1 Ventura County. San Fernando Valley used to be a top DII club and are back there again, at 2-1. They face 1-0 Eagle Rock in perhaps the most telling match of the weekend in SoCal.
Or perhaps that honors goes to 2-1 Pasadena playing 1-0-1 Kern County. Something has to give there, too. If the Irish falter, somebody will be ready to pounce.
That could be the North County Gurkhas, also 1-0-1 and set to play winless South Bay. Riverside takes on Huntington Beach in a battle of winless teams.
In Northern California, the top two teams are idle, and the next two, San Jose (1-0-1) and Santa Rosa (1-0) play each other. The league is primed for an early-season shakeup. Diablo faces Vacaville, Marin hosts Fresno, and Sacramento visits Berkeley.
Arizona is heating up, too. At 3-0 Tempe leads the league, and they face 2-1 Scottsdale in Scottsdale. It's the perfect opportunity for Scottsdale to update the league hierarchy, but Tempe has been playing extremely well, especially on defense.
Phoenix, also 2-1, faces Red Mountain and would be hoping for a tie from the top teams.
Camelback at Magpies and Northern Arizona at Old Pueblo round out the matches.