There are a slew of big games in Week 4 of the high school football season. District play is opening up for many teams and that means business as the wins are even more prevalent.
The weather should be improved as we are now in mid-September and that bodes well for teams that had games canceled two weeks ago due to Hurricane Hermine.
Here is my preview of the top five matchups this week in the Tampa Bay area.
Boca Ciega (1-0) at Clearwater (1-0)
Both of these Class 6A-District 9 teams square off after picking up wins back in Week 1.
For Boca Ciega, they have a three-headed rushing attack with senior David Dawson and junior Dsoni Ross and Osby Green, who combined for four touchdowns and 313 yards on 34 carries against Countryside. The defense totaled four sacks and two interceptions including one from playmaking senior linebacker Letayveon Beaton.
For Clearwater, they had 6.5 sacks in a Week 1 victory over Tarpon Springs, led by senior linebacker Garet Chisolm (3.5). Indiana commit Tramar Reece had a sack and an offensive touchdown while junior running back Jarius Williams had two rushing scores. Don’t forget Tennessee commit Jacquez Jones who can make big plays at any point at wideout.
Series history – Clearwater has won two of the last three over Boca Ciega including a 42-8 victory in 2015.
Prediction: Clearwater 30, Boca Ciega 20
Jefferson (1-1) at Jesuit (2-0)
Here’s a battle between two Class 5A-District 10 rivals. Jefferson nearly upset Tampa Bay Tech in the opener while they beat Sickles last Friday night. As for Jesuit, they flew handled both Lakewood Ranch and Leto soundly combining for 109 points in two games.
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. Sophomores, running back Niko Duffey and wide receiver Dontavious Smith have broken out for the Dragons.
For Jesuit, they are a state title contender once again with quarterback Danny Boon under center, star running back Malik Davis feature in the backfield and athletes Travell Harris and Kendrick Torain are key targets. On defense, junior linebacker Braden Gilby is a sound tackler and senior safety Rodney Higdon is stellar in coverage.
Series history – Jesuit won both matchups last season including a 38-7 victory in the region semifinal.
Prediction: Jesuit 27, Jefferson 20
St. Petersburg (2-0) at East Lake (2-0)
Two undefeated teams will meet in a Class 7A-District 10 clash. St. Petersburg has beaten Lakewood and Osceola. East Lake has gotten by Palm Harbor University and Lake Brantley, both three-point wins.
The Green Devils have former Admiral Farragut duo, senior quarterback Austyn Causey and senior wide receiver and Georgia commit Matthew Landers on offense. Deshawn Brown and Donnie Crum have looked solid in the backfield while Adul Yates has paced Landers. Defensively, Anthony Johnson leads the way with two interceptions.
East Lake’s speedy senior wide receiver Bryce Miller has turned five catches into five touchdowns and 146 yards in just two games. Senior running back Xavier Jackson has two scores on the ground. Defensively, senior linebacker Cedric Frierson has a team-best 17 tackles while Elijah Green and Jake Castle each have one pick.
Series history – East Lake has won two of the last three, but St. Pete picked up a 46-30 victory last season.
Prediction: East Lake 24, St. Pete 21
Clearwater Academy International (2-0) at Clearwater Central Catholic (3-0)
Two strong programs out of Clearwater will square off as Clearwater Central Catholic welcomes Clearwater Academy International on Friday night. This is the very first matchup between the two schools. CCC has beaten Berkeley Prep, Indian Rocks Christian and DeSoto County while CAI has recorded wins over Cornerstone Charter and Duval Charter this season.
CAI is in its ninth year of existence. Senior athlete Janiero Crankfield, a Marshall commit has four touchdowns (two passing, one rushing and one receiving). He also has an interception. Two freshmen have emerged for the Knights defensively in defensive end Keyvone Lee (two sacks) and defensive back Cody Nichols (one interception).
CCC is filled with Division-I talent including running backs Jervon Newton, Ra’Shaad Stewart, C.J. Cotman and wide receiver Amari Burney. Senior quarterback and South Dakota commit Jakob Parks has eight touchdowns (six passing and two rushing). The Marauders have combined for 12 sacks led by Jerquan Newton (three) and Dillan Gibbons (two) and Deandre Fitz-Henley (two).
Prediction: CCC 35, CAI 17
Winter Haven (2-0) at Kissimmee Osceola (3-0)
7A Winter Haven heads to Kissimmee to battle 8A Osceola. Both teams are undefeated as Winter Haven has beaten Auburndale and Ridge Community. Osceola has picked up wins over Bartow, Oviedo and Liberty.
For the Blue Devils, it won’t be easy in a load environment on the road. Senior quarterback William Tate has four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) while junior running back Ja’veon Marlow already has 203 rushing yards and three scores on the ground. Junior wideout Terrance Anglin has three touchdown grabs.
The Kowboys have a ton of options in the backfield with juniors Jakobe Thomas Malcom Davidson combining for 570 yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore Tayquan Pinellas has a team-best five scores while junior quarterback Braxton Jones has three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). Freshman Dwayne McGee has serious wheels, totaling 184 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries. Sophomore linebacker Kiyante Harrison leads the defense with 25 tackles (17 solo).
Prediction: Osceola 30, Winter Haven 24
Other games to keep an eye on:
Tampa Catholic (0-1) at Fort Pierce Central (2-0)
Sickles (1-1) at Wiregrass Ranch (1-1)
Kathleen (2-1) at Viera (2-1)
King (0-3) at Hillsborough (2-0)
Steinbrenner (1-1) at Sarasota Riverview (2-0)
Tampa Bay Tech (2-0) at Bloomingdale (2-1)
Pinellas Park (1-0) at Tarpon Springs (1-1)
2016 season prediction record: 8-2
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.