High school football previews: Week 9

High school football previews: Week 9

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High school football previews: Week 9

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Listen: Reporter Dan DeLuca on 99.3 ESPN High School Football Tailgate Show

All games at 7:30 p.m. unless noted

Week 9 game predictions

Game of the week

Dunbar (5-2, 4-0) at Island Coast (6-1, 5-0)

Coaches Spotlight: Phil Vogt

Dunbar (5-2, 4-0) at Island Coast (6-1, 5-0)

* What to watch for: Dunbar — The winner of this game will claim the District 5A-14 championship. The Tigers are 0-2 all-time against Island Coast, losing in 2008 (10-6) and 2009 (6-2) when the teams were Class 2B district rivals. Like those previous meetings, points will again be at a premium tonight, considering both defenses are surrendering less than two touchdowns per game (Dunbar 12.1 points per game; Island Coast 13.4). After opening the season with close losses to Naples and South Fort Myers, the Tigers have reeled off five consecutive wins, including last week’s 24-9 district victory at Cape Coral. Dunbar’s defense held Cape scoreless on two separate second-half goal line stands and even got on the scoreboard, thanks to sophomore DB Rasheed Golden’s late-game interception return touchdown. “(Defensive coordinator Sammy) Brown’s done a great job for years for us,” Tigers coach Phil Vogt said. “Our defensive side of the football has always been overlooked. I know their isn’t a stat kept for it, but I’m pretty sure our middle linebacker (Hurajay James) leads the county in helmets knocked off. He comes downhill and will whack you.” Junior QB Daniel Cobb, the Tigers’ linchpin on offense, will need every bit of his elusiveness against a Gators’ defensive line that’s adept at rushing the passer. Island Coast — The Gators have won six in a row following a season-opening 32-14 loss to Baker. Their massive defensive line, highlighted by junior tackle Marlon Gonzalez, a Florida St. commit, powers a unit that’s held four opponents under 10 points this season. “Their defensive line is probably the best around, collectively as a group. We have to figure out how to deal with those guys, because we’re not gigantically large or deep on our offensive line.”

* The News-Press pick: Dunbar 26, Island Coast 23

East Lee County (0-6) at Riverdale (1-5)

East Lee County (0-6) at Riverdale (1-5)

* What to watch for: East Lee County — The Jaguars scored a season-high 30 points last week against previously winless Lehigh, but still came up short, 43-40. For the season, East Lee is surrendering 43.3 points per game. Riverdale — The Raiders lost 41-17 last week at district foe Port Charlotte, a setback that eliminated them from the state playoff chase. It also guaranteed Riverdale will finish with its first losing season since a 3-7 finish in 2007. Look for the Raiders backfield tandem of RBs Byron Dean and Van Edwards to have a productive game tonight.

* The News-Press pick: Riverdale 38, East Lee County 23

Charlotte (5-2) at Baker (7-1)

Preview: Charlotte @ Ida Baker

Charlotte (5-2) at Baker (7-1)

* What to watch for: Charlotte — The Tarpons secured a spot in the state playoffs with a 30-21 win at Fort Myers last week. Charlotte boasts an excellent special teams unit with a dangerous return man in senior WR Dwight Reynolds and an accurate kicker in junior Austin Roberts. Charlotte averages more than 31 points per game behind QB Brennan McGill, who has passed for 1,392 yards with 10 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Charlotte won its only meeting with Baker, 27-7, in 2009. Baker — The Bulldogs suffered their first loss in resounding fashion last week, 42-17 at South Fort Myers. Baker committed six turnovers — three lost fumbles, three interceptions – and allowed the Wolfpack to gash them for 321 rushing yards. That loss likely cost the Bulldogs a chance at its first district championship. Now, they must wait until next week against East Lee County to secure that. Baker coach Brian Conn can tell his team if it doesn’t stop itself, it can return to winning ways. The Bulldogs should be able to score points against a Charlotte defense that’s allowing an average of 26.4 points per game.

