It’s hard to believe we are already in Week 8 of high school football, but here we are. After two hurricanes and a ton of good games, there are more district clashes on deck this week.
Here are five matchups I will be keeping an eye on.
Braden River (5-0) at Venice (5-0)
Here’s a Class 7A-District 11 matchup between two undefeated teams. Venice has been a powerhouse for years and Braden River is a steady program.
Braden River is averaging 40.4 points per game while it has allowed just 28 total points in five games. This is a huge test for the Pirates on the road.
Junior quarterback Bryce Carpenter has 11 touchdowns (7 passing, 4 rushing) while senior running back Matthew Laroche already has 1,058 yards and 11 rushing scores for Venice. Seven different players have an interception for an Indians defense that has given up only 37 points this season.
Series history: Venice owns a 6-2 record in the series against Braden River. The Pirates have won two in a row.
Prediction: Venice 31, Braden River 17
St. Petersburg (4-1) at Pinellas Park (4-1)
Reeling off a loss to Lakewood, Pinellas Park is looking to improve to 2-0 in 7A-10 play while St. Pete is aiming to move up to 2-1. Both teams have been strong so far this season.
St. Pete has senior quarterback Austyn Causey (9 touchdowns) and Georgia commit, senior receiver Matthew Landers (4 scores). Senior Larrie McCall leads the defense with six sacks while junior Anthony Johnson Jr. has three picks.
For Pinellas Park, senior ATH Zamari Maxwell continues to do it all for the Patriots with nine offensive touchdowns and two interceptions. Defensively, Pinellas Park has a whopping 35 sacks including nine from Makel Calhoun and Shawn Binion has eight.
Series history: Pinellas Park owns a 5-4 record against St. Pete with three straight victories.
Prediction: Pinellas Park 27, St. Pete 20
North Florida Christian (6-1) at Cambridge Christian (6-0)
Here’s the matchup that Cambridge Christian has been waiting for all season. North Florida Christian served as the toughest opponent for eventual 2A champion University Christian in a 38-30 loss in the region final. The Lancers made it to the state final, but they know the Eagles mean business.
North Florida Christian’s junior receiver Matthew Dickey leads the offense with five touchdown grabs while sophomore Von Hayes has a team-best three interceptions. This is a program that has won seven state titles with the last one coming in 2011. They know how to win games.
Cambridge Christian has weapons all over the place with quarterback Jaylin Jackson (15 touchdowns), running back Andrew Cunningham (11 touchdowns) and athletes J’Kobi Reddick (2 touchdowns) and Aaron Pierre (3 touchdowns).
Prediction: Cambridge Christian 35, North Florida Christian 27
Durant (6-1) at Plant City (4-2)
The Durant Cougars have rattled off six consecutive wins after losing on the road at Hillsborough to open the season. Durant is 4-0 in district play while Plant City is 3-1, so a Raiders win would force a tie between the two teams in the standings.
Junior quarterback Carlton Potter has shined this season with 17 touchdowns (16 passing, 1 rushing) while receiver Brandon Myers and back Cameron Myers have combined for 14 touchdowns offensively. Seniors Dylan Novo (5 sacks) and Grey Rentz (3 interceptions) lead the Cougars defense.
Plant City’s two losses came against Armwood and Tampa Bay Tech. Senior quarterback Corey King has nine touchdowns (7 passing, 2 rushing) and sophomore back Treshaun Ward has 893 yards and 11 scores on the ground. Juniors Austin Eldridge (5 sacks) and Cody Cribbs (3 picks) have been consistent for the Raiders defense.
Series history: Plant City is 8-4 all-time in the series winning the last matchup 21-16 in 2015.
Prediction: Plant City 27, Durant 24
Anclote (3-2) at Wesley Chapel (6-0)
This 5A-District 8 matchup is a big one as Anclote sits in third in the standings with a 2-2 record while Wesley Chapel is 4-0 in district play.
The Sharks have won two straight, both in shutout fashion. Anclote’s two losses have come by a combined three points. Junior quarterback Tim Dallaire has 17 touchdowns (11 passing, 6 rushing) while senior running back Braxton Johnson is showing up every week with 11 touchdowns (7 rushing, 4 receiving) and 989 total yards.
For Wesley Chapel, it has been the Jacob Thomas show. The senior quarterback has 11 touchdowns (eight passing, three rushing) and no interceptions. Out of the backfield, junior backs Dexter Leverett and Malik Melvin have 12 scores combined. Christian Austin and Donovan Willingham are two steady pass rushers on defense with 4.5 sacks each.
Series history: Anclote is 4-3 all-time against Wesley Chapel, but the Wildcats have won two straight.
Prediction: Wesley Chapel 30, Anclote 23
Other games to keep an eye on:
Blake at Hillsborough
Dixie Hollins at Clearwater
Gaither at Plant
Zephyrhills at River Ridge
Mitchell at Wiregrass Ranch
Durant at Bloomingdale
Riverview at Manatee
2016 season prediction record: 23-2
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.