Game of the Week
South Fort Myers (8-0, 1-0) at Gulf Coast (5-3, 1-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for – South Fort Myers: This District 7A-12 championship-deciding game couldn’t come at a better time for the Wolfpack, which defeated Class 6A ranked Naples 42-35 for the first time since 2010 on Friday. Much of their confidence stems from their ability to make big plays. Against Naples, they had four touchdowns of over 25 yards and three over 50. Senior quarterback Maurice Flournoy passed for 235 yards and added 67 yards on the ground. The offense, which has scored at least 42 points in its last three outings, is flourishing with two weeks left in the season and this title game in front of them. Defensively, the Wolfpack have given up more than three touchdowns just once – with that outing coming last week. Gulf Coast: The Sharks are also clicking at the right time and will enter this game fresh off a 31-10 win over Palmetto Ridge. Despite starting the season with three losses out of its first four games, Gulf Coast has responded with four straight wins. And they’ve been in a variety of ways: shutout, 4-point win, shootout and blowout. That down-but-not-out mentality could play a part in a game that could swing from quarter to quarter. The Sharks, which beat district foe Riverdale 39-21 on Sept. 30, have gotten timely running from junior Demarcus Townsend (100 yards in each of the last two games) and key decision-making from quarterback Kaden Frost (5 TDs in last 3 games).
The News-Press’ pick: South Fort Myers 35, Gulf Coast 32
East Lee County (4-4, 1-1) at Fort Myers (5-3, 2-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — East Lee: This is a District 6A-11 matchup, and a must-win for the Jaguars. If they defeat Fort Myers, and if Estero defeats Lehigh, then the Jaguars will clinch a playoff berth. East Lee enters this game with some momentum, coming off a 53-28 victory against Mariner. Fort Myers: Since falling 24-6 to Charlotte on Sept. 23, the Green Wave have gone 3-0, outscoring Lehigh, Estero and Clewiston by a combined 108-21. Darrian Felix, Xavier Perez and Yasias Young have been leading the Fort Myers ground game.
The News-Press’ pick: Fort Myers 35, East Lee County 14
Lehigh (4-3, 1-1) at Estero (1-7, 0-2)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — Lehigh: This is a District 6A-11 game. The Lightning had a chance to clinch a postseason berth last season against Estero, but fell 21-7 at home. Lehigh, which is coming off a bye week, has won two in a row with blowouts of Cape Coral and East Lee. Expect a healthy dose of RB Chris Curry, which could pave the way for some big plays in the passing game from QB Delshawn Green. With a victory, Lehigh is in. A loss means it will need some help from rival East Lee County, which faces Fort Myers, to force a three-way tie at the top of the district. Estero: What started as a promising season for the Wildcats under second-year coach Jeff Hanlon, who took the team to the playoffs last season, has come off the rails. Estero is in the midst of a six-game losing streak where it reached double-digits in scoring just once. Hanlon will need to rely on his defense, which is giving up just under 20 points per game.
The News-Press’ pick: Lehigh 30, Estero 6
Island Coast (1-8, 1-3) at Ida Baker (2-7, 0-4)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — Island Coast: This is a District 6A-10 game. The best the Gators can hope for is a second straight 2-win season under second-year coach John Schwochow, easily making this the worst run in school history. This will be the swan song for senior QB Kory Curtis and senior WR Marlon Gaymon. Curtis has thrown for 4,333 yards and 40 touchdowns against 19 interceptions for his career. Gaymon has caught 87 balls for 1,431 yards and 11 touchdowns. Baker: The Bulldogs will finished with their worst record since going 0-10 in 2010. Baker won this rivalry game 42-25 last season and is 4-4 all-time against the Gators. Senior WR Luke Endsley has made 79 receptions for 1,1142 yards and nine touchdowns. Junior QB Toby Noland sports a 91.6 QB rating and has thrown for 2,022 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The News-Press’ pick: Island Coast 45, Ida Baker 35
Lakeland Tenoroc (4-4, 4-1) at Bishop Verot (5-4, 4-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for — Tenoroc: This is a District 4A-6 game that will decide the district runner-up. The Titans have won four in a row since losing 44-0 to district front runner Avon Park. Tenoroc averages 164 rushing yards and 170 passing yards per game while its defense has 21 sacks and eight interceptions. Verot: The Vikings will look to extend Bill Shield’s coaching career at least one more game. He has led Verot to the playoffs the last two seasons in his second stint with the team. The Vikings haven’t come close to replicating the type of rushing attack it had with departed RB William Scott. However, junior QB Korey Besse has injected life into the passing game with 1,708 yards through the air.
The News-Press’ pick: Bishop Verot 28, Tenoroc 21
Dunbar (6-2, 2-1) at Mariner (3-6, 1-2)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — Dunbar: The Tigers can help clinch a postseason berth with a win over the Tritons in this District 5A-12 game, but it won’t guarantee one. If Immokalee beats Lely, it would open a three-way tie for only two playoff positions. But first up is Mariner, which Dunbar must beat if it can even consider the postseason. The Tigers are coming off a crucial 41-26 win over the Indians that saw several defensive efforts make the difference. With four shutouts on its resume, Dunbar has cut its teeth on the defensive side of the field, but it’s also scored at least 35 points in its last three games after two straight losses. Expect a heavy dose of Lajuan Preston, who ran for 139 yards and two scores last week. Dunbar also saw quarterback Jairus Johnson complete 12-of-17 passes for 164 yards. Mariner: After winning three of its first five games, the Tritons have dropped four straight and have given up at least 34 points in each of those losses. Worse, Mariner’s defense has averaged 58 points given up in its last three games, including last week’s 53-28 setback to East Lee County. The needle is moving in the opposite direction for the Tritons, a team that needs just one win to tie last year’s mark of four wins. With a win, Mariner could put itself in a position to finish .500 for the first time since 2007. Running back Chance Reiter rushed 14 times for 157 yards in the loss last week.
