Can’t miss matchups
Lakewood at Countryside
The breakdown: On paper, this looks to be a showdown of teams headed in different directions. Countryside had a slew of players graduate, while Lakewood appears to have reloaded thanks to talented underclassmen and numerous transfers. It will be interesting in this first week to see how Northeast transfer quarterback Ryan Davis adjusts to being at Lakewood. And how Cougars quarterback Robby Hicks deals with an inexperienced offense.
Who’s hot: Countryside defensive back Michael Johnson ran back a blocked kick for a touchdown, scored on a short run and picked off a pass in last week’s preseason game against CCC. This will be Lakewood’s first game of the season. Its preseason game against Ponte Vedra was cancelled.
Rodney Page’s pick: Seems to be too much Lakewood offense. Lakewood, 35-14.
Bob Putnam’s pick: Though rusty, the Spartans still prevail. Lakewood, 28-10.
East Lake at Palm Harbor University
The breakdown: The stakes are not as high with each team now in different classifications, but this still is an intense rivalry, which is amped up more in the opening week. East Lake has owned this series recently — winning four straight — and has the edge in star power with Division I recruits George Campbell, Mason Cole and Artavis Scott all returning. The Hurricanes, led by quarterback Tyler Kaminski, played well in last week’s preseason game against Jesuit.
Who’s hot: Scott picked up where he left off in the spring, hauling in a touchdown reception in the Eagles’ preseason loss to Bradenton Manatee. PHU’s Dominic Bonelli had a long punt return that set up a score against Jesuit.
Page: Forget the Manatee game last week; Eagles roll. East Lake, 28-7.
Putnam: This game will be closer than most people expect. East Lake, 21-14.
St. Petersburg at Gibbs
The breakdown: This will be Rick Kravitz’ first official game as Gibbs coach, although he is 2-0 including the spring game and last week’s preseason win over Seminole. Brevet Killett will get his first start at Gibbs as quarterback and he’ll be looking for receiver Jaquez President all night. St. Petersburg is still a run first team, and Deangelo Reeves looks like he will be the main ball carrier. It will be Gibbs’ air attack against St. Petersburg’s ground game.
Who’s hot: Gibbs’ Maurice Hall, a USF commit, had a 75-yard punt return against Seminole. Reeves gained 132 yards and scored a touchdown against Northeast in its preseason win.
Page: The St. Petersburg run game wears out Gibbs. St. Petersburg, 20-13.
Putnam: Green Devils are probably more polished right now. St. Petersburg, 21-18.
Osceola at Seminole
The breakdown: This neighboring rivalry marks the debut for Warhawks coach Chris Miller, who was hired in May to replace Sam Roper. Before the game, Seminole will honor Roper, who retired after 28 years as a teacher and coach at the school. Osceola is trying to build off last year’s 6-5 record and has momentum after winning three of the last in this series.
Who’s hot: Jamil Morris scored the Warriors’ only touchdown in last week’s preseason loss to Robinson. Seminole’s Ra’Quanne Dickens ran for a team-high 74 yards on 19 carries against Gibbs.
Page: Warriors spoil Miller’s debut. Osceola,14-10.
Putnam: Warhawks rely on ground game to win. Seminole, 17-14.
For more predictions on tonight’s games, visit tampabay.com/hometeam.
Boca Ciega at Pinellas Park
Page: Pinellas Park, 21-18
Putnam: Pinellas Park, 35-14
St. Petersburg Catholic at Indian Rocks Christian
Page: SPC, 14-10
Putnam: SPC, 21-7
Largo at Northeast
Page: Largo, 38-14
Putnam: Largo, 49-7
Tarpon Springs at Clearwater
Page: Tarpon Springs, 21-0
Putnam: Tarpon Springs, 24-6
Northside Christian at Shorecrest
Page: Northside, 21-20
Putnam: Northside, 16-14
Clearwater Central Catholic at Naples Lely
Page: CCC, 31-6
Putnam: CCC, 28-0
Dunedin at Dixie Hollins
Page: Dunedin, 21-20
Putnam: Dixie Hollins, 21-20
Admiral Farragut at Lakeland Victory Christian
Page: Victory Christian, 17-14
Putnam: Admiral Farragut, 24-20
St. Stephen’s at Calvary Christian
Page: Calvary, 24-14
Putnam: Calvary, 35-14
Keswick Christian at Canterbury
Page: Canterbury, 35-7
Putnam: Keswick, 28-14