MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Friday's football games
All at 7:30 unless noted
Lakewood (6-0, 5-0) at Jesuit (5-2, 5-1)
The breakdown: A huge Class 5A-8 matchup. If Lakewood wins, it sets up a battle for first place next week against Robinson. If Jesuit wins, the Tigers stay in the hunt for the second playoff spot. Jesuit won last season and sent the Spartans into a tailspin. Is this really a new and improved Lakewood?
Who’s hot: Lakewood quarterback Tracy Johnson has thrown 13 touchdown passes and just one interception. Jesuit’s Kevin Newman has 711 rushing yards and seven TDs.
Rodney Page’s pick: Not convinced Lakewood can cross the bridge and pull out a win. Jesuit 17-16.
Bob Putnam’s pick: Spartans finally get past a Hillsborough County nemesis. Lakewood 22-17
Clearwater Central Catholic (5-1, 1-0) at Berkeley Prep (6-0, 1-0)
The breakdown: The Marauders can snap a four-game losing streak in this series, as well as the Bucs’ 19-game regular-season win streak with a win. More importantly, a CCC victory all but wraps up the Class 3A, District 5 title.
Who’s hot: CCC linebacker Ethan Thompson has 63 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery this season. Berkeley Prep running back Chris Williams has 841 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Page: CCC does cross the bridge and get a win. CCC 28-7.
Putnam: The Marauders’ speed on both sides of the ball is the difference. CCC 24-14.
Pinellas Park (4-2, 2-0) at Northeast (5-2, 1-1)
The breakdown: This is a big 7A-9 game that could mean even more if Countryside is forced to forfeit its two district wins. Both teams are leaking a little oil. Pinellas Park lost to previously winless Boca Ciega last week and Northeast has lost two straight.
Who’s hot: The Patriots’ defense gave up fewer than 50 yards rushing last week. Northeast’s offense had 414 total yards against Tampa Catholic.
Page: Something tells me this is Northeast’s season. Northeast 28-26.
Putnam: As long as the Patriots stick to the ground game, they can win. Pinellas Park 28-26.
Tarpon Springs (3-4, 1-1) at Osceola (4-3, 1-1)
The breakdown: Much like last year, the Warriors are getting hot down the stretch, winning three straight to put them in position to vie for a playoff spot. The Spongers, meanwhile, are reeling with three straight losses thanks to a porous defense that’s allowed 40 or more points in those losses.
Who’s hot: Tarpon Springs’ Michael Ford is among the county leaders in rushing with 845 yards and two touchdowns. Osceola defensive back Austin Lawrence had four interceptions in last week’s win against Clearwater.
Page: The Warriors grind out another one. Osceola 20-14.
Putnam: Warriors win second straight against the Spongers. Osceola 21-20.
North Port (3-4, 0-1) at Palm Harbor University (5-2, 1-0)
The breakdown: The Hurricanes can secure their second straight winning season and playoff berth with a win against a Bobcats team that has played much better than its record indicates.
Who’s hot: Jonah Fiskaa leads PHU’s rushing attack, averaging 95 yards per game and has five touchdowns, on the season.
Page: The Hurricanes blow right through North Port. PHU 31-14.
Putnam: The defense and ground game get it done for the Hurricanes. PHU 21-7.
Sarasota Riverview (1-5, 0-1) at East Lake (5-2, 1-0)
The breakdown: With a win, the Eagles can clinch a playoff berth in Class 8A, District 7 and set up a potential showdown with Palm Harbor University in two weeks to determine pecking order among the top two teams.
Who’s hot: East Lake’s Artavis Scott has his first 100-yard game of the season last week, catching seven passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns against Sarasota.
Page: No way East Lake slips up here. East Lake 28-7.
Putnam: Eagles are getting healthy at the right time. East Lake 31-17.
St. Petersburg (2-4, 0-2) at Seminole (1-5, 0-2)
The breakdown: A preseason favorite, St. Petersburg can salvage its season by winning its last four games and can pick up its first district win.
Who’s hot: Green Devils kicker Sean Covington leads the team in scoring with 27 points, including seven field goals.
Page: Green Devils have injury problems on the offensive line and it hurts them. Seminole 14-9.
