Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Intriguing matchups fill Week 2's football schedule

Ray Ray is off and running.

Sickles running back Ray Ray McCloud III torched Robinson last week for 174 yards rushing and two touchdowns as the Gryphons opened the year with a 33-7 victory. McCloud, who surpassed 4,000 career rushing yards in last week's win, is 1,744 yards from the county's all-time mark, set by a former North of Tampa star Robert Davis, a Carrollwood Day alum.

Coming off a district title and their first playoff win a year ago, Sickles and its Clemson-committed running back are eyeing higher heights this year.

The Gryphons will continue their quest tonight with a trip to Plant City to face a tough Durant team.

Gaither is on the road at Newsome looking for its first win against the Lithia school; Freedom is pursuing a rare 2-0 start; Wharton, Chamberlain, Carrollwood Day and Alonso are all looking to bounce back from poor performances last week. And Cambridge Christian and Berkeley Prep are set to host games. All kickoffs are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. unless noted.

Steinbrenner (0-0) at Alonso (0-1), 7

Last week: Jefferson d. Alonso 28-12; Steinbrenner-Plant City's game was canceled due to inclement weather.

Why you should go: To watch a matchup of quality quarterbacks. Steinbrenner's Quentin Poteralski completed 10 of 18 passes for 124 yards and a score before lightning forced the game's cancellation. Alonso's Chris Oladokun threw for 181 yards and a touchdown, but the Raven defense struggled against Jefferson.

Lakeland Victory Christian (1-0) at Berkeley Prep (1-0), 7

Last week: Victory Christian d. Admiral Farragut 35-12; Berkeley Prep d. Middleton 44-6.

Why you should go: The Buccaneers take on last year's Class 2A runnerup, one that knocked out powerhouse North Florida Christian 46-41 before losing by a mere touchdown in the title game. And of note, one of the Storm's losses last season was to Berkeley. So this should be a doozy. Quarterback Brad Mayes tossed four touchdowns last week as Berkeley came one play — a 90-yard pass as time expired — from shutting out Middleton.

Sarasota Out-of-Door (0-1) vs. Citrus Park Christian (1-0) (at Oscar Cooler Park), 7

Last week: Citrus Park Christian d. Manatee JV 25-14; Bradenton Christian d. Out-of-Door 13-7.

Why you should go: To check out the new program on the block. Citrus Park Christian topped Manatee's junior varsity squad last week behind quarterback Jayson Carter (123 yards rushing, touchdown pass) and running back Dayshawn Richardson (93 yards rushing, two TDs).

Indian Rocks Christian (1-0) vs. Carrollwood Day (0-1) (at Skyway Park)

Last week: IRC d. St. Petersburg Catholic 35-0; Jacksonville University Christian d. CDS 42-7.

Why you should go: To watch two teams that figure to be in the Class 2A, District 5 playoff picture. CDS needs to quickly shake off last week's dismal performance to avoid a disastrous 0-2 start.

Middleton (0-1) at Freedom (1-0)

Last week: Berkeley Prep d. Middleton 44-6; Freedom d. King 9-6.

Why you should go: To see if the recently lowly Patriots can start 2-0. Freedom, which has averaged just three wins a year during the past four seasons, has not had a winning season since 2009. Coach Todd Donohoe's defense was outstanding in Freedom's tight win over the Lions. Will a solid performance tonight against the struggling Tigers equal a perfect start to the season?

Plant City (0-0) at Wharton (0-1)

Last week: Spoto d. Wharton 35-2; Steinbrenner-Plant City's game was canceled due to inclement weather.

Why you should go: Because the odds are pretty low that lightning will strike twice? While, you're there, check out Plant City running back Markese Hargrove, who ran for 75 yards and a touchdown in one half of action last week. Wharton, meanwhile, has plenty to work on after last week's lopsided loss to Spoto.

Leto (0-0) at Chamberlain (0-1)

Last week: Gaither d. Chamberlain 35-6; Leto had a bye.

Why you should go: To see if this is the year Leto wins a game on the field. The long-struggling Falcons will have to stop an up-tempo Chamberlain attack led by quarterback Reggie Wester and running back Tahwan Keels, who combined for just about all of the Chiefs' offense last week. This is the Class 6A, District 8 opener for both teams.

