Despite an young and inexperienced defensive unit and a rash of injuries on both sides of the ball almost too numerous to count, the Cape Coral Seahawks find themselves back in the regional football playoffs for the fifth straight year.
The District 5A-11 champion Seahawks (6-4) host the Golden Gate Titans (5-5) in the Region 5A-3 quarterfinal round of the state playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Dave Warkentin Field.
"Golden Gate does a lot of the same things we do on offense," said Seahawks coach Brad Metheny. "It's exciting as district champions we get to play at home and we'll go from there. It's a good challenge. It should be a good matchup, I expect a good game."
Of course, the Seahawks have to have collective short memories after dropping their final regular season game 29-9 last Friday night at Island Coast.
"It was not a good week to play Island Coast," said Metheny. "There was not enough (incentive) for either team. It was not Island Coast's or out best performance. We had quite a few injuries Friday, which was my worry about that game."
Most of the injured will be able to play against Golden Gate with one or two exceptions, according to Metheny.
"We have to become more balanced," said Metheny. "We were heavy on the pass against Island Coast because we got behind early. We have to establish (Dustin) Thibodeau and the running game which will help with the passing game. They have some good athletes at the skill positions, so we will have to play very aggressive on defense."
No other Cape team qualified for the playoffs this season. It is the sixth postseason appearance for the Seahawks in the last seven seasons and fifth in a row after snapping an 11-year absence from the postseason in 2005. It's their second straight appearance under the guidance of Metheny.
In other regional playoff games this week, Fort Myers (8-2) hosts Barron Collier (6-4) while South Fort Myers (7-3) travels to Naples (8-2) in Region 6A-3; Lehigh (5-5) travels to Immokalee (9-1) in another Region 5A-3 quarterfinal; Dunbar (9-1) hosts Lake Highland Prep and Clewiston (7-3) travels to Cocoa in a Region 4A-3 semifinal; Evangelical Christian (10-0) hosts Admiral Farragut and St. John Neumann travels to St. Pete Canterbury in Region 2A-3 semifinals; The Charlotte Tarpons (9-1) kick off Region 7A-3 quarterfinal action by hosting Martin County while Port Charlotte (2-8) visits Fort Pierce Central.