By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
Lely (1-0) vs. Charlotte (0-0)
Last week: Lely d. Gulf Coast, 40-27; Charlotte did not play.
Last season: Charlotte d. Lely, 41-7.
Players to watch: Lely: Jacquez Carter (Jr., QB), Andrew Hurdis (Sr. TE/DE), Jadavian Leccima (Sr. DL); Charlotte: Dee Hicks (Sr., QB), Maleek Williams (Sr., RB), Jacob White (Sr., WR/DB).
What to expect: The first quarter could be very crucial in this one. This is not the same Lely team that lost big to the Tarpons last season. We’ll likely know early whether or not Charlotte is feeling the rust from having missed its first game. That’s a major advantage for the Trojans, who won last week, but still look for the Tarpons to win big tonight.
Barron Collier (1-0) vs. Port Charlotte (1-0)
Last week: Barron Collier 22, Archbishop McCarthy 19; Port Charlotte 34, Lemon Bay 6.
Last season: Barron Collier d. Port Charlotte, 10-7.
Players to watch: Barron Collier: Jack Bueltel (Sr., QB), Emmanuel Joseph (Sr., RB), Rolfken Marc (Sr., DL); Port Charlotte: Paul Barnes (Jr., QB), Ernest Harvey (Sr. RB), Tiyan Bush (Sr., LB).
What to expect: The Cougars averaged more than 26 points a game last season, but the Pirates still managed to hold them to just 10 points in a loss. If Port Charlotte’s run game can get going and the defense can play as well as it did last week against Lemon Bay, the Pirates could certainly get a revenge win this week.
Lemon Bay (0-1) vs. Estero (0-1)
Last week: Port Charlotte 34, Lemon Bay 6; Mariner 19, Estero 0.
Last season: Lemon Bay 26, Estero 14.
Players to watch: Lemon Bay: Brayden Curry (Jr., RB), Victor Mellor (Sr., ATH), Hayden Wolff (So., QB); Estero: D.J. Adams (Sr., LB), Bo Adkins (Sr., WR/DB), Willie Neal (Sr. QB/WR).
What to expect: A lack of a preseason game clearly hurt the Manta Rays last week, as they coughed up the ball three times in the first quarter. Look for a big improvements this week against Estero. Wolff now has a game of experience to build on after a week where he completed 6 of 19 passes. The run game didn’t really have a chance to get going last week, either. Don’t expect Curry to be limited to 60 yards again.
North Port (0-1) vs. Ida Baker (0-1)
Last week: Cypress Lake 40, North Port 7; Dunbar 25, Ida Baker 7.
Last season: Ida Baker 49, North Port 12.
Players to watch: North Port: Octavius Cummings (Jr., RB), C.K. Poulos (Jr., WR), Skylar Razwilavich (Jr., ATH); Ida Baker: Robert Cobb (Sr., LB), Toby Noland (Jr., QB), Isaac Williams (Sr., QB).
What to expect: The Bobcats were the favorites last week, but some miscues led to a big win for Cypress Lake. In this meeting last year, the Buldogs’ win started a four-game skid for North Port. The Bobcats can’t afford to have that happen again. If they can get Devon Allen back under center, that’ll be a big help.
Venice (1-0) vs. Riverview (1-0)
Last week: Venice 46, Camden Co. (Ga.) 17; Riverview 51, Booker 20.
Last season: Venice 21, Riverview 10.
Players to watch: Venice: Court Doss (Jr., RB), Bryce Carpenter (Jr., QB); Riverview: A.J. Franco (Sr., LB/FB), Vince Sellers (Sr., DB).
What to expect: The road to a Class 7A state championship continues for the Indians after a big opening victory. Last week was supposed to be a tough game, but Venice handled it with ease. Don’t look for them to stumble this week against Riverview, which handed it to Booker last week.
DeSoto County (0-1) vs. Avon Park (1-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Last week: Sebring 28, DeSoto County 0; Avon Park 39, Frostproof 0.
Last season: Avon Park 37, DeSoto County 10.
Players to watch: DeSoto County: Niron Washington (Sr. RB/DB), Emmanuel Wesley (Sr., WR/DB); Sebring: Moise Satine (Sr. ATH); Adarius Council (Sr., QB).
What to expect: Avon Park won a district title last season, and they’re likely better this year. After a rout of Frostproof last week, you can likely expect a similar result this week as you saw in last season’s game.