Game of the Week
Fort Myers (6-3) at Dunbar (7-2)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: WWDH 93.3 FM, tigerfm.com, callfm.com
What to watch for — Fort Myers: The Green Wave are coming off a 52-7 victory against East Lee County, one that clinched them the District 6A-11 title, the 10th district title in coach Sam Sirianni Jr.’s 15 seasons. Fort Myers won with a balanced attack and an unrelenting defense. Facing Dunbar, a quality opponent, will help prepare Fort Myers for its home playoff game next week against Barron Collier. “A week off doesn’t do what I thought it used to do,” said Sirianni, who used to use week 11 as a bye week but in recent years has shifted from that. “I think the kids respond better when they’re on a consistent routine. We’re using this as a springboard. It’s a good rivalry game that will lead into the playoff game.” Although Dunbar and Fort Myers are the two oldest programs in Lee County, they did not first play against each other until 2005. Since then, Fort Myers has compiled a 7-2 record in the series. Dunbar: The Tigers clinched a playoff berth and a district championship Monday night, defeating Immokalee 14-7 in one quarter of the District 5A-12 tiebreaker. The Tigers play host to Bradenton Southeast next week in the playoffs. “Oh, we’re going to play to win the game,” Dunbar coach Sammy Brown said of facing Fort Myers. “It’s a great game for the kids and the community. It’s a big local game. The kids know one another. They grow up with each other in the Pop Warner leagues.” Brown said he did not view playing Monday as a disadvantage to playing again the same week. “Every time you play, you get better,” he said. “It was more physical than any practice we would have had. There was no way we could have simulated a practice like that.”
The News-Press’ pick: Fort Myers 28, Dunbar 21
Barron Collier (5-4) at North Fort Myers (5-3)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — Barron: The Cougars punched their ticket to the postseason with a runner-up finish in District 6A-12 after missing out on the playoffs last season. Barron fell to rival Naples last week 42-14 despite rushing for 220 yards. Junior Dana Brown leads the team in rushing with 806 yards and two touchdowns. Starting QB Jack Bueltel missed his second straight game last week recovering from a punctured lung. Junior Jacob Kuhlman has been starting in his place. North: Coach Earnest Graham’s third season has been one of could have beens. The Red Knight’s missed out on a playoff spot despite losing to District 6A-11 champion Charlotte and runner-up Port Charlotte by a combined seven points. Last season, North took out its frustration of missing the postseason with a 44-41 win over Barron. This game will also be the curtain call for Florida State RB commit Zaquandre White. The senior provided flashes of greatness throughout his prep career. Junior QB Ben Pogue is coming off a five-touchdown performance in a 47-13 win over Cape Coral last week.
The News-Press’ pick: North Fort Myers 40, Barron Collier 28
Estero (1-8) at Cypress Lake (3-6)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — Estero: It will be a meeting of two programs that are building. A 4-6 Wildcats team stole a playoff berth last season, but couldn’t recreate the same magic this season. Their playoff hopes were blown out of the water with a 21-8 loss to Lehigh last week. While the defense has been strong at times this season, surrendering 20 points per game, the offense hasn’t found any rhythm. Estero has scored just 71 points on the season. Cypress Lake: In its first season under Richie Rode, Cypress has made strides. The Panthers may be a year or two away from competing in its district, though. They took then-District 5A-12 front runner Lely down to the wire, scoring with under 2 minutes to play to take a lead before surrendering the game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds to play. Coming off a bye, look for Cypress to be well-rested.
The News-Press’ pick: Cypress Lake 24, Estero 10
Riverdale (2-6) at Lehigh (5-3)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for – Riverdale: The Raiders, who lost this game 24-0 last season, meet the Lightning in the 22nd edition of the “I’m Gonna Ring Your Bell” game. Historically, this has been a close matchup, with Riverdale leading the series over its last 13 encounters 7-6. Unfortunately, Riverdale is currently in a two-game skid and fell to Miami Westminster Christian 8-6 last week. Going into their last regular-season game, Riverdale has lost three games by 8 points or less. And the Raiders’ offense has been the team’s biggest problem, with an average of just over 13 points per contest. They’ve given up a little over 22 points on average over the season. Lehigh: Having clinched a District 6A-11 runner-up bid last week in a 21-8 win over Estero, the Lightning are riding high. The Lightning have won their last three games by an average of 24 points, however the team may be without running back Chris Curry, who suffered an ankle injury on his first play from scrimmage last week against the Wildcats. Sophomore quarterback Delshawn Green has made plays with his feet and with his arm and provides a dynamic game-changer. With a victory, Lehigh could win its most games since a 7-win season in 2009. They’re returning to the postseason for the first time since 2011.
The News-Press’ pick: Lehigh 28, Riverdale 24
Mariner (2-7) at Cape Coral (1-8)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for – Mariner: At the very least, this rivalry game pits two teams within close proximity of each other. The Tritons are looking to win their second straight game against the Seahawks after 10 straight losses in the series. Leading the charge for Mariner is running back Chance Reiter, while senior Cairo Jeunegens is capable of making plays with his feet. The Tritons are on a five-game skid and have given up a District 5A-12 leading 36 points per game. Cape Coral: The Seahawks don’t find themselves in much better position. After a surprising 46-36 win over Ida Baker in Week 4, Cape Coral has dropped four straight games and has given up over 41 points per game during that stretch. They’re coming off a 47-13 loss to North Fort Myers. Senior Isaac Washington went over 1,000 yards for the second straight season after gainging 116 yards last week. He’s averaging 6.1 yards per rush and has six touchdowns, which has accounted for nearly 40-percent of the entire Seahawks offense this season.
