MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Friday's football games
All at 7:30 p.m. unless noted
Durant (3-0) at Wharton (3-0)
Last year: Durant, 41-21
Breakdown: The Wildcats hope to hold up better against Durant’s running attack, which racked up 415 yards in its 20-point win last season. On the other side of the ball, Wharton quarterback Chase Litton should pose the stiffest challenge yet for the Cougars, who have shut out opponents for 10 straight quarters. …In a game that appears to be a toss-up, go with the team that’s coming off a bye week and had an extra week to prepare.
Joel Anderson’s pick: Wharton, 31-28
Joey Knight’s pick: Durant, 28-20
Carrollwood Day (4-0, 2-0) at Admiral Farragut (4-0, 2-0)
Last year: Admiral Farragut, 49-41
Breakdown: A Class 2A, District 5 game. …This is widely being billed as the de facto district title game. …The Blue Jackets return everyone from a rushing attack that amassed more than 400 yards on CDS last season, but the Patriots possess more brawn and depth now.
Anderson: Admiral Farragut, 38-28
Knight: Carrollwood Day, 33-28
Plant (2-1) at Tampa Bay Tech (3-1)
Last year: Plant, 36-0
Breakdown: Since knocking off Plant in the 2009 season opener, the Titans haven’t scored a point against the Panthers. They should fare much better than last year, when Plant held them to 129 yards and had seven sacks and three INTs. …The Panthers are coming off a bye week. That gave them more time to adjust to life without star offensive lineman Richy Klepal, who had to give up football because of a head injury.
Anderson: Plant, 35-13
Knight: Plant, 27-12
Jefferson (1-2, 0-0) at Armwood (3-1, 1-0)
Last year: Armwood, 20-0
Breakdown: A Class 6A, District 8 game. …The Dragons gave Armwood all it wanted last season, when Hawks QB Darryl Richardson still was getting his bearings. Richardson has his bearings now. …Jefferson is coming off a bye week.
Anderson: Armwood, 42-7
Knight: Armwood, 31-8
Robinson (4-0, 3-0) at Blake (1-3, 0-3)
Last year: Robinson, 49-26
Breakdown: A Class 5A, District 8 game. …Though they have scored only six points in their last three games, Yellow Jackets could be especially geeked for this one; Robinson QB Zain Gilmore transferred from Blake in the offseason. …Robinson’s defense has scored 50 points this year, more than the total posted by 10 county teams.
Anderson: Robinson, 38-6
Knight: Robinson, 34-6
Strawberry Crest (2-2, 0-1) at King (0-4, 0-1)
Last year: King, 49-7
Breakdown: A Class 6A, District 8 game. …Chargers coach John Kelly reports his team emerged healthy from last week’s 32-24 loss to district heavyweight Hillsborough, where the Crest cemented its status as a bona fide team. …Watch for 6-foot-1, 225-pound Crest LB Andrew “Zulu” Zuluaga, who had 14 solo tackles (17 total) against the Terriers.
Anderson: Strawberry Crest, 20-7
Knight: Strawberry Crest, 26-7
Middleton (1-3, 1-2) at Lakewood (3-0, 2-0)
Last year: Lakewood, 15-12
Breakdown: A Class 5A, District 8 game. …Lakewood has outscored its three opponents — Seminole, Blake and Dunedin — by a combined total of 130-6. That bodes poorly for the Tigers, who have been shut out in three of their five losses.
Anderson: Lakewood, 42-0
Knight: Lakewood, 32-0
Jesuit (2-2, 2-1) at Spoto (1-2, 1-1)
Last year: Jesuit, 38-22
Breakdown: A Class 5A, District 8 game. …Spartans TB Eric Moate (fractured foot) is questionable, coach Dale Caparaso reports. …Bent on controlling the ball and winning with defense, Tigers coach James Harrell allowed his team to pass three times in last week’s 14-0 win against Blake. Expect more dust clouds tonight.
Anderson: Jesuit, 20-6
Knight: Jesuit, 24-6
Leto (0-4, 0-1) at Hillsborough (3-0, 1-0)
Last year: Hillsborough, 51-13
Breakdown: A Class 6A, District 8 game. …Terriers RB-LB Nigel Harris figures to maintain, or even increase, his average of 10.1 yards per carry. Harris has rushed for 353 yards and eight TDs this season. …Though the Falcons have been outscored 176-12 through four games, QB Adner Grajales has been one of the few bright spots. He has rushed for 233 yards and thrown for 128 more. But no touchdowns, of course.
