High school football previews, week 1

High school football previews, week 1

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High school football previews, week 1

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Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel (0-1) at Immokalee (0-0)

What to watch for: Good Counsel – The Falcons were ranked No. 19 in USA Today’s Super 25 until losing their season opener 20-14 last week to Baltimore Gilman. The Falcons, coached by Bob Milloy, have size up front, with the average offensive lineman weighing 285 pounds. They also lost their projected leading rusher to a season-ending, torn knee ligament last week. Immokalee – The Indians, who advanced to the Class 5A state title game last season before falling 21-20 to Tallahassee Godby, have a new coach in Rich Dombroski but some familiar faces on offense in senior RB D’Ernest Johnson and senior WR J.C. Jackson, who might get some carries out of the backfield as well. This matchup will pit size against speed. Look for Immokalee to take advantage of its home field.

The News-Press pick: Immokalee 35, Good Counsel 24

Riverdale at South Fort Myers

What to watch for: Riverdale – The Raiders had a forgettable performance in last week’s preseason loss to Cape Coral, allowing 35 first-half points and being whistled for 155 yards in penalties. A key will be getting the running game going behind senior RB Byron Dean and junior RB Van Edwards. South Fort Myers – The Wolfpack running game may be challenged by a physical Riverdale defense. Ultimately, however, the Wolfpack’s balance on both sides of the ball will prevail.

The News-Press pick: South Fort Myers 31, Riverdale 24

Baker at Island Coast

What to watch for: Baker -This is a great chance for coach Brian Conn’s team to show it belongs among Southwest Florida’s elite. Last season, turnovers cost Baker in a three-point loss to the Gators. Conn thinks special teams also will play a big role. Island Coast – Weather could play a key factor. If it’s rainy, Island Coast and its power running game will have an advantage.

* The News-Press pick: Island Coast 28, Baker 24

Bishop Verot at Fort Myers

What to watch for: Bishop Verot – The Vikings, coming off a 61-0 preseason loss to Ida Baker, will try to unleash a running game tonight. “They’re a real athletic football team,” Verot coach Phil Dorn said. “They’ve got great speed on the offensive side of the ball. We’re going to have to try and control that and try to keep the big plays down. Our running game will be something we will try to use more this week.” Fort Myers – After competing against Bishop Verot in district play the previous two seasons, Fort Myers coach Sam Sirianni Jr. said he was happy to keep the rivalry going. “It’s a unique rivalry, since we haven’t played them much in football,” Sirianni said.

The News-Press pick: Fort Myers 42, Bishop Verot 7

Cape Coral at East Lee County

What to watch for: Cape Coral – The Seahawks passing game shredded the Riverdale secondary in last week’s 41-24 preseason win. Junior QB Dylan Bontrager threw for 200 yards and three first-half touchdowns. East Lee: The Jaguars, who returned just four starters from last year’s district championship squad, struggled mightily in a 41-0 preseason loss to Island Coast. East Lee will look to senior QB Winfred Ward and senior WR/DB Kendall Sawyer to get its offense going.

The News-Press pick: Cape Coral 29, East Lee County 19

Mariner at Estero

What to watch for: Mariner – The 5A Tritons are looking to regroup again under first-year coach James Hale after five consecutive losing seasons, including 3-7 each of the past two years. Estero – Estero’s seesaw program history, from state title contender in the late 90s to winless dormat last decade and back to playoff participant last year, could be in jeopardy again with the departure of coach Rich Dombrowski after five seasons to Immokalee.

The News-Press pick: Estero 27, Mariner 14

Lehigh at Palmetto Ridge

Time: 7 p.m.

What to watch for: Lehigh – The Lightning had a forgettable performance in last week’s 46-0 preseason loss to Dunbar. Lehigh’s offense should be able to get going this week against a Bears team that went 1-9 in 2012. Palmetto Ridge: The Bears blanked Cypress Lake 27-0 in their classic last week behind senior RB Ron Johnson, who rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

The News-Press pick: Palmetto Ridge 21, Lehigh 16

North Fort Myers at Braden River

What to watch for: North Fort Myers – North’s long program decline in recent years bottomed out last season with an 0-10 record. A drop down one Class to 5A will help some. Braden River – The Class 7A Pirates have had three straight losing seasons, including 1-9 last year.

* The News-Press pick: Braden River 19, North Fort Myers 12

Cypress Lake at St. John Neumann

Time: 7 p.m.

What to watch for: Cypress Lake – Coach Dale More knows his team will have its hands full with a team coached by Steve Howey. The Panthers will ride TB Clifford Moore behind a solid offensive line. St. John Neumann – Foes such as Cypress Lake will prepare Neumann for district play. The Celtics lost to Coral Springs Charter 32-0 in a preseason game.

* The News-Press pick: Cypress Lake 27, St. John Neumann 21

Miami Braddock at Barron Collier

Time: 7 p.m.

What to watch for: Miami Braddock – The Bulldogs are coming off a 2-8 season and averaged about nine points a game. Barron Collier – The Cougars, who will try to overpower teams, opened preseason play with a 14-0 win over Lemon Bay.

The News-Press pick: Barron Collier 20, Braddock 7

ECS at Canterbury

Time: 7 p.m.

What to watch for: ECS – New coach Tyler Gold is looking at rebuilding job with the Sentinels after they went 2-8 last season. It lost to North Fort Myers 62-0 in a preseason game last week. Canterbury – While Canterbury is transitioning to 11-man football, it did play in the championship in six- and seven-man football the last two years. It beat Miami Northwest Christian 54-0 in a preseason game last week.