The News-Press’ pick: Mariner 24, Cape Coral 17
LaBelle (3-5) at Moore Haven (6-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for – LaBelle: The Cowboys, who have dropped two out of their last four games, close their season with a winnable game against Moore Haven. LaBelle won this matchup 41-28 last year. Win a win, the Cowboys can secure at least four wins for the third time in five years. Junior quarterback Tyler Burton leads the offense, while junior Tray Williams has been the team’s leading rusher. The Cowboys possess a special teams threat in Jhonatan Morales, who has made 8-of-10 field goals with a long of 44. Moore Haven: The Terriers are coming off a 42-0 loss to First Baptist. Junior John Cox leads the team in rushing with 1,007 yards and averages just over 8 yards per carry. The Terriers have scored at least 28 points in all six of their wins.
The News-Press’ pick: Moore Haven 52, LaBelle 20
Southwest Florida Christian Academy (4-5) at East Lee County (4-5)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for — SFCA: The King’s are in danger of posting their first losing season since 2012. The main reason is because they’ve struggled to stop teams, giving up 28.4 points a game. There is plenty of hope for the future with QB Kobe Gee and RB Jake Wallace returning for their senior seasons next year. East Lee: Jaguars coach Dave Smith has firmly implanted himself into the coach of the year discussion as his team doubled its win total from the last three years combined. RB Lothario Adderley has been the sparkplug for the team on offense, amassing close to 1,000 yards on the ground while senior linebacker Junior Pierre serves as the emotional leader of the defense.
The News-Press’ pick: East Lee County 45, SFCA 21
North Miami (5-3, 3-2) at South Fort Myers (8-1, 1-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — North Miami: Coming off their first defeat of the season to Gulf Coast last week, the Wolfpack welcome the Pioneers in what figures to be a potentially high-scoring affair. North Miami will not go to the postseason this year in a strong 8A-13 district, but should be an excellent tune-up game for South Fort Myers as they head into postseason play. The Pioneers run the spread offense and quarterback Tyberius Horne distributes the ball to multiple weapons. In a 63-33 defeat to Charlotte earlier in the year, Horne threw for 459 yards and three touchdowns and 10 Pioneers caught passes. South: The Wolfpack were stymied on offense in their 13-6 defeat to Gulf Coast, but should find scoring a bit easier against a North Miami defense that has allowed over 50 points in their three losses to the stronger opponents on their schedule. Maurice Flournoy had a breakout game against Naples two weeks ago, but only threw for 65 yards a week ago and was contained on the ground. Look for him to bounce back with the help of E’Quan Dorris and Riley Ware with their big-play ability.
The News-Press’ pick: South Fort Myers 44, North Miami 21
Winter Haven All Saints Academy (6-3) at Canterbury (6-2)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for — All Saints: This is for a Sunshine State Conference Championship. All Saints Academy beat Canterbury (St. Petersburg) 44-15 to advance to Friday’s championship game. Canterbury: The Cougars have experienced one of the best turnaround season’s in the area under first-year head coach Derrick Crudup, and can cap it with a championship against a team they took down earlier this season. Canterbury beat the Saints 29-13 on Oct. 10 behind two touchdowns from Thomas O’Sullivan off two Danny Cunningham passes. Last week, the Cougars defeated Ocala St. John Lutheran 29-21 backed by 130 yards and two touchdown runs by Brendan Fritz. Canterbury led 22-0 at halftime, but survived a second-half scare to get to this championship matchup. Look for Cunningham and Fritz to continue their strong play as of late and end the season on a high note.
The News-Press’ pick: Canterbury 31, All Saints Academy 16
Evangelical Christian (0-9) at Seffner Christian (6-3)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for — ECS: The Sentinels will face a tough opponent against the playoff-bound Crusaders. ECS had a game effort last week against Marco Island, but fell short 29-21. Quarterback Logan Pearlman had a pass picked off in the red zone in the final minute that thwarted a potential late effort to tie the game. Seffner: The District 2A-5 runner-ups are coming off a 52-20 victory over Clearwater Academy International last week. Seffner Christian relies heavily on running backs Tyrell Carter (1,188 yards, 15 TDs) and Jacob McLaughlin (683 yards, 10 TDs), but also has a threat throwing the ball with Isaiah Knowles (1,254 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs) at quarterback. The Crusaders have allowed 30 points or more five times this season. If Jimmy Mera and Correy Massey can generate production on the ground and Pearlman can find receivers downfield, the Sentinels can put up a good fight.
The News-Press’ pick: Seffner Christian 36, Evangelical Christian 23
Lee County Fab 5
1. South Fort Myers (8-1): The Lee County Athletic Conference champions will look to bounce back against North Miami before going on the road for the playoffs against state-ranked Venice.
2. Fort Myers (6-3): No. 2 in the county is up for grabs when the Green Wave take on city rival Dunbar.
3. Dunbar (7-2): The District 5A-12 champions take on Fort Myers on three days rest.
4. North Fort Myers (5-3): The Red Knights’ three losses came to teams with a combined record of 23-4.
5. Lehigh (5-3): The Lightning are back in the playoffs and face rival Riverdale at home this week.