High School Football

Gameday is here! What you need to know for Week 3 of the high school football season

It’s one of this season’s most-anticipated high school football matchups in Manatee County: Braden River against Manatee at Hawkins Stadium.

The programs are models of excellence — the Hurricanes earned playoff berths each of the previous 10 years, while the Pirates have reached the postseason five straight years.

That’s why few, if anyone, would have predicted both teams would be winless heading into the Week 3 showdown.

But that’s what Braden River and Manatee face as kickoff approaches — one of the teams will wake up Saturday at 0-3.

Other highlights across Manatee County:

Lakewood Ranch, which went 0-10 in 2018, looks to make it back-to-back wins to open the season as the Mustangs welcome Bayshore to East Manatee for their home opener.

Southeast also has its home opener, as Fort Myers Evangelical Christian comes to Paul Maechtle Field at John Kiker Memorial Stadium.

Enjoy all of the action.

Here is what you need to know for Week 3:


Opponent: Lakewood Ranch (1-0)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lakewood Ranch High Stadium

Need to know: The Bruins (0-2) have had a difficult start to the season, outscored a combined 87-7 in losses to Sarasota and Auburndale. Now comes a trip to East Manatee to face a Lakewood Ranch team coming off a 10-point win over Englewood Lemon Bay that snapped a 15-game on-the-field losing streak dating to the middle of the 2017 season. ... Bayshore is looking to beat Lakewood Ranch for the second straight year after snapping a three-game skid against the Mustangs last season.

Braden River

Opponent: Manatee (0-2)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Hawkins Stadium at Manatee High

Need to know: The Pirates are 0-2 for the first time since 2012 and play four of their next five on the road, but the new-look offense showed great improvement in Week 2. Junior quarterback Shawqi Itraish and sophomore running back Jay’Den Thibodeau rushed for two touchdowns apiece, and Braden River scored 28 points after being held to two in its season opener. ... Braden River beat Manatee 41-31 last season in the teams’ first meeting since 2012.

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Bradenton Christian

Opponent: Winter Garden Foundation Academy (1-1)

Time: 6 p.m Saturday

Where: Dan van der Kooy Field at Bradenton Christian

Need to know: The Panthers (1-0) return from an open week looking to build on the momentum generated by their season-opening 41-0 win over Largo Indian Rocks Christian on Aug. 23. The game was originally scheduled for Friday night but was moved to Saturday because of Hurricane Dorian’s effects on Central Florida. ... Foundation Academy is coming off a 34-13 win at St. Petersburg Catholic.

Cardinal Mooney

Opponent: Tampa Berkeley Prep (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Stanford J. Newman Stadium at Berkeley Prep

Need to know: The Cougars (1-1) play the third of four straight road games to open the season while renovations continue on their home stadium. Moreover, this marks Cardinal Mooney’s second straight trip to Hillsborough County; the Cougars were beaten 55-14 by Tampa Catholic last week. ... Berkeley Prep has beaten Clearwater Central Catholic (21-14) and Clearwater Calvary Christian (21-13).

IMG Warren Brinson.jpg
IMG Academy senior defensive lineman Warren Brinson, a four-star recruit who has committed to the University of Georgia, leads the Ascenders into a Week 3 matchup against Miami Northwestern. Photo courtesy of IMG Academy

IMG Academy

Opponent: Miami Northwestern (2-0)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Traz Powell Stadium, Miami

Need to know: The Ascenders (1-0) return after a 14-day layoff — last week’s game against Miami Norland was canceled because of the threat of Hurricane Dorian — to face a Northwestern program that has won six state titles, the most in Miami-Dade County history. The Bulls are ranked third in the state by FloridaHSFootball.com, behind Lakeland and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, and 15th in the country by MaxPreps. IMG, ranked fifth by MaxPreps, was dominant in its season opener, a 46-7 victory against Venice, and has beaten Northwestern each of the past two seasons. The game originally was scheduled to be played in Bradenton, but was moved to Miami this week. ... The two-time defending Class 6A state champion, Northwestern has yet to allow a point, posting shutouts against Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (32-0) and Miami City (10-0).

Lakewood Ranch

Opponent: Bayshore (0-2)

Time: 7;30 p.m.