Anderson: Hillsborough, 38-0
Knight: Hillsborough, 48-6
Cambridge Christian (3-1, 2-1) at Indian Rocks Christian (2-1, 2-1)
Last year: Cambridge Christian, 39-27
Breakdown: A Class 2A, District 5 game. …Robbie Robertson leads the Lancers with 522 rushing yards, eight receptions for 102 yards and nine TDs. But if the Golden Eagles manage to slow him down, Cambridge still has Brandon Park (404 yards and 5 TDs). …IRC’s top rusher is freshman Zeke McGaughy (343 yards, 3 TDs and its leading defender is sophomore Christian Frost (5 sacks). Yeah, the Golden Eagles are a little young.
Anderson: Cambridge Christian, 34-21
Knight: Indian Rocks Christian, 33-26
Alonso (1-2) at Freedom (2-2)
Last year: Alonso, 38-0
Breakdown: Freedom rebounded from two season-opening losses with consecutive wins against Steinbrenner and Brandon. The Patriots have managed this turnaround with a steadily improving defense. …The Ravens were off last week. They will counter with junior RB Ish Witter (63 carries, 384 yards, four TDs). Now that Witter is well-rested and fully recovered from an illness that slowed him down in a win over King, he could have a huge game.
Anderson: Alonso, 21-13
Knight: Alonso, 24-14
Newsome (1-3) at Chamberlain (1-2)
Last year: Newsome, 28-17
Breakdown: After averaging roughly 17 passes their first three games, the Wolves went almost exclusively to the ground last week at East Bay, collecting 371 rushing yards in its first victory of the season. …Chamberlain, arguably the area’s most banged-up team, will dress 28 players, Coach D.J. Mayo said.
Anderson: Newsome, 20-13
Knight: Newsome, 35-6
Riverview (2-1) at Bloomingdale (2-2)
Last year: Bloomingdale, 42-0
Breakdown: In a matchup of 2-2 teams, both limited offensively, the Bulls have workhorse TB Eugene Baker and a defense that slowed undefeated Tampa Catholic last Friday. …The Sharks have shown signs of improvement, even in their 20-point loss to Plant City last week. Two fumbles in the shadow of the goal line made the defeat seem more lopsided than it really was.
Anderson: Bloomingdale, 17-14
Knight: Bloomingdale, 16-7
Sickles (2-1) at Brandon (0-3)
Last year: Sickles, 35-28
Breakdown: The Gryphons probably have cast one eye toward October this week, and we don’t blame them. After tonight, they face Armwood, Hillsborough, Jefferson and Strawberry Crest in consecutive weeks.
Anderson: Sickles, 27-7
Knight: Sickles, 21-0
Lennard (0-4) at Berkeley Prep (4-0)
Last year: Berkeley Prep, 42-14
Breakdown: The Buccaneers seek their 18th consecutive regular season victory, the longest current streak in Hillsborough County. …Bucs junior RB/DB Robert Leverette (ACL surgery) is out for the season, coach Dominick Ciao reports.
Anderson: Berkeley Prep, 35-6
Knight: Berkeley Prep, 35-6
Orlando Lake Highland Prep (1-3) at Tampa Catholic (4-0)
Last year: Tampa Catholic, 28-24
Breakdown: The Crusaders pulled out a 12-7 win over Bloomingdale last week after mostly dominating their first three opponents. But look for QB Kyle Ploucher and TC to open things up after rain and a sloppy field complicated their efforts against the Bulls. …The Highlanders are a team in desperate need of a break. They have lost three straight, including a crushing 24-23 loss to Berkeley Prep last week.
Anderson: Tampa Catholic, 23-14
Knight: Tampa Catholic, 28-20
Windermere Prep (1-3) vs. Seffner Christian (3-0)
Where: Strawberry Crest High
Last year: Seffner Christian, 35-13
Breakdown: With a victory, Steve Lewis eclipses the .500 mark (12-11) as SCA coach. …Six different Crusaders have picks this year.
Anderson: Seffner Christian 31-7
Knight: Seffner Christian, 27-13
For the season
Anderson: 24-10 (14-3 last week)
Knight: 57-15 (16-1 last week)