Lennard (1-0) at King (0-1)

Last week: Lennard d. East Bay 28-7; Freedom d. King 9-6.

Why you should go: Lennard is for real — and really entertaining to watch. The Longhorns have already equaled their win total of the past two seasons, and it was no fluke as a ferocious defense and fabulous freshman quarterback Devin Black went for 226 yards and four scores. The last thing King needs is another tough foe in district play. King's defense has done well so far, but unless the offense gets cranking, it may be a long year.

Jefferson (1-0) at Hillsborough (0-0)

Last week: Jefferson d. Alonso 28-12; Hillsborough had a bye.

Why you should go: There's nothing like what could be a playoff-deciding game in Week 2. There's a full eight-game schedule for the teams in 6A-8, but if Armwood wins the district as expected, then it would stand to reason that these teams would be at the head of the line for the runnerup spot. The Terriers have the disadvantage of rust, since their bye week hit last week. Jefferson pulled off a solid win, mixing run and pass effectively and using a strong defensive effort.

Jesuit (1-0) at Lakewood Ranch (1-0)

Last week: Jesuit d. Hardee 34-17; Lakewood Ranch d. Bradenton Southeast 37-14.

Why you should go: Jesuit's beefy pre-district schedule continues with another impressive foe from out of the immediate Tampa Bay area. Lakewood Ranch was helped by three mishandled snaps on punts by Southeast, but will still be riding high after knocking off the most storied Bradenton team not named Manatee. Mustangs quarterback Chad Rex ran for 50 of his 80 yards on the opening drive, and threw for 100 more. The Tigers got a seriously promising performance from freshman Malik Davis, who merely scored all four of Jesuit's touchdowns while running for 149 yards.

Tampa Catholic (0-1) at Clearwater Central Catholic (1-0)

Last week: Madison County d. TC 23-6; CCC d. Naples Lely 38-6.

Why you should go: Last year these teams were both state title contenders and nearly met in the 3A final. But TC lost to Jacksonville Trinity Christian in the state semis. (CCC then lost to Trinity in the final.) And both teams had plans of getting there again. Unfortunately for the Crusaders those plans might have to be made without five-star recruit Nate Craig, who broke his leg on the very first carry against Madison County. CCC quarterback Jeff Smith was 10-for-10 in the first half and finished 16-of-19 for 146 yards passing last week.

Bradenton Christian (1-0) vs. Cambridge Christian (1-0) (at Skyway Park)

Last week: Bradenton Christian d. Sarasota Out-of-Door Academy 13-7; Cambridge d. Calvary Christian 41-36.

Why you should go: It looks like Cambridge is going to be one of the more entertaining teams to watch, thanks to its pass-first approach led by senior Garrett Young. The Lancers were down 21-7 versus. a good Calvary team so the comeback victory revealed a large amount of heart. Last week, Bradenton Christian allowed a freshman to throw for 222 yards against it, so the Lancers could have even more fun. BCS does its offensive damage primarily on the ground, and sophomore Zach Cooper was fed the ball 27 times, gaining 159 yards and a score.

Sickles (1-0) at Durant (0-1)

Last week: Sickles d. Robinson 33-7; Armwood d. Durant 37-14.

Why you should go: Heard a number of times during the Armwood-Durant game: Is Armwood this down or is Durant this much better? The answer may fall somewhere in between but the Cougars, who trudged to an uncharacteristic 3-7 2013 season, held their own physically with the Hawks. They get another tough test tonight with Sickles and the slippery Ray Ray McCloud III.

Gaither (1-0) at Newsome (0-1)

Last week: Gaither d. Chamberlain 35-6; Tampa Bay Tech d. Newsome 25-17.

Why you should go: Does Newsome ever play a soft out-of-district team? After TBT last week, the Wolves host Gaither tonight then are at Sickles. Two weeks later they have Jesuit. Geez. Might also explain why Ken Hiscock's team is battle-tested come playoff time.

Correspondents Darek Sharp and Brandon Wright contributed to this report.

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