* The News-Press pick: Baker 28, Charlotte 26

Barron Collier (2-4, 0-2) at Gulf Coast (3-4, 1-2)

Barron Collier (2-4, 0-2) at Gulf Coast (3-4, 1-2)

* What to watch for: Barron Collier – This is a District 6A-13 game. It’s also a fierce Collier County rivalry known as the “Catfish Bowl” with a traveling trophy awarded to the winner. The Cougars are coming off a 35-31 loss to Estero in which the defense played well in spurts defending the pass with a 49-yard interception return by Davonte McClendon but had trouble stopping the run, surrendering three rushing touchdowns. Gulf Coast — The Sharks are coming off a 48-7 loss to Naples and must win this game – and root for Palmetto Ridge – in order to have a chance at the playoffs. “A lot of things have to happen for us to get in there,” Gulf Coast coach Pete Fominaya said. “But besides that, it’s a huge rivalry. We’re getting better on the offensive line. We’re getting better linebacker play. Our biggest thing is we’re trying to win this week. We haven’t beat them since 2007.”

* The News-Press pick: Gulf Coast 21, Barron Collier 14

Palmetto Ridge (5-2, 2-0) at Naples (5-2, 3-0)

Preview: Palmetto Ridge @ Naples

Palmetto Ridge (5-2, 2-0) at Naples (5-2, 3-0)

* What to watch for: Palmetto Ridge – This is a crucial District 6A-13 game, one that likely will determine the district championship and will if the Bears lose. Senior RB Ron Johnson leads the Bears with 191 carries for 1,171 yards (6.13 yards per carry). “Obviously, for us it’s really exciting,” Palmetto Ridge coach Ryan Mitchell said. “As a team, we set goals and accomplishments. This is a huge challenge for us.” Palmetto Ridge coach Ryan Mitchell said Johnson, who has offers from Louisville and FIU and is being recruited by Florida, has helped carry the team. “He’s doing great,” Mitchell said. “As a leader, he has really stepped up. He’s working hard in the weight room. He’s working hard in academics.” Naples – The Golden Eagles got past a seven-turnover loss to Immokalee two weeks ago by beat Gulf Coast 48-7 last week. “We had our two best days of practice this season, back-to-back, Monday and Tuesday,” Naples coach Bill Kramer said. “When you turn the ball over seven times, you can’t expect to win. Ever. So we learned a lot from that.” RB Max Joseph leads the team with 751 yards on 71 carries (10.58 yards per carry). The Naples defense held Johnson to less than 40 yards last season.

* The News-Press pick: Naples 35, Palmetto Ridge 14

Estero (3-4) at

Fort Myers (4-3)

Estero (3-4) at Fort Myers (4-3)

* What to watch for: Estero – The Wildcats are coming off a 35-31 victory against Barron Collier, in which they had 425 yards of total offense. “That was the best our offensive line had played all season,” Estero coach Mark Jackson said. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, playing Fort Myers used to decide undefeated seasons and district championships. That matchup has changed, but not entirely. “It’s a great opportunity,” Jackson said. “They may be out of the playoffs, because they’ve had some injuries and some unfortunate things happen. It was a big deal back then. There hasn’t been much excitement with it lately. We’re not at that level again, but this is still a big game.” Fort Myers — The Green Wave were eliminated from postseason play with a three-turnover, 30-21 loss to Charlotte last week. Junior QB Dylan DeGroot remains out with a back injury. Edwitch Merisier filled in for DeGroot last week and scored on a 12-yard run.

