FOOTBALL: Week 8 preview capsules

Braden River (5-0) at Venice (5-0)

Time: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Neither team played
Last season: Braden River 30-20
Players to watch: Braden River: Louis Colisimo (Sr., QB), Raymond Thomas (Sr., RB); Venice: Court Doss (Jr., RB), Bryce Carpenter (Jr., QB)
What to expect: In what is likely the Southwest Florida game of the year, Venice looks to get revenge on Braden River after a Pirates win last season. Both teams have state championship dreams, and a win tonight will be a huge step toward that. Both also are scoring a lot of point, while the defense stifles opponents. No matter who wins this one, it’ll likely be an excellent game.

North Fort Myers (3-2) at Charlotte (5-0)

Time: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Neither team played
Last season: Charlotte 35-21
Players to watch: North Fort Myers: Zaquandre White (Sr., RB), Herbert Riggins (Sr. WR/DB), Brandon King (Sr., WR/DL); Charlotte: Dee Hicks (Sr., QB), Maleek Williams (Sr., RB), Andrew Grace (Jr., ATH).
What to expect: The Red Knights took Port Charlotte to the brink a couple of weeks ago, but the Pirates came out on top. This is likely the last test for Charlotte before potentially setting up a battle of the unbeatens between the Tarpons and Pirates in two weeks. Don’t look for Charlotte to stumble coming out of its bye week, though. As long as the defense and special teams can contain Zaquandre White, the Tarpons will be fine.

Port Charlotte (5-0) at Ida Baker (2-5)

Time: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Port Charlotte did not play; South Fort Myers 50, Ida Baker 21
Last season: Port Charlotte 47-27
Players to watch: Port Charlotte: Paul Barnes (Jr., QB), Tiyan “Pop” Bush (Sr., LB), Earnest Harvey (Sr., RB). Ida Baker: Robert Cobb (Sr., LB), Toby Noland (Jr., QB), Isaac Williams (Sr., DB).
What to expect: The Pirates have had some terrible luck with weather and other circumstances altering their schedule this season, but they’ve overcome all the adversity to beat every test. After not playing last week, this could be a chance for them to get a big win and regain the momentum they had built through the first half of the season.

Palmetto (5-1) at North Port (1-5)

Time: 7:30 p.m.
Last week: Palmetto did not play, North Port 35, Bayshore 12
Last season: Palmetto 44-7
Players to watch: Palmetto: Isaiah Washington (Sr., DL), Reggie White (Sr., WR/TE), Anthony Marino (So., WR); North Port: Skylar Razwilavich (Jr., QB), C.K. Poulos (Jr., WR), Devon Allen (Jr., WR).
What to expect: Last week was big for North Port, as it scored five unanswered touchdowns in the second half against Bayshore to grab the first win of the season. This will be a tougher test for the Bobcats, though. The Tigers have a stout defense and will likely be less forgiving than Bayshore. North Port will need to come out of the gate right away the same way it did in the second half last week.

Southeast (2-3) at Lemon Bay (1-5)

Time: 7 p.m.
Last week: Cardinal Mooney 28, Southeast 7; Lemon Bay 20, Cypress Lake 19
Last season: Lemon Bay 14-7
Players to watch: Southeast: Jon Locke (Sr., LB/DB), Alex Taylor (Sr., QB), Dequan Williams (Sr., ATH); Lemon Bay: Victor Mellor (Sr., ATH), Brayden Curry (Sr., RB), Logan Lydic (Jr., LB);
What to expect: The Manta Rays broke their losing streak last week and picked up their first win of the season. This was a game they won last season so look for them to start a two-game winning streak. The Lemon Bay defense took care of business in this matchup a year ago, so expect the same again this time around.

DeSoto County (1-4) at Booker (1-4)

Time: 7 p.m.
Last week: Riverdale 22, DeSoto 12; Booker did not play
Last season: Booker 43-16
Players to watch: DeSoto County: Niron Washington (Sr. RB/DB), Emmanuel Wesley (Sr., WR/DB); Booker: Jamal Benson (Sr., RB), Javarius Cannon (Jr., LB).
What to expect: Despite last year’s score, this is a game that could go either way. The Bulldogs have made improvements, while it appears Booker took a step back. Expect this one to be a close matchup, and Niron Washington will be the difference-maker.

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