For some teams Week 2 means the start of district play, and for pretty much every squad in the area, tonight's games promise to be ultra-competitive. All games are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m kickoff unless otherwise noted.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Robinson (0-1) at Plant (0-1)
Last week: Sickles d. Robinson 33-7; Lowndes (Ga.) 20-14 d. Plant.
Why you should go: There aren't many better rivalries in the city, although it does appear Plant will have the edge this time around. The Panthers lost their opener, but then again it was to a very strong team from Georgia and came in the waning minutes. Back in South Tampa, Plant may do a little more running than normal after seeing how Sickles succeeded against the Knights. Two receivers did have nice games for Robinson, with Jahrvis Davenport and Ilyan Mitchell averaging around 80 yards each.
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?
Armwood (1-0) at Blake (0-1)
Last week: Armwood d. Durant 37-14; Brandon d. Blake 21-20.
Why you should go: Because Armwood is Armwood and Blake, seemingly improved from recent seasons, is still Blake — at least when facing Armwood. The district opener comes a little early for both squads in this 6A-8 contest. Enjoy the Blake band at halftime and enjoy the dominance of Armwood, still the best team in the bay area.
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.
Times correspondent Rod Gipson contributed to this report.