* The News-Press pick: Fort Myers 28, Estero 21

North Fort Myers (2-5, 2-2) at Lemon Bay (2-4, 1-3)

North Fort Myers (2-5, 2-2) at Lemon Bay (2-4, 1-3)

* What to watch for: North Fort Myers — This is a District 5A-14 game. The Red Knights still have an outside chance at qualifying for the playoffs. They’ll need to win tonight and next Friday against Dunbar and will also need Island Coast to knock off the Tigers. That would guarantee North at least a three-team tiebreaker with Dunbar and Cape Coral for the district runner-up spot. Lemon Bay –The Manta Rays are a much tougher team at home where they’ve earned both of their wins and are averaging 41.3 points per game.

* The News-Press pick: North Fort Myers 28-26

Mariner (0-8, 0-4) at

Cypress Lake (1-6, 0-4)

Mariner (0-8, 0-4) at Cypress Lake (1-6, 0-4)

* What to watch for: Mariner — This is a District 5A-14 game. The Tritons delivered one of their worst performances of the season in last week’s 47-7 loss at Lemon Bay. Mariner gained just 65 total yards, turned the ball over four times and were whistled for 113 yards in penalties. Tonight’s game represents the Tritons’ best chance at avoiding their first winless season since 2001. Cypress Lake — The Panthers are coming off their most lopsided loss of the season, 64-6, at Island Coast last week. Sophomore RB Clifford Moore, a bright spot this season, scored on a 52-yard run to account for the lone touchdown. Look for him to make the difference tonight

* The News-Press pick: Cypress Lake 30-20

Lake Placid (2-4) at

Bishop Verot (4-2)

Lake Placid (2-4) at Bishop Verot (4-2)

* What to watch for: Lake Placid – The Dragons have four solid running backs. Bishop Verot – The Vikings had a bye last week and are trying not to keep an eye on next week’s matchup against Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, which will decide the District 3A-6 title. “Lake Placid is a really aggressive team and doing some good things on the field,” Bishop Verot coach Phil Dorn said. “We feel it will help us get back on track and get our timing back. The only thing you worry about with the bye week is losing some intensity with the week off.” Junior RB Jimmy Dwyer and senior FB Steve Brown have stepped up their games following the season-ending injury to senior RB Leslie Green.

* The News-Press pick: Bishop Verot 21-14

Lehigh (1-6) at

Cape Coral (5-3)

Lehigh (1-6) at Cape Coral (5-3)

* What to watch for: Lehigh — The Lightning beat East Lee County 43-30 last week for their first victory of the season. Senior QB Matt Yzaguirre threw five touchdown passes, the second time he’s accomplished that feat this year, to power the Lehigh offense. Cape Coral — The Seahawks’ offense struggled to put up points in a 24-9 loss to district rival Dunbar last week. Look for Cape to get back on track against a Lehigh team that’s allowing an average of 40 points per game.

* The News-Press pick: Cape Coral 35, Lehigh 24

Lely (2-5) at Sebring (5-2)

Lely (2-5) at Sebring (5-2)

* Time: 7 p.m.

* What to watch for: Lely — The Trojans, who started the season with five straight losses, clinched a playoff berth with a 47-7 win over Golden Gate last week. In the game, Lely amassed 430 yards of total offense, with QB Karbiel Dirogene accounting for 351. Sebring: The Blue Streaks lost to Winter Haven last week 43-0, which was the team’s first defeat in three weeks.

* The News-Press pick: Sebring 28, Lely 20

ECS (4-4, 2-2) at

First Baptist (6-1, 4-0)

ECS (4-4, 2-2) at First Baptist (6-1, 4-0)

* What to watch for: ECS — This is a District 2A-6 game. In the Sentinels 52-12 win last week over Marco Island, Sentinels QB Caleb Chapman passed for 219 yards and three touchdowns. He leads all Lee County passers in yards (1,977) and touchdowns (21). First Baptist: The Lions can clinch the District 2A-6 championship with a victory tonight. First Baptist has been stellar on defense this season, allowed just 9.7 points per game, while forcing 23 turnovers and collecting 19 sacks.

