Manatee (3-1) at Southeast (1-3)
When: 7:30 p.m.
On the air: WLSS, 930-AM
Online: manateefootball.com, highschoolcube.com
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The scoop: Southeast has lost seven straight to Manatee, and there is no indication that things will change this year. Whether this is still a rivalry is open to debate. ... Southeast head coach John Warren says it's up to his kids to change things, but really it's up to the School District of Manatee County. The opening of Lakewood Ranch and then Braden River High has drained Southeast to the point that the Class 5A Seminoles don't have the depth to stay with Class 8A Manatee. If the Seminoles could just get some of those big linemen who seem to find their way into Lakewood Ranch every year, they might have some hope. ... Southeast has some good skill players in QB James Thomas and running backs Kevin Johnson and Qion Burch, but its lack of depth on its offensive line and defensive front four is going to make it hard for the Seminoles to stay in the game. ... Manatee can hurt opposing defenses in many ways, especially on the ground with Johnnie Lang, who leads the area with 579 rushing yards. Another big weapon is WR Kelvin McKnight, who tops the area with 22.7 yards per catch. ... Manatee is second in the area with 120 points, while Southeast is next to last with 38 points. ... There is a reason they play the games and miracles do happen. So Southeast has a chance, but you wouldn't want to bet your house on it.
Prediction: Manatee 52, Southeast 14.
Palmetto (1-3) at Bayshore (0-4)
When: 7:30 p.m.
On the air: WWPR, 1490-AM
The scoop: The Tigers are better than their record shows. In three defeats, Palmetto lost by a combined six points. ... The Tigers are fresh off a shutout victory over North Port in their district opener. ... Palmetto's rushing defense ranks last in the area, with 237 yards allowed per game. ... Bayshore can't get a balanced attack going, relying too heavily on the run and struggling to stay disciplined. ... Flags have halted plenty of drives this season for the Bruins, and the woes in the passing game are enough for the Tigers to feast when loading the box. ... Palmetto's porous run stoppers get a boost of confidence this week against former assistant coach Elijah Freeman, now in his second year as the Bruins' head coach.
Prediction: Palmetto 42, Bayshore 0.
Braden River (4-0) at Booker (2-2)
When: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: Braden River is off to its best start since it played its first full varsity season in 2007. The Pirates ended a four-year losing streak against archrival Lakewood Ranch last week and appear headed for their best season. ... Among area public schools, Braden River leads in total offense, averaging 348.5 yards per game with a nice balance between passing and running. QB Jacob Huesman has thrown 8 TD passes with only one interception and is a big, strong guy who kind of reminds you of a young Blake Bortles. He has an athletic receiving corps at his disposal, led by Justin Ross and Travis Williams, who have combined for 7 TD catches. ... The Pirates use a running-back-by-committee approach behind Carlos Crawford and Raymond Thomas. Thomas ran for a career-high 121 yards last week. ... Booker started off the season with victories over Sarasota and Riverview then fell to a pair of unbeatens on the road in Tampa Berkeley Prep and Arcadia DeSoto last week. ... Braden River appears ripe for an emotional letdown, and the Tornadoes are a lot better than their 2-2 record. Pirates head coach Curt Bradley will have to keep his team focused in a non-district game. ... Booker's only TD last week came on a 36-yard pass from Jeremiah Henderson to Jermaine Belvin Jr. ... Braden River should prevail if it can stay focused and not look ahead to district opponent Sarasota next week.
Prediction: Braden River 27, Booker 17.
Punta Gorda Charlotte (2-1) at Lakewood Ranch (2-2)
When: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: Lakewood Ranch looks better than a .500 team. The Mustangs' two losses come at the hands of Tampa Jesuit and Braden River, who are a combined 7-1. They lost to Jesuit in double overtime and had trouble handling the elements in a rain-drenched loss to Braden River last week. The wet weather hampered dual-threat QB Chad Rex. Justin Fischer has provided a strong run game, averaging 6.9 yards per carry, and Rex can hurt teams with his legs and arms. ... An issue for Ranch last week was penalties, which hurt badly. ... This is a good time to prepare Ranch for a stretch run during which it plays three district games in the next four weeks. ... Charlotte lost its first game last week to unbeaten power Venice when it committed seven turnovers. The Tarpons like to ride the arm of QB Brennan Simms, who is off to a slow start with four interceptions and two touchdowns. Elijah Mack leads the ground game with 249 rushing yards and 4 rushing TDs. Simms quarterbacked North Port last year and lost 35-21 to Ranch.