The News-Press pick: ECS 24, Canterbury 16

LaBelle at Cardinal Mooney

7 p.m.

* What to watch for: LaBelle – This marks the regular season debut for Cowboys coach Chris Siner, who joined the team after three seasons at Mariner. LaBelle allowed 34 second-half points in last week’s 48-12 preseason loss to Immokalee. Sarasota Cardinal Mooney – The Cougars return 17 starters from last season’s 5-5 team and possess a prolific passing attack led by junior quarterback Reese Vita.

The News-Press pick: Cardinal Mooney 33, LaBelle 14

Oasis vs. Marco Island

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Winterberry Park

What to watch for: Oasis – The Sharks beat Marco Island 52-0 last season but struggled in their other games. This season, coach Jason Bowman has helped put together a conference of like-minded independent schools. Marco Island – Oasis is the first team the Manta Rays ever played. The teams also met this past spring.

The News-Press pick: Oasis 32, Marco Island 21

Coral Springs Christian at First Baptist

What to watch for: Coral Springs Christian – The Crusaders have been a steady program for a number of years but missed the 2A playoffs last year at 4-5-1. First Baptist – The Lions return nine starters from a defense that allowed just 13.6 points a game last season’s 12-1 squad.

The News-Press pick: First Baptist 17, Coral Springs 13

Clearwater Central Catholic at Lely

Time: 7 p.m.

What to watch for: Clearwater Central Catholic – The Marauders have had winning records eight of the past nine seasons. Lely – Wisconsin alum Culmer St. Jean begins his bid to right the ship as head coach at his alma mater.

The News-Press pick: Clearwater Central 28, Lely 27

Pembroke Pines at Gulf Coast

Time: 7 p.m.

What to watch for: The Gulf Coast Sharks went 2-8 last season and are facing an opponent that went 0-10 last season.

The News-Press pick: Gulf Coast 14, Pembroke Pines 7

Miami Goleman at Golden Gate

Time: 7 p.m.

What to watch for: Goleman went 3-7 last season and has a new coach in Ariel Cribeiro. Golden Gate went 3-8 last season, having made the postseason as a district runner-up by defeating Lely.

The News-Press pick: Golden Gate 21, Goleman 7

North Port Imagine at Community School

Time: 7 p.m.

What to watch for: Community School – Playing as an independent, the Seahawks will not be eligible for the FHSAA state playoffs. Quarterback Drew Tomaini, TB Ford Ott and Johnny Baker give CSN a potent offensive attack.

The News-Press pick: Community School 34, Imagine 30

Saturday’s game Southwest Florida Christian Academy vs. Gateway

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: East Lee County High

What to watch for: The Kings went 4-6 last season, while Gateway went 4-5. This could be a close matchup, with special teams and turnovers deciding the outcome.

The News-Press pick: SFCA 24, Gateway 20

Naples at Dunbar

Radio: 91.9 FM

What to watch for: Naples – The Golden Eagles are 4-0 all-time against Dunbar. That includes a disputed 17-14 victory in a 2008 regional semifinal when an official overruled what would have been a game-winning touchdown catch by the Tigers. Junior quarterback Michael Walker, subbing for injured starter Garrett Zech, had a standout performance in last week’s 34-17 preseason win over Hialeah. “I wasn’t surprised but I was happy for him to have the game he did,” said Golden Eagles coach Bill Kramer of Walker, who rushed for 213 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown run, and passed for two more scores. Naples defensive coordinator Sam Dollar will have his hands full designing a plan to slow down Dunbar’s bevy of skill position speedsters. “They have speed all over the field,” Kramer said. “It’s a good test for us.” Dunbar – The Tigers’ aspirations for an extended run in the Class 5A state playoffs could get a serious dose of validation if they can knock off Naples. The key will be protecting dynamic junior quarterback Daniel Cobb and keeping the Golden Eagles veer offense from controlling the lock. “We don’t need to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, we just can’t lose it,” Dunbar coach Phil Vogt said. The Tigers will also need to avoid a familiar bugaboo, penalties and turnovers. “It’s not like you can get away with anything when you play a team as well coached as Naples is,” Vogt said.

The News-Press pick: Dunbar 26, Naples 24

The News-Press Top 10

1. South Fort Myers

The Wolfpack have plenty of firepower on both sides of the ball.

2. Dunbar

The Tigers are 0-4 all-time against tonight’s opponent, Naples.

3. Immokalee

The Indians will face a huge tonight test against Good Counsel (Md). and its gigantic offensive line.

4. Naples

The Golden Eagles have lost just one of their last 15 regular season openers, a 24-23 setback to Miami Monsignor Pace in 2008.

5. Island Coast

The Gators are 3-2 all-time against Baker, but have won the past three meetings.

6. Baker

The Bulldogs’ passing attack will put plenty of pressure on Island Coast’s secondary.

7. Fort Myers

The 12th annual Sam Sirianni Day, honoring Lee County’s all-time winningest coach, will feature the Green Wave hosting Bishop Verot.

8. Cape Coral

The Seahawks passing game led them to a surprising 41-24 preseason classic win over Riverdale last week.

9. Riverdale

The Raiders are 3-5 all-time against tonight’s opponent, South Fort Myers.

10. Barron Collier

The Cougars will look to open up their offense this season behind first-time starting QB Paul Johnson.

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