* The News-Press pick: First Baptist 38, ECS 14

St. John Neumann (5-2, 3-1)

at SFCA (4-3, 2-3)

St. John Neumann (5-2, 3-1) at SFCA (4-3, 2-3)

* Time: 4 p.m.

* What to watch for: St. John Neumann — This is a District 2A-6 matchup. The Celtics defeated Gateway Charter in a 27-26 nailbiter last week and will look to keep their playoff hopes alive against the Kings. SFCA — After starting the season 4-1, the Kings have lost two straight games, including a 46-0 defeat last week to Moore Haven.

* The News-Press pick: St. John Neumann 29-26

Marco Island (1-6, 0-4) at North Port Imagine (1-6, 0-4)

Marco Island (1-6, 0-4) at North Port Imagine (1-6, 0-4)

* What to watch for: Marco Island — This is a District 2A-6 game. The Manatees lost 52-12 to ECS last week. North Port Imagine: The Sharks, who suited up 17 players last week, lost 60-0 to First Baptist, extending their losing streak to five games.

* The News-Press pick: Marco Island 21, North Port Imagine 13

Canterbury (2-5) at Bradenton Christian (3-5)

Canterbury (2-5) at Bradenton Christian (3-5)

* What to watch for: Canterbury — The Cougars will play their last game of the regular season tonight, which is only nine weeks after the team introduced its 11-man football program to the area. “It’s been a learning curve for everyone, but it has been fun this season,” Canterbury coach Mike Marciano said. Bradenton Christian — After starting the season 3-0, The Panthers have lost five straight, which included last week’s 49-0 defeat to Carrollwood Day.

* The News-Press pick: Bradenton Christian 27-21

Golden Gate (3-4) at Miami Archbishop Carroll (1-5)

Golden Gate (3-4) at Miami Archbishop Carroll (1-5)

* Time: 3:30 p.m.

* What to watch for: Golden Gate — The Titans lost 47-7 to District 5A-15 rival Lely, a defeat that eliminated them from the state playoff chase. Sophomore RB Caleb D’Haiti was a bright spot, rushing for 114 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Archbishop Carroll: After securing their first win of the year, The Bulldogs lost last week to Jupiter Christian, 50-6.

* The News-Press pick: Golden Gate 27-12

Oasis (1-4) at

Gateway Charter (2-5)

Oasis (1-4) at Gateway Charter (2-5)

* Location: East Lee County

* Time: 7 p.m.

* What to watch for: Oasis — The Sharks are entering their matchup against the Griffins off a two-week bye. This comes after Oasis had their off week preceded by a forfeit win over Miami Northwest Christian. Gateway Charter: The Griffins missed a late field goal in a 27-26 loss to St. John Neumann last week.

* The News-Press pick: Gateway Charter 42-7

The News-Press Top 10

1. Immokalee (6-2): The Indians are averaging 40.2 points during their six-game winning streak.

2. Naples (5-2): The Golden Eagles can clinch the District 6A-13 title with a win over visiting Palmetto Ridge tonight.

T3. Island Coast (6-1): The Gators are 2-0 all-time against tonight’s opponent Dunbar.

T3. South Fort Myers (6-2): The Wolfpack have a bye this week after handing Baker its first loss of the season.

5. Baker (7-1): The Bulldogs will look to bounce back tonight against visiting Charlotte.

6. Dunbar (5-2): The Tigers can clinch the District 5A-14 title with a win tonight at Island Coast.

7. Fort Myers (4-3): The Green Wave, out of the playoff chase for the fourth time in five seasons, will host longtime rival Estero tonight.

8. Palmetto Ridge (5-2): The Bears are 0-8 all-time against Naples, including a 64-7 loss last season.

9. Cape Coral (5-3): Turnovers cost the Seahawks in last week’s 24-9 loss to district rival Dunbar.

10. First Baptist (6-1): The Lions can claim the District 2A-6 championship with a victory over visiting ECS tonight.

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