Fort LauderdaleUniversity (7-0)at Manatee (8-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
On the air: 930-WLSS AM, 7 p.m.
The scoop: The Class 4A Suns have won 20 straight games and nabbed their first state championship last year as a Class 3A school. ... QB Sean White is an Auburn commit who has thrown for 1,547 yards and 23 TDs and just six INTs in 145 attempts. He has completed more than 63 percent of his passes. ... White's top target is Chris Taylor (24 catches, 486 yards, seven TDs), a Duke commit. ... Leading the defense is Florida-bound Quincy Robinson and sophomore Deonta Fair, who each have three INTs. ... LB Richard Yeargin III (3½ sacks, 11½ tackles for loss) is headed to Notre Dame, and fellow LB Brandon Russell (47 tackles) will play at Rutgers. ... Jordan Scarlett (709 yards, 8 TDs) handles the running. ... Manatee clinched the Class 8A-District 7 title last week at St. Petersburg. ... The Hurricanes have won 25 straight regular-season games. ... RB Trevon Walters (1,047 yards, 13 TDs) leads public-school running backs in yards. ... WR Kelvin McKnight (an area-best 32 catches) missed nearly all of last week's game after twisting his ankle but practiced this week. ... Manatee's defense has allowed two TDs during the past four weeks and has totaled 21 sacks, with Daniel Doyle chipping in a team-best eight. ... MaxPreps lists this game as one of the 10 best in the country this week. Three of the site's writers picked Manatee; three picked University.
Prediction: Manatee 17, University 14.
Wauchula Hardee(6-1, 2-0 Class 5A-District 13) at Southeast (2-5, 2-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: The winner of this game just has to win its final district game to claim the title with Southeast still to face Booker and Hardee taking on longtime nemesis Arcadia DeSoto in the state's oldest rivalry. ... These Wildcats are vintage Hardee with a no-frills offense that pounds it in your face. Workhorse Timmy Steedly has gained 546 yards on 87 carries (6.3 average), and 241-pound Keynote Holley has amassed 439 yards on 72 carries (6.1). ... You can't forget quarterback Kris Johnson, who averages 10.7 yards per carry and has connected on 41 of 91 passes for 660 yards with eight TDs and five INTs. ... The Wildcats are averaging 26.1 points per game and will test Southeast's questionable defense. ... The Seminoles are on their third quarterback with James Thomas (17-234) for 234 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs, but still rely on Courtney Allen. The senior running back is a familiar face to Hardee and has rushed for 956 yards on 124 carries (7.7 avg). He has 3,504 career rushing yards and needs 206 to pass Bayshore's John Garvin and move into second place in the Manatee County career public school rushing list. ... Southeast has picked the right games to win, but in trying to replace nine starters on defense, it hasn't shown it can play the defense that will be needed to stop the Wildcats, and the Noles' offense has been inconsistent. If the Noles lose they can still make the playoffs as district runner-up with a victory over Booker next week. ... Even if you throw out the 62-0 loss to Manatee, the Noles are allowing 30 points per game.
Prediction: Hardee 31, Southeast 17.
Palmetto(4-3, 2-0 Class 7A-District 10)at Sarasota (3-4, 1-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Online: palmettohigh sports.com.
The scoop: The Tigers can clinch the district with a win if North Port defeats Braden River. Palmetto hosts the Pirates next week in each team's district finaleRB Josh Hicks is fourth in the area in rushing (908 yards) and second in scoring (96 points). ... MLB Inu Matelau leads the Tigers in sacks (six) and tackles (83). ... QB Jack Allison is third among public-school QBs in passing yards (812). ... The Sailors are eliminated if they lose and Braden River wins. ... RB Justin Austin rushed for 276 yards last week against North Port. ... Sarasota snapped a four-game skid with last week's win over the Bobcats.
Prediction: Palmetto 35, Sarasota 21.
North Port(2-5, 0-3 Class 7A-District 10)at Braden River (4-2, 1-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: Braden River is still in the hunt for a district title or a playoff berth as district runner-up. If the Pirates defeat North Port and Palmetto next week, they can create chaos in the district standings and set up several postseason tie-breaker scenarios. ... North Port likes to fling the ball around with quarterback Brennan Simms, but the Bobcats have problems on defense. ... Braden River will look to exploit that behind quarterback Dusty Peebles, who has shown improvement since the season started. The junior has completed 61 of 110 passes for 990 yards and nine TDs with only two INTs. He has one of the area's most electrifying receivers in Justin Ross, who is averaging 15.5 yards per catch with 26 receptions for 404 yards and 3 TDs. ... The Pirates' leading rusher, Titus Humphrey, is expected to return after missing the last game due to an injury, but the team found some depth in Carlos Crawford, who ran for 72 yards against Bayshore. ... North Port likes to move the ball behind Leonard Faison, who has gained 577 yards rushing with seven TDs and has caught 27 passes for 407 yards and six TDs. ... This is a must win for the Pirates if they hope to qualify for the playoffs.