Prediction: Lakewood Ranch 31, Charlotte 28.
St. Peter's (N.J.) Prep (3-0) at IMG Academy (3-1)
When: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: This is the toughest test to date in the Ascenders' two-year history. St. Peter's is ranked 29th in the nation by MaxPreps and 11th in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25. ... Marauders QB Brandon Wimbush (Penn State commit) drives the offense and is coming off an explosive performance last week. He tallied four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) and 310 total yards (241 passing, 69 rushing) in a 48-10 rout of in-state rival Seton Hall Prep. ... IMG possesses the top offense (397.8 yards per game) and second-best run defense (86.8 yards per game) in the area. ... However, IMG's pass defense ranks last among area clubs and needs to be sharp against Wimbush's quality arm. ... QB Deondre Francois (FSU commit) has thrown 10 TDs and no INTs in three straight wins. ... The triple-headed rushing attack of Tony Jones, Jack Wegher and Taven Birdow have combined for 13 scores and 728 rushing yards in IMG's three victories.
Prediction: St. Peter's Prep 30, IMG Academy 28.
Bradenton Christian (3-1) at St. Petersburg Keswick (3-1)
When: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: This was a district game last year, but Keswick became an independent following an 0-10 season last fall. ... The Crusaders are off to a solid start this year, with senior QB Parker Holland cracking the 200-yard passing mark twice thus far. ... However, Holland's penchant for throwing interceptions -- he threw 16 in 2013 and has six already in four games -- is something the Panthers will try to exploit. ... BCS ranks near the bottom in the area with 189.3 passing yards allowed per game. ... The Panthers, who earned a forfeit victory two weeks ago, returned to the field for a key district win over St. Petersburg Canterbury last Friday. ... One of the area's more prolific rushing attacks with 211.7 yards per game needs some help with the passing game to keep the victory train rolling.
Prediction: BCS 28, St. Petersburg Keswick 24.
Windermere Prep (3-0, 2-0 Sunshine State Bay Division) at Saint Stephen's (3-1, 1-1)
When: 7 p.m.
The scoop: RB Chris Granjean is the Lakers' go-to guy, accounting for 50 of the team's 90 rushing attempts and totaling 404 yards and eight TDs. He also is second on the team in receptions (nine). ... QB Parker Davis has completed more than 77 percent of his passes (41 for 53) and has thrown for 697 yards and eight TDs. His top target is Michael Stones (11 catches, 235 yards). ... Windermere Prep is averaging 57 points per game. ... At 3-1, the Falcons are off to their best start since 2008 despite season-injuries to key players such as Luc Goeders and Michael Burch. ... QB Fred Billy is 10th in the area in rushing (222). ... The Falcons are 4-0 at the Moore Athletic Complex at Turner Fields, their on-site complex that was completed toward the end of last season. ... Saint Stephen's is in a three-way tie for third in the Bay Division.
Prediction: Windermere Prep 28, Saint Stephen's 21.
Cardinal Mooney (4-0) at Tampa Catholic (0-3)
When: 7 p.m.
On the air: WSRQ 98.9-FM, 106.9-FM, 1220-AM
The scoop: It's an uncharacteristic start for the host Crusaders, who advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals last season. ... Three of Tampa Catholic's first four opponents are listed in the Associated Press state poll -- that includes Clearwater Central Catholic, the top-ranked team in Class 3A -- and the other, Fort Meade, is 4-0. ... Tampa Catholic lost two standouts, WR Nate Craig and RB Bentlee Sanders, to injury. They may be lost for the season. ... Despite the disparity in records, Cardinal Mooney will not overlook the Crusaders. The Cougars entered last year's game in Sarasota with a 3-0 mark only to drop a 43-0 decision. ... Cardinal Mooney is enjoying its best start since 2006. ... Heavy rain again hampered the Cougars' offense last week. Cardinal Mooney fumbled six times, losing four. The RB tandem of Bryce Williams and Jaz Mongeon combined for 88 yards and a Mongeon touchdown. QB Reese Vita found TE Mitch Arimura for a 6-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion, both on fade patterns ... The Cardinal Mooney defense, which recorded its second shutout of the season in last week's 14-0 victory at Avon Park, leads the area in yards allowed at 169 per game. Williams intercepted a pair of passes last week.
Prediction: Cardinal Mooney 31, Tampa Catholic 21.
-- Herald staff reports