Tampa Catholic (1-1) at Tarpon Springs (2-0), Thursday
Breakdown: Both teams are coming off come-from-behind victories last week. The Crusaders ended a two-game losing streak to rival Clearwater Central Catholic with a 13-10 overtime win. The Spongers snapped a two-year losing streak to Osceola with a 21-17 victory. Tarpon’s defense has played well, allowing an average of 10.7 points per game, and will need another strong effort to stop TC quarterback Kyle Ploucher.
Who’s hot: In two games, Ploucher has 333 yards and three touchdowns, including the overtime winner against CCC last week. Tarpon Springs running back Michael Ford has rushed for 355 yards and has six touchdowns this season.
Rodney Page’s pick: Spongers find a way to win it late. Tarpon Springs, 24-23.
Bob Putnam’s pick: Experience in big games could be the difference. Tampa Catholic, 21-16
St. Petersburg (2-0) at Lakewood (1-1), Thursday
Breakdown: This is not a district game, but it is part of the mythical city championship. The Green Devils have figured out their running game early and cruised to easy wins over Gibbs and Clearwater. Lakewood is still looking for an identity. The Spartans were stunned by Countryside in the opener and just edged Palmetto by a touchdown last week. St. Petersburg has allowed only one touchdown, so Lakewood quarterback Ryan Davis has his work cut out for him.
Who’s hot: Green Devils running back Deangelo Reeves has scored five touchdowns in two games, including four against Clearwater. Lakewood receiver Joc Ellison has caught a touchdown pass in each game this season.
Page: Playing at home, I think the Spartans figure things out. Lakewood, 23-21.
Putnam: The Green Devils are the kind of team that gives Lakewood fits. St. Petersburg, 21-19
Pinellas Park (2-0) at Osceola (1-1), Thursday
Breakdown: The Warriors, who are trying to break a four-year losing streak in this series, will rely on their rushing attack, which is averaging 290 yards per game. Likewise, Pinellas Park runs the ball. It has outscored opponents 75-6. In last week’s win over Gibbs, the five rushing touchdowns.
Who’s hot: Osceola running back Jamil Morris has 287 yards rushing in two games. Donte Maxson and Oscee Calhoun each scored twice last week.
Page: Patriots pass their first real test …barely. Pinellas Park, 21-18.
Putnam: The Patriots’ version of the wing-T is better. Pinellas Park, 28-13.
Jesuit (1-1) at Clearwater Central Catholic (1-1), Friday
Breakdown: The Catholic schools renew their rivalry, meeting for the first time since 2005. The Tigers got a much-needed win against Bradenton Lakewood Ranch while the Marauders are trying to rebound after an overtime loss to Tampa Catholic. The key could come down to how well Jesuit’s offensive line can hold up in pass protection against a CCC pass rush that has already recorded 10 sacks in two games.
Who’s hot: Jesuit running back Kevin Newman had more than 200 yards of total offense last week. CCC defensive lineman Justus Reed has 10 tackles, four for loss, and a team-leading three sacks in his first two games.
Page: The Marauders get out some frustration. CCC 35-14.
Putnam: The Marauders get back on track. CCC, 21-7.
Admiral Farragut (0-1) at Indian Rocks Christian (1-1), Friday
Breakdown: Admiral Farragut was rained out last week, so it is essentially coming off a bye week. That’s not necessarily good for a rebuilding team trying to figure itself out. IRC, on the other hand, is coming off a tough 14-6 win over Carrollwood Day. The Golden Eagles proved they can play defense and the running game is in good shape.
Who’s hot: IRC’s Zeke McGaughy came off a one-game suspension and rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries against CDS. Napoleon Maxwell scored the Blue Jackets’ first touchdown of the season two weeks ago against Victory Christian, and the senior is likely to get more touches against IRC.
Page: Eagles have too much depth. IRC, 28-13.
Putnam: The Golden Eagles pull it out in fourth quarter. IRC, 27-23
Palmetto (0-2) at Countryside (2-0)
Page: I’m done doubting the Cougars …for now anyway. Countryside, 21-12
Putnam: Cougars should have no trouble in this one. Countryside, 24-6
Gibbs (0-2) at Largo (1-1)
Page: Gibbs’ tough early-season start continues. Largo, 42-7
Putnam: Despite injuries/suspensions, Packers pull through. Largo, 34-12
Dunedin (1-1) at East Lake (2-0)
Page: Eagles should overwhelm Dunedin. East Lake, 35-0.
Putnam: Eagles rush to third straight win. East Lake, 42-7.
Seminole (1-1) at Dixie Hollins (1-1)
Page: Warhawks are oozing confidence right now. Seminole, 19-16.
Putnam: Rebels have more firepower on offense. Dixie Hollins, 21-20.
Palm Harbor University (1-1) at Clearwater (0-2)
Page: In a battle of storms, a Hurricane always beats a Tornado, right? PHU, 49-0
Putnam: ’Canes make it look easy. PHU, 55-7.
Northeast (0-2) at Boca Ciega (0-2)
Page: Pirates have a little more talent. Boca Ciega, 21-13.
Putnam: Offense does enough for the Pirates’ first win. Boca Ciega, 27-6.
Shorecrest (1-0) at Carrollwood Day (1-1)
Page: Patriots are too much for Shorecrest. CDS, 28-7.
Putnam: Chargers’ win streak ends quickly. CDS, 31-14.
Melbourne Central Catholic (2-0) at St. Petersburg Catholic (2-0)
Page: MCC has scored 105 points, but Barons play defense. SPC, 31-21.
Putnam: Balanced attack keeps Barons undefeated. SPC, 28-16.
Northside Christian (1-1) at Calvary Christian (2-0)
Page: Mustangs’ win streak ends at one. Calvary, 21-14.
Putnam: Todd Yoder wins the battle of former Buccaneers. Calvary, 38-14.
Canterbury (2-0) at Keswick Christian (0-2)
Page: A rare regular-season rematch nets the same result. Canterbury, 28-7.
Putnam: Canterbury’s strong start continues. Canterbury, 35-6.