Prediction: Braden River 24, North Port 21.
Riverview (4-2) at Lakewood Ranch (4-3)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: In the grand scheme of things, this game doesn't mean much to Lakewood Ranch. If the Mustangs beat Sarasota next week in their final district, they assure themselves of a playoff berth unless Palmetto loses one of its final two district games (Sarasota and Braden River). Then Lakewood Ranch would be part a three-way tie for the district title. ... This game against a Riverview program that looks as if it is returning to the winning ways it once knew could be a nice confidence booster for the Mustangs, who struggled last week in a loss to Palmetto. ... Quarterback Chad Rex, who has been the heart and soul of the offense this season, needs to get back on track and should be able to do that against a Rams defense that doesn't have the speed or athleticism to match Palmetto's defense. The Tigers limited Rex to 62 yards passing and minus-10 yards rushing and picked him off twice. ... Lakewood Ranch had some early-game jitters, which put the Mustangs in a deep hole. ... Riverview likes to run behind Richie James, who has rushed for 579 yards and seven touchdowns on 72 carries and ran for 263 yards and four touchdowns last week against Palm Harbor University. He is well complemented by O'Shea Grant. ... Riverview is in a similar situation, needing a victory next week to earn a playoff berth as district runner-up. It makes this game seem like a preseason contest, and you don't know which team will have more intensity.
Prediction: Lakewood Ranch 28, Riverview 24.
Out-of-Door Academy (1-6) at Saint Stephen's (3-4)
Time: 7 p.m.
The scoop: The Thunder have been shut out in each of their past four defeats. ODA's last points in a loss came Sept. 6. ... This marks the first game inside Saint Stephen's Turner Fields at Moore Athletic Facility, and it's the Falcons' Senior Night. ... The Falcons are looking for their first three-game winning streak since 2007. ... RB Luc Goeders is sixth in the area in rushing (648). ... Freshman Michael Burtch leads the team in tackles (56) and is one of three Falcons with four sacks. ... The Headmaster's Cup is awarded to the winner of this rivalry game.
Prediction: Saint Stephen's 42, Out-of-Door Academy 6.
Fort Myers Canterbury (2-5) at Bradenton Christian (3-5)
Time: 7 p.m.
The scoop: The Cougars rely heavily on QB Alex Rabinowitz. ... The senior leads the team in rushing (81.4 YPG) and passing (191.0 YPG). ... Rabinowitz has accounted for 18 TDS (eight rushing, 10 passing). ... Zach Cooper (severe whiplash) was carted off last week, but has since been released from the hospital and is being treated in therapy. ... Cooper's injury runs Bradenton Christian's total to seven players missing this season due to injuries. "Just a M.A.S.H. unit," BCS head coach Allan Gerber said. ... Panthers senior RB/WR Sinclair Laskett's (severely sprained ankle and bone chip) status to return this season is uncertain. He has missed five games, and the Panthers' offense has felt the blow. ... BCS has been shut out three times and scored just 31 points in the past five games -- all losses -- after starting the year 3-0. ... However, the Panthers find an opponent they should compete with Friday before next week's finale at St. Petersburg Keswick.
Prediction: Bradenton Christian 21, Fort Myers Canterbury 14.
Lakeland VictoryChristian Academy (5-2)at Cardinal Mooney (5-1)
On the air: 1220-AM, 106.9-FM WSRQ
Time: 7 p.m.
The scoop: The Cougars are coming off a 62-0 rout of rival Out-of-Door Academy that clinched Cardinal Mooney's first playoff berth and winning season since 2008. Mooney must avoid looking ahead to next week's showdown at Fort Myers Bishop Verot, which is for the Class 3A-District 6 championship. ... The Cougars kicked their running game into high gear against the Thunder, rushing for 330 yards on 19 carries, an average of 17.4 yards per attempt. Freshman Vince Sellers ran just five times for 170 yards, and Demardre Patterson gained 148 yards on seven carries and scored four touchdowns. ... The Storm will be the rare Cardinal Mooney opponent that prefers to throw the ball. Junior QB Caleb Lewis has completed 102 of 190 pass attempts for 1,552 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. ... The Storm had to score 13 points in the fourth quarter last week for a 20-17 victory over Winter Haven Foundation Academy. Lewis struggled, throwing three interceptions. ... Senior RB/LB Kevin Coy leads the team in rushing (54-409) and tackles (63) and is tied for the team lead in interceptions (3).
Prediction: Cardinal Mooney 21, Victory Christian 14.