Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Sports

North Tampa prep football capsules: Gaither faces tough test in Plant City

TAMPA

Gaither's 2012 football ledger reads like this so far: a tough, fourth-quarter, come-from-behind win against Alonso and a not-so-tough 10-touchdown performance win against Leto.

So where exactly are the Cowboys, heading into Week 3?

Somewhere in between, according to Gaither coach Jason Stokes.

"All of our guys played really hard and they executed like the coaches asked," Stokes said after last week's 69-0 win against Leto. "But there are still things we need to do to get better. It's the little things, the fundamentals, things like that we need to keep working on."

Gaither, which is off to an 11-4 start in the Stokes era, will get to work on those fundamentals tonight at Plant City (1-1).

"Plant City is a tough team," said Stokes, whose squad lost to the Raiders 21-7 a year ago. "They (Plant City) are a perennial power. It'll be a tough test for us."

In other contests, Carrollwood Day School and Cambridge look to stay unbeaten as they both play Class 2A, District 5 games; Alonso, Freedom and Leto (all 0-2) are looking for win No. 1 and Chamberlain hosts unbeaten Wharton. Sickles is off tonight.

All kickoffs are set for 7:30 p.m. unless noted.

Berkeley Prep (2-0) at Naples Golden Gate (0-2), 7 p.m.

Last week: Berkeley Prep defeated Lakeland Victory Christian 30-7; Golden Gate lost to Fort Myers 37-27.

Why you should go: To see the show that is Berkeley sophomore QB Brad Mayes. In two games, Mayes has completed 17 of 33 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns. He also has run for two scores. Not bad for a 10th grader.

King (0-2) at Alonso (0-2)

Last week: King lost to Tampa Bay Tech 14-0; Alonso lost to Durant 29-0.

Why you should go: To see if Alonso breaks out of its funk. The Ravens were touted as a playoff team this preseason. Now, they're just looking for a win and wondering how their defense got stampeded for 250 yards last week.

Freedom (0-2) at Brandon (1-1)

Last week: Freedom lost to Plant City 14-9; Brandon was off.

Why you should go: Because Brandon has had to wait two weeks to return to the field after a 55-0 opening-night loss to Armwood. That means the Eagles might put on a show against the defensively challenged Patriots.

Wharton (2-0) at Chamberlain (1-0)

Last week: Wharton defeated Sickles 29-27; Chamberlain was off.

Why you should go: This might be the best game of the week. Wharton comes in with QB Chase Litton and do-it-all athlete Vernon Hargreaves, while Chamberlain counters with standout RB Xavier Johnson (who ran for more than 100 yards in the Chiefs' opening-night victory.)

Gaither (2-0) at Plant City (1-1)

Last week: Gaither defeated Leto 69-0; Plant City defeated Freedom 14-9.

Why you should go: To see more of Gaither's offensive weaponry. Granted, they were playing Leto, but the Cowboys put up 10 touchdowns last week scored by nine different players. That is versatility.

Leto (0-2) at Riverview (1-0)

Last week: Leto lost to Gaither 69-0; Riverview was off.

Why you should go: Leto has been outscored 106-6 so far this season. But the Falcons keep showing up and playing hard and TB Andre Simpson (35 carries, 104 yards and 1 touchdown this year) is one tough player.

Strawberry Crest (1-1) at Steinbrenner (1-1)

Last week: Steinbrenner defeated East Bay 23-0; Strawberry Crest lost to Bloomingdale 28-27.

Why you should go: To see how far these squads have come since starting their varsity programs three seasons ago. Plus, they're pretty evenly matched. Both are 1-1 with similar points scored through two games (Strawberry Crest 48, Steinbrenner 33) and almost identical defensive efforts (35 and 34 points allowed, respectively).

Carrollwood Day School (2-0) at Northside Christian (0-2)

Last week: CDS defeated Keswick Christian 48-0; Northside Christian lost to Bradenton Christian 33-10.

Why you should go: To keep watch on history. Carrollwood RB Robert Davis needs 1,599 yards for the all-time Hillsborough County rushing crown after scampering for 215 last week. Plus, you can see former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Mike Alstott, who coaches Northside Christian.

Bradenton Christian (1-0) at Cambridge Christian (2-0)

Last week: Bradenton Christian defeated Northside Christian 33-10; Cambridge defeated Canterbury School 34-21.

Why you should go: Because a win would put Cambridge already halfway to its district win total of a year ago and keep the Lancers in first place this season.

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