Six spring football games -- all played in Osceola County over the next eight days -- could be the last sporting events of the 2018-19 school year, depending on what Osceola's baseball team does in its regional playoff game this week.
Essentially the final spring practice that takes places against a different team that the public is invited to, these games will help coaches assess the work that's been done in about three weeks of spring workouts.
There will be competition for starting spots, Poinciana will debut its new look under Coach Randy Beeken (the only new head coach among the county's eight programs) and the Eagles along with four other teams will audition new quarterbacks. The 2019 regular season fires back up in roughly three months and the playoffs, where Osceola, Gateway and Harmony ended the season, will begin in about six months.
Here's a rundown of this weekend's games:
Sebastian River vs. Harmony, Thursday at Austin-Tindall Sports Complex, 7 p.m.: The Longhorns come off their first district title since 2007, but are replacing a lot of starters on offense, including skill guys Nate Herstich (quarterback), running back Justin Gleason and much of the receiving corps. Led by defensive Player of the Year Elijah Gunn, the defense could be one of the best in Central Florida.
"We still have some competition at some positions, so we are hopin g to see our guys perform against another team," Coach Don Simon said. "We are working on a few schematic adjustments that we'd like to see live, and we'd like to use this game as a boost into the offseason."
Edgewater at Osceola, Friday, 7 p.m.: An incredible matchup that would be a must-play playoff game if the teams were in the same class. Instead they'll prep for the season against each other, a tall task for a Kowboys defense replacing a handful of starters.
"I think it's always the same in spring ball, have you improved over the 19 days of practice?" OHS Coach Doug Nichols said. "I feel we've gotten better, but we have a ways to go. We are young at key spots on defense where we will need to grow up quickly."
Poinciana at St. Cloud, Friday, 7 p.m.: The Bulldogs found a quarterback in the last half of 2018, and Garhett King helped them to a four-game win streak to close the season.
"We're hoping to build off that strong end to the season," St. Cloud Coach Bryan Smart said. "We have no idea what to expect from Poinciana with a new coach, other than knowing they will come in hungry. But our guys are fired up to get back at it."
Heritage at Liberty, 7 p.m.: Another team replacing its quarterback, the Chargers, coming off the best season in school history at 9-2, will have their depth challenged.
Colonial at Celebration, Friday, 7 p.m.: The Storm will see if it's on the upswing after going from winless in 2017 to two wins in 2018.
Gateway and Tohopekaliga, the new school that took many of Gateway's students, and athletes, will meet May 23 at Gateway for the first time.