Where: Lakewood Ranch High Stadium

Need to know: Rashad West’s head coaching debut with the Mustangs (1-0) was a success as Lakewood Ranch rolled to a 19-9 victory at Englewood Lemon Bay last week in its season opener. Junior quarterback Jimmy Kelly connected with senior wide receiver Michael Cucci for a pair of touchdowns, the defense forced three turnovers and the special teams units blocked two punts. ... The Mustangs will be looking for back-to-back victories for the first time since late September 2017.

Quarterback Jayce Berzowski and the Manatee Hurricanes host the Braden River Pirates with both teams looking for their first win. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com


Opponent: Braden River (0-2)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Hawkins Stadium at Manatee High

Need to know: A brutal three-game stretch to open the season — hosting Lakeland, at Palmetto and hosting Braden River — concludes with the Hurricanes (0-2) still seeking that breakthrough victory. A much-needed win would send Manatee into its open week with momentum and a chance to regroup. ... Braden River is winless, but the Pirates’ two losses — home defeats against Largo (7-2) and Sarasota Riverview (35-28) — came by a combined 12 points.

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Out-of-Door Academy

Opponent: Seminole Osceola (1-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Warrior Stadium at Osceola High

Need to know: The Thunder (2-0) play their second road game in a row as they seek their second consecutive 3-0 start under head coach Chris Kempton. ODA is averaging 32.5 points per game and recorded a shutout in its Week 2 win at Spring Hill Bishop McLaughlin. ... Osceola beat New Port Richey Gulf (40-0) and lost to Dunedin (26-6) in back-to-back road games to open the season.


Opponent: Sarasota Riverview (1-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Ram Bowl at Riverview High

Need to know: After back-to-back home wins to open the season, including last week’s dramatic 18-12 overtime victory against rival Manatee on quarterback Xavier Williams’ 1-yard touchdown run, the Tigers (2-0) play their next three games on the road against teams — Riverview, Port Charlotte and Largo — with a combined 5-1 record. Palmetto is ranked seventh in the state in Class 6A by FloridaHSFootball.com. ... Following a 29-28 Week 1 loss to Naples, Riverview bounced back with a 35-28 victory at Braden River in Week 2.

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Saint Stephen’s

Opponent: St. Petersburg Catholic (1-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: St. Petersburg Catholic Stadium

Need to know: The Falcons (1-1) look to bounce back after last week’s 42-0 loss at Tampa Cambridge Christian, which snapped their seven-game regular-season winning streak. ... St. Pete Catholic is playing its third straight home game to open the season; the Barons beat Tampa Carrollwood Day (35-14) and lost to Winter Garden Foundation Academy (34-13).

Southeast Maleek Huggins.JPG
Southeast High quarterback Maleek Huggins threw for three touchdowns and ran for another during last week’s victory against Booker. Bradenton Herald file photo


Opponent: Fort Myers Evangelical Christian (1-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Paul Maechtle Field at John Kiker Memorial Stadium, Southeast High

Need to know: The Seminoles (1-0) were dominant in their season-opening 20-point victory at Booker last week, with quarterback Maleek Huggins accounting for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). Two of Huggins’ three touchdown passes went to E’rion Neri. ... Coached by former Florida Gators and Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Earnest Graham, Class 2A Evangelical Christian is playing its third straight road game to open the season. The Sentinels beat LaBelle 54-14 in Week 2.

Football file primary
Four Manatee County schools are hosting games in Week 3: Lakewood Ranch, Manatee and Southeast on Friday night, and Bradenton Christian on Saturday night. Bradenton Herald file photo

Week 3 schedule

Friday’s games

Cardinal Mooney at Tampa Berkeley Prep, 7 p.m.

IMG Academy Varsity at Naples St. John Neumann Catholic, 7 p.m.

Saint Stephen’s at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7 p.m.

Bayshore at Lakewood Ranch, 7:30 p.m.

Braden River at Manatee, 7:30 p.m.

Fort Myers Evangelical Christian at Southeast, 7:30 p.m.

IMG Academy National at Miami Northwestern, 7:30 p.m.

Out-of-Door Academy at Seminole Osceola, 7:30 p.m.

Palmetto at Sarasota Riverview, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s game

Winter Garden Foundation Academy at Bradenton Christian, 6 p.m.

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