MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
All games at 7:30 p.m. Friday unless noted.
East Lake (1-0) at Countryside (1-0)
The breakdown: One of the most anticipated early-season games features teams that won district titles last season. They also are the only two county public schools to reach the region final the past two seasons. The Cougars have more experience with 18 returning starters. They also have history on their side, winning 10 of the past 11 meetings.
Who’s hot: East Lake’s Weston Fordham gained 128 yards on 17 carries against CCC last week and will be needed again against the Cougars defense. Countryside’s running back duo of Ryan Yates and Michael Jerrido helped the Cougars gain 213 yards against Boca Ciega.
Rodney Page’s pick: Countryside’s streak of 26 straight regular-season wins comes to an end. East Lake 28-24
Bob Putnam’s pick: Cougars are the more complete team. Countryside 28-17
Palm Harbor University (1-0) at St. Petersburg (1-0)
The breakdown: This should be a clash of the running games. Palm Harbor University ran all over Clearwater last week, with backs Jonah Fiskaa and Demetri Royer leading the way. St. Petersburg has two capable backs of its own, Maurice Hemingway and Laroy Williams. Whichever duo can wear out the defense more will leave with a win.
Who’s hot: PHU’s offense scored 42 points in the first half against Clearwater behind new starting quarterback Tyler Kaminski. Hemingway got 109 yards against a pretty good Gibbs defense.
Page: PHU has been hot since the spring and it continues. PHU 28-21
Putnam: The speed factor favors the Green Devils. St. Petersburg 17-14
Pinellas Park (1-0) at Largo (1-0)
The breakdown: In a wild finish, the Packers rallied to beat Bradenton Southeast last week behind the running and throwing of Juwan Brown. The Patriots are still trying to get their offense going after grinding out a win against Osceola and playing to a tie against Dunedin in the preseason.
Who’s hot: Brown showed a lot of leadership in leading the Packers to a last-second win over Bradenton Southeast last week. Pinellas Park running back Pierre Johnson had six carries for 75 yards against Osceola.
Page: Pinellas Park can grind it out, but Largo has too much talent. Largo 35-17.
Putnam: This week, the Packers will not have to sweat it out. Largo 21-7.
Dixie Hollins (0-1) at Seminole (0-1)
The breakdown: Dixie Hollins wishes it could start this season over. The Rebels lost their top running backs, Deondre Lambert and Kabriel Jackson to knee injuries, and it’s only Week 2. Seminole’s offense has no such excuse. The Warhawks gained 11 total yards against Lakewood last week. Do not expect an offensive explosion.
Page: The Rebels got beat up last week, but should rebound against the Warhawks. Dixie Hollins 14-7.
Putnam: Despite the injuries, the Rebels pull through. Dixie Hollins 14-6.
Osceola (0-1)) at Northeast (1-0)
The breakdown: The Vikings appear to have enough offensive weapons to remain competitive this season. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Davis is a handful as a runner and passer. And Keith Harrington is proving to be a big-play back. Osceola’s Daviel Clarke and Andra Walls had big games last week and will need to play well again this week.
Who’s hot: Davis rushed for 85 yards and threw for 117 against Dixie Hollins.
Page: The big plays keep coming for the Vikings. Northeast 27-14.
Putnam: The Vikings have a little more firepower. Northeast 28-21.
Robinson (1-0) at Dunedin (0-1)
The breakdown: After a tough loss to Tarpon Springs, things do not get easier for the Falcons, who have to play a legitimate state title contender. Dunedin has to get its running game going to eat the clock and help a defense that is battling injuries.
Who’s hot: Robinson’s defense forced five interceptions in a trouncing of Jefferson. Tramaine Batten led a Dunedin running game that had few highlights against the Spongers.
Page: This one could get ugly if Dunedin’s defense isn’t stellar. Robinson 41-14.
Putnam: Stopping the run will be tough for the Falcons. Robinson 35-21
Lennard (0-1) at Gibbs (0-1)
The breakdown: Gibbs has a trio of offensive players who were very impressive against St. Petersburg. Running backs Emmanuel Stewart and Adrian Johnson each gained 121 yards, and quarterback Patric Jones added 53. The offensive line is big this season, so expect those three to run wild against Lennard, which is coming off a 43-9 loss to East Bay.
Who’s hot: Gibbs’ offense piled up 493 yards against St. Petersburg. Lennard’s Victor Williams had a 90-yard kickoff return against East Bay.
Page: Gibbs rebounds at home. Gibbs 36-6.
Putnam: District play starts off on a right note for Gladiators. Gibbs 42-12
Tarpon Springs (1-0) at Clearwater (0-1)
The breakdown: The Sponger’ offense has switched gears, relying heavily on the run this season. It worked against Dunedin last week with more than 300 yards on the ground. The Tornadoes, meanwhile, are looking for anything positive on offense after not gaining a yard in a loss to PHU last week.