Putnam: Covington kick starts the Green Devils’ second-half run. St. Petersburg 12-7
Clearwater (2-4, 1-1) at Countryside (6-1, 2-0)
The breakdown: The Cougars have been dominant their past four games, outscoring their opponents a combined 174-16. That shouldn’t change against the Tornadoes, who have allowed 30 points or more in four of their six games.
Who’s hot: Countryside quarterback Robby Hicks threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Wiregrass Ranch.
Page: Hicks shows he can quarterback the Cougars just fine. Countryside 35-0.
Putnam: Cougars get another lopsided win. Countryside 42-7.
Admiral Farragut (6-1, 4-1) at Bradenton Christian (3-4, 3-2)
The breakdown: Do not expect the Blue Jackets to have another letdown this season. Bradenton Christian poses the last threat in the district for AFA, and after pounding Calvary Christian last week it appears the Blue Jackets are plenty focused.
Who’s hot: Todd Macon rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns against Calvary. Quarterback Colby Robinson has 15 TD passes and four interceptions.
Page: Blue Jackets have too much talent. AFA 30-10.
Putnam: Blue Jackets put themselves in great position for the playoffs. AFA 42-14.
Keswick Christian (1-5, 1-4) at Calvary Christian (3-3, 3-2)
The breakdown: After getting shut out against Admiral Farragut last week, the Warriors have to win out to even have a shot at the playoffs. That starts with a win against Keswick, which has struggled in district play.
Who’s hot: Keswick running back Adam Foster is averaging 80 yards per game. Calvary running back Derek Barnes has 481 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Page: Warriors’ rushing attack will give Keswick fits. Calvary 35-14.
Putnam: Warriors stay balanced on offense and stay for postseason. Calvary 28-13.
Lakewood Ranch (4-2, 2-0) at Dixie Hollins (0-6, 0-2)
The breakdown: At this point, Dixie Hollins probably just wants this season to end. Lakewood Ranch is still very much in the hunt for a playoff spot and has a lot to play for.
Page: Dixie Hollins hangs in there early but fades. Lakewood Ranch 28-10.
Putnam: Rebels are just too deflated. Lakewood Ranch 35-7.
Indian Rocks Christian (5-1, 5-1) at Northside Christian (0-6, 0-5)
The breakdown: A Golden Eagles win will likely set up a showdown with Carrollwood Day that will determine a postseason berth.
Who’s hot: IRC defensive lineman Christian Frost has 43 tackles and seven sacks this season.
Page: This year, the game is a mismatch. IRC 49-0.
Putnam: Golden Eagles get a breather before last big district game. IRC 44-0.
Bishop McLaughlin (4-2) at Shorecrest (4-2)
The breakdown: A showdown between two independent schools. Shorecrest has surprised this season with a potent offense and stable defense. Chargers’ coach Dave Moore faces off against former FSU and NFL player Derrick Alexander.
Who’s hot: Shorecrest quarterback Travis Dugan threw three touchdown passes last week against Seffner Christian.
Page: Chargers continue their journey to a winning season. Shorecrest 24-23.
Putnam: Dave Moore wins battle between ex-NFL players. Shorecrest 28-21.
Boca Ciega (1-5, 0-2) at Largo (6-0, 2-0)
The breakdown: Packers move one step closer to another 6A-7 district title with a win. The Pirates, though, are one of the few teams in the district that have played close games against Largo, losing by 15 points last year and by two in 2010.
Who’s hot: Largo’s Raheem Harvey and Reggie Campbell each have more 200 yards receiving and a combined nine touchdowns.
Page: It will not be two straight for the Pirates. Largo 42-0.
Putnam: Hard to imagine the Pirates being able to move the ball in this one. Largo 35-6.
Montverde (0-6) at St. Petersburg Catholic (2-4, 0-2), 7
The breakdown: Montverde Academy is a private school in the Orlando area. The Eagles are also the right team at the right time for SPC. The Barons need a confidence booster after some close losses this season.
Who’s hot: SPC’s Jaquan Fuller has rushed for 424 yards and Tony Jones has added 410.
Page: Barons hard work finally pays off. SPC 28-14.
Putnam: This is a great chance for Barons to snap four-game skid. SPC 35-20.