Game of the Week
Fort Myers (2-1) at South Fort Myers (3-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — Fort Myers: The Green Wave is coming off a 34-0 shutout of rival Cypress Lake where it held the Panthers to just 47 yards rushing. Offensively, Fort Myers, which threw one pass last week, is rushing for 250 yards a game. Those yards may be hard to come by this week if South stacks the box and opts to play 1-on-1 coverage on the outside with one safety over the top. South: The Wolfpack had to hold on for dear life against a lesser opponent for the third straight week when it edged Lehigh 20-16. Senior Maurice Flournoy is taking the steps necessary to cementing his status as the starting quarterback. He found Jeshaun Jones for two touchdowns last week. Senior RB E’Quan Dorris has been nursing a hamstring injury and it’s unclear as to whether he’ll play.
The News-Press’ pick: Fort Myers 27, South Fort Myers 13
Island Coast (0-3) at North Fort Myers (1-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch – Island Coast: This is a District 6A-10 game. The Gators, on a three-game skid to begin the season, are being outscored by an average of 22 points per game. Dating back to 2015, Island Coast has lost its last eight games. The Gators will be without senior wide receiver Marlon Gaymon, who has a foot injury. Senior quarterback Kory Curtis has thrown for 633 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions, but he’s completing just 44 percent of his passes. Junior Cameron Howitt has been a bright spot on defense, nabbing away three interceptions. The Gators won this game last year in a shootout, 44-41. North Fort Myers: Senior RB Zaquandre White, who hurt his left ankle in the first half of the team’s 14-6 win over Estero and was held out for the remainder of the game, is questionable for the matchup, coach Earnest Graham said. North Fort Myers could take a committee approach to rushing the ball after four players saw carries and rushed for at least 20 yards. The Red Knights, however, have scored just four touchdowns in two games and have failed to produce much in the air. WR Joe Wilkins, QB Ben Pogue and Cameron Taylor are out for the game, Graham said.
The News-Press’ pick: North Fort Myers 28, Island Coast 7
Estero (1-2) at Palmetto Ridge (2-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch – Estero: While the team’s defense has yielded less than three touchdowns in each of its first three games, in losses to Mariner and North Fort Myers the Wildcats have scored just six points. Estero simply isn’t clicking on offense outside of playmaker Willie Neal, who combined for 58 all-purpose yards in a loss against North Fort Myers. Quarterback Phillip Setterquist passed for 70 yards and ran for another 55 yards in the loss to the Red Knights. Friday begins a tough stretch against two straight Class 6A foes. Palmetto Ridge: The Bears are still undefeated, although they’re not winning pretty or easy. While they’ve done enough to outscore opponents in their first two weeks, the Bears have also only won by a combined 15 points. Palmetto Ridge gave up 223 passing yards against North Port and also had to claw back from a 27-14 deficit in the second quarter. Sophomore running back Cristian Torres led the team with 89 rushing yards on 24 carries.
The News-Press’ pick: Palmetto Ridge 17, Estero 14
Dunbar (3-0) at Lely (2-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch – Dunbar: This is a District 5A-12 game. The Tigers are on a roll with victories over Ida Baker, Lehigh and Riverdale. They’ve allowed just seven points in three games, sacked quarterbacks 16 times and batted away 23 passes, solidifying one of the best defenses in Southwest Florida. Junior defensive end Rocky Jacques-Louis has compiled 11 sacks, while senior safety Shanon Reid is second on the team with 31 tackles, a sack and two passes defended. Offensively, the Tigers have rolled up an average of 223 rushing yards per game and backs Keanu Young and Lajuan Preston have combined for six touchdowns. Lely: With its win over Golden Gate last Friday, the Trojans, led by first-year Lely coach Maurice Besler, have as many victories as all of 2015. Junior quarterback Jacquez Carter has thrown for 555 yards and seven touchdowns as the Trojans have put up 80 points in two wins over Gulf Coast and the Titans. Junior Jean Joseph, a receiver and cornerback, has been an influence on both sides of the ball, taking in two interceptions for touchdowns against the Sharks and adding two receiving touchdowns in each of the last two games.
