There are still a few seats left on the Lennard bandwagon if anyone wants to hop on. The Longhorns have become the darlings of this very young season, providing a new must-see team in the county. Expect the opening-week jitters to have subsided for the rest of the area as teams enter Week 2. All games set for 7:30 p.m.
Strawberry Crest (0-1) at Spoto (1-0)
Last week: Bloomingdale d. Strawberry Crest 16-7; Spoto d. Wharton 35-2.
Why you should go: Interesting game. The Chargers' offense never got rolling last week, and Spoto served notice to the county with a thumping of Wharton. The Spartans have athletes all over the field, but the Chargers will provide a good measuring stick for coach Dale Caparaso
St. Stephen's (1-0) at Seffner Christian (at Brandon) (1-0)
Last week: St. Stephen's d. Bishop McLaughlin 42-0; Seffner Christian d. Lake Mary Prep 42-0.
Why you should go: Karmi Mackey will fill up the stat sheet for the Crusaders. The 6-foot, 205-pound tailback, who doubles at linebacker, scored four touchdowns in the opener and has potential star written all over him.
Riverview (0-0) at East Bay (0-1)
Last week: Riverview had a bye; Lennard d. East Bay 28-7.
Why you should go: There's a good chance of catching a 9:30 p.m. movie. Both these teams run first and run second, so expect a fast-moving affair. East Bay struggled last week holding onto the ball (seven fumbles, four lost) and likely won't repeat the same performance tonight.
Brandon (1-0) at Bloomingdale (1-0)
Last week: Brandon d. Blake 21-20; Bloomingdale d. Strawberry Crest 16-7.
Why you should go: Brandon eked out a one-point win last week on a blocked extra point in the opener while Bloomingdale gave new coach Brian Surcy his first victory. The Bulls have a ton of targets for quarterback Isaiah McIntyre, and it will take a big effort from the Brandon D to stay within striking range.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Correspondents Rod Gipson and Darek Sharp contributed to this report.