Who’s hot: Tarpon Springs WR Kenyatta Merriex put on a show last week, rushing for more than 100 yards and picking off a pass on defense.
Page: Until Clearwater can figure out its offense, it will be hard to pick them. Tarpon Springs 21-0.
Putnam: Spongers have a great shot to start 2-0. Tarpon Springs 42-0.
Blake (1-0) at Lakewood (1-0)
The breakdown: This will be a much tougher test for the Spartans after shutting out Seminole in the opener. Blake ran for 291 yards against Leto. Granted, the Lakewood defense might be a better, but Blake should be able to run. The Spartans offense got stronger last week with the return of receiver Rodney Adams. This is the first district game of the season for both teams and it’s crucial to get off to a good start.
Who’s hot: Blake’s DeAndre James had 102 yards rushing in the first week. Lakewood quarterback Tracy Johnson hit 10 of 14 passes for 168 yards.
Page: Lakewood has too much offensive firepower for Blake. Lakewood 31-21.
Putnam: Spartans are starting to click. Lakewood 35-14.
Cambridge Christian (1-0) vs. Canterbury (0-1) at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7
The breakdown: Counting the preseason game, Canterbury has started strong and faded in the second half this season. That can’t happen this week against a Cambridge team that put up 43 points against Bishop McLaughlin. TJ Franklin has been a bright spot for the Crusaders, and he’ll be needed again.
Who’s hot: Franklin had 123 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns last week.
Page: Cambridge looks as if it might have too much offense. Cambridge 28-20.
Putnam: Injuries and depth are too much for Crusaders to overcome. Cambridge 27-16
Northside Christian (0-1) at Bradenton Christian (0-1)
The breakdown: The good news for Northside is that Bradenton Christian doesn’t appear as talented as last week’s opponent, Shorecrest. The Panthers lost 49-7 to Lakeland Christian. The bad news is the Mustangs looked pretty bad in Mike Alstott’s debut, losing 59-0 to the Chargers.
Page: It’s clearly going to take some time for Northside to get used to the new coaching staff. Bradenton Christian 13-6.
Putnam: Mustangs’ first goal is to reach the end zone. Bradenton Christian 21-7.
St. Petersburg Catholic (1-0) at Crescent City (0-1), 6
The breakdown: It’s been a tough week for the Barons, who lost FSU recruit Ryan Green to a season-ending shoulder injury. Green accounted for five touchdowns in last week’s three-quarter blowout of Sarasota Out-of-Door.
Page: Time for the rest of the Barons’ offense to step it up. SPC 21-17.
Putnam: The score will be closer but the Barons still win. SPC 28-21.
Keswick Christian (0-1) at Carrollwood Day (1-0)
The breakdown: Last year, the Crusaders pulled off the upset, winning on a late field goal. Carrollwood Day is one of the favorites to win the district.
Who’s hot: Keswick QB Tyler Angell does a little of everything for the Crusaders. CDS running back Robert Davis has Hillsborough’s career rushing record in his sights.
Page: Long night for Keswick Christian. Carrollwood 45-14.
Putnam: This time, there are no close calls. Carrollwood 35-7.
Shorecrest (1-0) at Admiral Farragut (1-0)
The breakdown: Admiral Farragut dodged a bullet when quarterback Colby Robinson was cleared to play after a knee injury. Running back Cortavious Givens may be limited with a bruised hand. The Blue Jackets have a trio of backs that will give teams fits, and the defense isn’t too bad either.
Who’s hot: Shorecrest’s Garrett Schulte scored twice and rushed for 66 yards against Northside Christian last week. Todd Macon had a 70-yard TD run and Napoleon Maxwell added a 75-yard TD run against Lakeland Victory Christian.
Page: Admiral Farragut has too much of everything for Shorecrest. AFA 42-7.
Putnam: Chargers have improved, but not enough to win this one. AFA 28-14.
Lakeland Christian (1-0) at Clearwater Central Catholic (0-1)
The breakdown: The Marauders stepped up in class and hung with East Lake for about three quarters. Now they come down to their level and should be much more comfortable. Lakeland Christian did lay it on Bradenton Christian last week, but CCC is a whole other beast.
Who’s hot: CCC quarterback Blake Gomez was hot, at least in the first half, against East Lake. He finished with 145 yards passing against a good defense.
Page: The Marauders will not run out of gas this week. CCC 30-10.
Putnam: This one is tougher than expected for Marauders. CCC 23-14
Calvary Christian (0-0) at Indian Rocks Christian (0-0)
The breakdown: Both teams had their bye last week, giving them an extra week to prepare for their district opener. The Warriors have the edge in experience, led by quarterback Allen Barnes and receiver Derek Barnes.
Page: Calvary Christian starts on the right foot. Calvary 20-14.
Putnam: The Barnes connection works well for the Warriors. Calvary 28-26
For extended predictions on all of tonight’s matchups, visit tampabay.com/hometeam.