The News-Press’ pick: Dunbar 30, Lely 14
East Lee (1-2) at Riverdale (0-2)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — East Lee: After scoring 51 in its opening weekend against Gateway, East Lee has scored just six in losses to Cypress Lake and Sebring. “They’re coming off a tough loss but they have a lot of good athletes,” Riverdale coach Tom Roszell said. “They have a lot of speed. When you don’t score, everyone worries you.” Riverdale: The Raiders also have had trouble scoring in losses to Palmetto Ridge (14-6) and Dunbar (35-0). Riverdale senior tailback Malcolm Spencer did have 146 yards rushing vs. the Tigers. “We’re not able to finish our drives,” Roszell said. “We’re not getting paid. We’re working on that. Turnovers also have killed us.” This will be Riverdale’s homecoming. “That’s always a distraction but I think we’ll be OK,” Roszell said.
The News-Press’ pick: Riverdale 30, East Lee County 7
Cape Coral (0-2) at Port Charlotte (1-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — Cape: This is a District 6A-10 game. The teams are coming off bye weeks. There were some bright spots from the Seahawks defense in Week 2 when it held South Fort Myers to 18 points. Coach Larry Gary’s team will look to control the clock with senior RB Isaac Washington. Port Charlotte: The Pirates’ running game appeared to be in midseason form during a rout of Barron Collier when it rushed for 433 yards on 75 carries.
The News-Press’ pick: Port Charlotte 38, Cape Coral 20
Ida Baker (1-2) at Charlotte (2-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — Baker: This is a District 6A-10 game. With this game, the Bulldogs are ending stretch where they will have played three state-ranked teams in four weeks. Last week they allowed 42 points in the first 22 minutes of game action against Bradenton Braden River. Baker WR Luke Endsley has caught 20 balls for 338 yards and three touchdowns this season. Charlotte: Arkansas commit Maleek Williams carried 12 times for 175 yards and three touchdowns in the Tarpon’s 63-33 win over North Miami last week.
The News-Press’ pick: Charlotte 50, Ida Baker 14
Mariner (2-1) at Cypress Lake (2-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for – Mariner: This is a District 5A-12 matchup. The Tritons lost to Bishop Verot 22-13 but have victories against LaBelle and Estero. “One kickoff, they took it to the house,” Mariner coach Travis Smith said of the Vikings. “Another kickoff, they took it all the way to the 15.” Mariner starts three sophomores and a freshman on the offensive line, which has its pros and cons. “It’s good for the future, but they’ve got to grow up quickly.” Senior RBs Eric Preston and Geo Garcia share the carries, with both pulling double duty on defense, Preston at CB and Garcia at LB. “They’re better than what they were last year,” Smith said of the Panthers. “We’re preparing for a tough game.” Cypress Lake: The Panthers are coming off a 34-0 loss to Fort Myers after defeating North Port 40-7 and East Lee County 20-6. “We’ve already matched our win total from last year,” first-year Cypress Lake Coach Richie Rode said. “Last week was a little bit of a reality check. We had some adversity.” The Panthers have been alternating QBs in junior Joe Lemoine and sophomore Keyon Brawner. They also double on defense as LBs. WR Tim Addison is out with a broken right wrist, which means the team will rely even more upon senior RB Isaiah Thomas. “He’s really the leader for the whole team,” Rode said.
The News-Press’ pick: Mariner 21, Cypress Lake 14
Lehigh (0-2) at Baron Collier (2-1)
Time: 7 p.m.
What to watch for — Lehigh: The Lightning earned a moral victory of sorts when it pushed South Fort Myers before falling 20-16 on the road. RB Chris Curry received 25 carries and amassed 124 yards. Expect to see more of the same. Barron: The Cougars, who are giving up 43.5 points per game, scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to win a wild one over Immokalee 36-35 in Week 2.
The News-Press’ pick: Barron Collier 28, Lehigh 21
St. John Neumann (1-1) at SFCA (2-1)
Time: 7 p.m
What to watch for — Neumann: This is a District 2A-7 game. The Celtics are coming off of a 34-20 defeat to Canterbury last Friday. After only trailing at halftime by two, St. John Neumann gave up three consecutive scores in the second half. The young Celtics team led by coach Damon Jones already has surpassed their win total from a year ago, winning a thrilling 40-36 back-and forth tilt with St. Petersburg Catholic in its first game of the season. SFCA: The Kings were thoroughly outplayed by Admiral Farragut a week ago, losing 47-0. After only trailing by seven after the first quarter, SFCA’s defense surrendered 26 points in the second quarter. The running game was quiet, as the Kings only ran for 56 yards. Koby Gee and Chase Reed connected five times for 97 yards through the air, and should be a good matchup for a Celtics secondary which allowed three touchdown passes to Canterbury.
