Three reasons tonight’s potential Dante Fowler-Tyler Moore matchup rocks
1. It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2.
It’s the classic speed rushing left defensive end vs. hulking quarterback protector showdown.
Fowler, just a junior and listed at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, is lightning-quick, but he’s also very strong, and colleges are drooling over the prospects of signing him next year. He’s fiery, energetic and an emotional player.
Moore is 6-6, 295, and what the kids today might call a “beast.’’ He eats pass rushers for a snack, because he doesn’t find them filling enough for a whole meal. Moore is icy cool on the field and the sideline. We’re not sure he has emotions. Or is made of flesh and bones like the rest of us.
Truthfully, our fingers are crossed that they even bump heads. Technically, Lakewood’s other defensive end, Evan Holmes, will go up against Moore, and Countryside’s right tackle Tyler Pierson will have to deal with Fowler.
But hey, those are still great matchups. Holmes can really make a name for himself with college recruiters. He has already garnered some interest from schools like Tulane, and others will come calling if he makes some highlights tonight. And Pierson has had offers from Kansas and Colorado State, but they say he’s too small to play tackle. That may be true, but if he stops Fowler, it wold make a nice addition to his highlight reel.
Really, if you’re at the game and have a nice set of binoculars, you can’t lose tonight.
2. The nicknames. Fowler goes by Manchild, which may have been given to him by coach Cory Moore. It fits. He’ll be carded well into his 20s, but don’t let the boyish good looks fool you.
Moore goes by The Man. Well, at least that’s the nickname I gave him this week. It just sounded right — the big, calm, cool lineman is just, well, a man (and Man-Man was already taken by Armwood’s Theo Jackson last season, though Man-Cubed was an option).
So we get Man vs. Manchild.
In retrospect, I should have tried to come up with something better. Walking up and saying “Hey Manchild”? just sounds so much cooler than saying “Hey Man.’’ What was I thinking?
3. The guys in the trenches never get any respect, and here it is. Countryside’s offensive line is actually a treat to watch, especially when it has to stop a flurry of blitzing Lakewood defenders, and now, Fowler.
That didn’t work out so well for Countryside last season, so it has something to prove.
Fowler wasn’t part of Lakewood’s attack last season, but is the centerpiece of it this year. He has lined up all over the defensive line.
He has played a little nose tackle, and has enough speed to stand up like a linebacker and react if need be (he does play a little tight end, you know).
Expect him to line up wherever Countryside is trying to go with the ball. Expect Lakewood to keep the Cougars guessing.
But knowing Fowler and Moore, they will make Dante-Tyler happen at least a few times, just for the challenge. They are those type of guys.
Remember, Fowler is the same guy who boldly predicted 30 sacks this season, and still isn’t backing away from that comment. You have to like that.
Diomi in the rough
Diomi Roberts, Countryside’s leading rusher, will miss the first half of tonight’s game against Lakewood for an unspecified violation of team rules. Roberts has been a find for the Cougars this season, who expected him to contribute. But through four games, he leads the team with 448 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.
O, o, o!
Two of the county’s most prolific offenses face off at St. Petersburg tonight when Palm Harbor University visits to try to spoil the Green Devils’ homecoming.
St. Petersburg, now 4-0, has 1,523 total yards to lead the county, while No. 2 PHU has 1,457.
Though Clearwater won last year’s meeting with Dixie Hollins, which struggled to an 0-10 finish, the series between the teams has been decidedly in the Rebels’ favor.
Since 1991, the Rebels are 9-2 against the Tornadoes.
10 years ago this week
Dixie Hollins’ Andre Hall ran for 258 yards, Largo’s Brandon Mia kicked a 54-yard field goal and Admiral Farragut beat Northside Christian 69-0.
Five players to watch tonight
1. Jarvis Stewart, Largo: The freshman RB was great in his debut. Now, can he do it again?
2. Brandon Hames, Pinellas Park: Welcome to the QB gig, fella.
3. CCC defense: How long does it take to get over being shell-shocked? One trip to Pasco County?
4. Rayshawn Jenkins, AFA: County-leading seven touchdown passes, and no picks.
5. Ryan Green, SPC: Pssst … St. Petersburg’s Rashad Lewis is just 21 yards behind you.