The News-Press’ pick: Dunbar 45, Mariner 14
North Fort Myers (4-3, 2-2) at Cape Coral (1-7, 1-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for – North Fort Myers: The Red Knights will finish their District 6A-10 schedule with this game. Coming off an impressive 41-15 win over Ida Baker last week, North can also tie last year’s win total of five wins, while also positioning itself toward its best season since 2006. Following two critical district losses to Port Charlotte and Charlotte on Sept. 30 and Oct. 14, the Red Knights were eliminated from postseason eligibility despite losing by a combined seven points. And yet, head coach Earnest Graham’s offense has begun to find its rhythm, with running back Fa’Najae Gotay rushing for 360 yards in his last three games. Quarterback Ben Pogue, a junior, threw for two touchdowns last week against Ida Baker. Cape Coral: The Seahawks, coming off a 42-0 loss to Charlotte last week, have scored just 78 points this season. They’ve been shut out three times and have three one-touchdown games. Defensively, Cape Coral is yielding over 34 points per game. Running back Isaac Washington has been a bright spot, rushing for 969 yards on 6.2 yards per carry. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound running back will likely go over the 1,000 yard mark for the second straight season on Friday.
The News-Press’ pick: North Fort Myers 48, Cape Coral 13
Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy (5-3) at Riverdale (2-5)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for — Westminster : This is a non-district game. The Lions have won five out of their last six games. Riverdale: The Raiders have already secured their third losing season in four years and their playoff drought to seven seasons.
The News-Press’ pick: Westminster Academy 41, Riverdale 28
Marco Island Academy (0-7, 0-5) at Evangelical Christian (0-8, 0-5)
Time: 7 p.m
What to watch for — MIA: This is a District 2A-7 matchup. One team will notch their first victory of the season. The Manta Rays were taken down by Community School of Naples last week 42-22. Tyler Gresham has been the key playmaker for Marco Island and had over 280 yards of total offense and scored two touchdowns in the losing effort to CSN. ECS: The Sentinels are coming off their best performance of the season that ended in a wild loss with a fourth quarter that saw three lead changes in a six-minute span. Southwest Florida Christian Academy had a safety on a blocked punt with 2:32 to go to give them a 16-14 victory. Running backs Jimmy Mera and Correy Massey had rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and have had success together as a potent running back duo. This could be the week for the Sentinels to get off the schneid if the duo can have big games on the ground.
The News-Press’ pick: Evangelical Christian 25, Marco Island 24
Mulberry (2-6, 2-3) at Gateway Charter (1-7, 0-5)
Time: 7 p.m
What to watch for — Mulberry: This is a District 4A-6 matchup. The Panthers are coming off a 26-14 defeat at the hands of Lakeland Teneroc last week. Mulberry is a run-heavy offense with Elijah Cooper and Lewis Marshall the workhorses in the backfield. Cooper averages over 85 yards on the ground per game. Gateway: The Griffins scored first against Bishop Verot last week but gave up 50 unanswered to lose 50-7. It has been a struggle to get Chris Ceasar going on the ground, but Tyious Savoy threw a touchdown pass last week and could help balance the offense to give Ceasar a little more room to run in this matchup.
The News-Press’ pick: Mulberry 29, Gateway Charter 23
Southwest Florida Christian Academy (4-4, 2-3) at Community School of Naples (6-2, 4-1)
Time: 7 p.m
What to watch for — SFCA: This is a District 2A-7 matchup with playoff implications for the Seahawks. If Moore Haven loses to First Baptist, the Seahawks are in the playoffs. If both Moore Haven and the Seahawks win, it will create a three-way tie with the Lions to sort out who goes to the postseason. The King’s can play spoilers by defeating the Seahawks and knocking them out combined with a Moore Haven victory. SFCA won a wild game against Evangelical Christian 16-14 on a blocked punt through the end zone resulting in a safety with 2:32 remaining. Luke Wallace had another strong performance on the ground with 23 carries, 118 yards and a touchdown. Along with Kobe Gee and Chase Reed, the trio have been reliable playmakers. CSN: The Seahawks won 42-22 against Marco Island last week, and running back Joe Lang ran wild with 236 yards and three touchdowns of over 60 yards. If the King’s can pull off the upset, containing Lang from the big run will be necessary.
The News-Press’ pick: Community School 37, SFCA 19
Ocala St. John Lutheran (2-6) at Canterbury (5-2)
Time: 6 p.m
What to watch for — St. John Lutheran: This is a Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoff game. This is a rematch of a September 30 matchup that Canterbury took 24-0 over the Saints in Fort Myers. The Saints defeated Lake Mary Prep 56-32 last week for their second win of the season. Canterbury: The Cougars were riding a five-game winning streak, but it ended at the hands of Lake Placid with a 42-12 defeat. Canterbury allowed over 350 yards on the ground last week, but in the prior matchup against St. John Lutheran allowed under 50 yards of total offense for the Saints.
The News-Press’ pick: Canterbury 31, St. John Lutheran 6
The Lee County Fab 5
1. South Fort Myers (8-0): The Wolfpack wears the crown in Lee County and looks to add a fifth straight district title to its collection Friday.
2. Fort Myers (5-3): The Green Wave can clinch a district title with a win over East Lee County.
3. Dunbar (6-2): Tigers players predicted they wouldn’t lose a third game during the regular season. So far, they’re backing it up.
4. North Fort Myers (4-3): Two straight wins to close out the season gives Earnest Graham his first winning season.
5. Lehigh (4-3): Beat Estero on the road and the Lightning are in the playoffs.