The News-Press’ pick: SFCA 33, St. John Neumann 10
LaBelle (1-2) at Mulberry (0-3)
Time: 7:30 p.m
What to watch for — LaBelle: This is a District 4A-6 game. The Cowboys had a tough loss to Mariner last week, going down 20-19 on a late Tritons touchdown. LaBelle led the entire game, but two extra points on touchdowns failed, creating the difference in the game. Tray Williams had a return touchdown for the second week in a row, a 92-yard kickoff return which gave LaBelle a 10-point lead in the first half. Offensively, the Cowboys had it tough against a solid Mariner defense, failing to hit 150 yards. Mulberry: LaBelle should have it easier against Mulberry, which has lost three games by a combined score of 134-27. Elijah Cooper will need to be contained on the ground as he has averaged 118 yards a game and went for 172 yards against Lake Region with an 81-yard touchdown.
The News-Press’ pick: LaBelle 26, Mulberry 15
Lake Placid (1-1) at Bishop Verot (1-2)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
What to watch for — Lake Placid: This is a District 4A-6 game. The Dragons snapped a six-game losing streak dating back to last season with a 34-3 non-district win over St. Petersburg Catholic last week. RB Tay Williams finished with 154 yards rushing while Markie McCray added 104. Verot: The Vikings surrendered more than 500 yards of offense last week, but managed to keep it close in a 37-21 loss to Class 3A powerhouse Lakeland Christian. Look for Verot to slow down the Dragons running game and the secondary, featuring junior CB Deven Thompkins, to play strong against the pass. Junior QB Korey Besse threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions last week. If the offensive line gives him enough time he should be able to pick apart the defense.
The News-Press’ pick: Bishop Verot 42, Lake Placid 17
Canterbury (1-1) at St. Petersburg Canterbury (2-0)
Time: 7 p.m
What to watch for — Canterbury: The Cougars are coming off of a 34-20 victory over St. John Neumann last Friday. Quarterback Danny Cunningham had a terrific performance with three touchdown passes and ran in one more score on the ground. Jalen Ellis was the recipient of two of Cunningham’s TD passes and has been a steady contributor on the ground for the Cougars. St. Petersburg Canterbury: The Crusaders boast two lethal running options in quarterback Iy’Rese Scott and Tyler Vanburger. Scott ran for 173 yards and three touchdowns and also had two touchdown passes and 152 through the air while Vanburger had 241 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in a wild 59-52 win over Oviedo Master’s Academy last week.
The News-Press’ pick: St. Petersburg Canterbury 44, Canterbury 37
First Baptist (0-2) at Evangelical Christian (0-2)
Time: 7 p.m
What to watch For — FBA: After a state seminfinal appearance in Class 2A last season, the Lions have had to deal with big personnel changes and have come up short in two competitive games this season. Lakeland Christian took them down 27-14, but running back Jayce Howell had a strong performance with 157 yards and both First Baptist touchdowns. He will be a big challenge for Evangelical Christian who struggled with a familiar running back a week ago in Chris Ceasar. The former Sentinel scored five time for Gateway Charter as ECS lost 46-19 last Friday. ECS: Quarterback Logan Pearlman threw three interceptions last week and will need to take care of the football to give the Sentinels more balance offensively. Running back Jimmy Mera had a strong night with 122 yards and three touchdowns but was limited in the second half after being banged up. He is expected to play and will need to continue his strong play to start the season for the Sentinels.
The News-Press’ pick: First Baptist 34, Evangelical Christian 18
Lee County Fab 5
1. Dunbar (3-0): The Tigers and their dominant defense face a tough test in 2-1 Lely in their District 5A-12 opener.
2. Fort Myers (2-1): A lot will be learned about the Green Wave in the next week with games against South Fort Myers and Charlotte.
3. South Fort Myers (3-0): The Wolfpack finally may want to put their best foot forward this week in a rivalry game with Fort Myers.
4. North Fort Myers (1-1): The Red Knights will look to start District 6A-10 play off on the right foot against Island Coast.
5. Mariner (2-1): The Tritons have a winnable game on the road against Cypress Lake.