The effects of Hurricane Hermine canceled a large portion of games last week all around Florida, but there were some games still played. Here in Week 3 expect it to be a different story barring any bad weather.
Football is in full swing and at the high school level, things are starting to pick up. This is a big prove-it week for plenty of programs as they try to earn key victories.
Here is my preview of the top five matchups this week in the Tampa Bay area.
Hillsborough (1-0) at Gaither (1-1)
The Cowboys have been determined in two games this season, a 42-10 win over Steinbrenner in Week 1 and a tough 23-20 overtime loss last week. Senior running back TJ Williams is the heart and soul of this offense (4 total touchdowns). Quarterback Gavin DenBoer commands the offense well and linebackers DeCalon Brooks and Matthew Wood along with defensive linemen Estefano Feliciano and Kyle Castro (a combined 6 sacks) get the energy pumping.
For the Terriers, they are in prime position to make a deep run in Class 6A with Florida commit Zachary Carter leading the way. The senior defensive end had a team-high three sacks in the season-opening win over Durant two weeks ago. Defensive backs Leon Gatlin and Ken Montgomery are two guys who can make a play at any moment.
Prediction: Hillsborough 21, Gaither 14
Bloomingdale (2-0) at Armwood (1-0)
This is a solid matchup between 6A Armwood and 7A Bloomingdale. Armwood beat Plant City 36-16 in Week 1. The Hawks are hungry to pick up state championship No. 4 and their first since 2011 with three-headed backfield Brian Snead, Erin Collins and Darrin McNeal leading the way.
Bloomingdale traveled to Newsome and won soundly 23-7 in Week 1 before slipping by visiting Gaither last week. Junior quarterback Tyler Hunter and senior running back DJ Williams (3 total touchdowns) have been in sync thus far. Defensively, senior Colin Errity is a tackling machine (25 tackles in two weeks).
Prediction: Armwood 30, Bloomingdale 17
Manatee (1-1) at Venice (1-0)
This Venice program is always one of the best every season in Class 7A. The Indians are led by senior running back Matt Laroche. He totaled 244 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries in a 46-17 win over Camden County (Ga.) in the opener. The defense forced three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception) in Week 1.
Visiting Manatee features senior ATH Tarique Milton, who has five touchdowns already this season. The Hurricanes won on Monday 7-3 against visiting Palmetto. Week 1 was spent in Alabama as they lost 78-56 to Trussville Hewitt. This should be a fun matchup that I expect to be close until the end.
Prediction: Manatee 24, Venice 20
Sickles (1-0) at Jefferson (0-1)
The Dragons will play up again then week. In Class 5A, Jefferson will battle 7A Sickles. Jefferson has some legitimate talent starting with senior quarterback and Miami commit Cade Weldon. Junior wide receiver Jermaine Eskridge and cornerback De’Andre Hollins are true playmakers. The Dragons lost to Tampa Bay Tech 25-20 in Week 1.
Sickles has athletes all over the place including converted junior quarterback Jordan McCloud who passed for nearly 300 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in a 26-0 win over Alonso in the opener. Also, Carrollwood Day transfer Nazir Achecar balled out with 145 yards and two receiving scores for the Gryphons.
Prediction: Sickles 23, Jefferson 17
Wharton (1-0) at Tampa Bay Tech (1-0)
It’s hard not to like what junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. brings to the table for the Titans. He threw three touchdown passes against Jefferson while wide receiver Daquon Green hauled in a touchdown grab. This team is solid on both sides of the ball.
Wharton thumped King in its opener 39-0. ATH Randy Haynes Jr. and running back Shannon King combined for four scores on the ground. On defense, lineman Justin Visconti has two sacks already this season while linebacker Jonathan Gomez has two fumble recoveries. This should be a classic 7A matchup.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Tech 24, Wharton 13
Other games to keep an eye on:
Northside Christian (2-0) at Victory Christian (1-0)
Cardinal Mooney (1-0) at Berkeley Prep (0-1)
Bolles (1-0) at Lakewood (0-1)
Leto (0-1) at Jesuit (1-0)
St. Pete (1-1) at Osceola (0-1)
Gibbs (1-0) at Northeast (1-0)
Tampa Catholic (0-0) at New Jersey Bergen Catholic (1-0)
Brandon (1-1) at Plant City (0-1)
2016 season prediction record: 5-0
What games will you be watching? Comment below with any predictions or thoughts.
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.