Friday’s Kickoff Classic Game Previews

It’s time! It’s time! Football is officially back in the state of Florida, and we’re ready to bring you another great season of high school football. Tonight’s games don’t count in the standings, but we’ll know a lot more about what the regular season is going to look like. Today, we’re looking at five games that you need to know about.

Armwood at Manatee:

Will Armwood get a win against a tough Manatee team?
Will Armwood get a win against a tough Manatee team?

Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium is going to be rocking tonight with a ton of BCP campers as the two powerhouses will show down. Look out for Armwood QB Devin Black – this is his first real game in an Armwood uniform, and he can be a difference maker. Manatee QB AJ Colagiovanni will be interesting to watch while he deals with a ball-hawking secondary. Armwood’s Mekhi Lapointe will be the one guy that Colagiovanni will try and get away from the most, as Lapointe is coming off of a ten interception season. A weapon for the Hurricanes against the Hawks’ passing attack will be CB Sir Williams. Williams has had an excellent offseason, and he will be one of the leaders of the ‘Canes secondary. Finally, I think the play of Manatee WR Tarique Milton will be the X-Factor this evening. He’s absolute lightning when he has the ball in his hands.

Blake at Tampa Bay Tech:

We’ve got a lot of questions for this matchup, and some of those may have an answer tonight. First, is Blake as good as we’ve pumped them up to be? I made a prediction two weeks ago that said Blake would win at least six games. Tonight, we’ll see just how good they are. Second, what will QB Michael Penix Jr. look like in this game? It’s his first in a Titan uniform, and it will be interesting to see what has transpired in the offseason. Will Demetrius Powell have another sack fest in 2016? We’ll get an early taste of what the big guy has to offer, coming off a 16.5 sack season – second in the Bay Area. Finally, will Tampa Bay Tech be able to play at a level that could win them a District Championship? With a quality opponent in the Yellow Jackets, the Titans will show the Bay Area who might be the one on top of 7A-9 at the end of the season.

Lakeland at Lake Gibson:

Lakeland won the matchup against Lake Gibson 27-6 last season.
Lakeland won the matchup against Lake Gibson 27-6 last season.

Another great matchup this week, we’re excited for this Polk County showdown for two very good squads. Here’s some things that we will learn just from this matchup: will Doug DeMyer be able to continue the momentum from the District Championship winning team from 2015? Lakeland will be a tough task for the Braves, and it’s going to take a great game from QB Kevaris Thomas to give the Braves a chance to win this evening. For Lakeland, the question remains, can Bill Castle get the ‘Naughts to another ten win season? I think their play this evening will be indicative to how they will play the rest of the season. RB AJ Davis and WR James Robinson will lead the Dreadnaughts offensively – getting through a tough Lake Gibson defense will be difficult. Finally, we’ll get to see what kind of season Davis will have. Will he be a 2,000-yard rusher? Will he lead Polk County? We’ll find out just what he’s bringing to the table tonight.

Sunlake at East Lake:

A cross-county affair will go down at East Lake this evening, as a top team from Pinellas will take on a Pasco powerhouse. Expect a lot of receivers to touch the ball tonight for Sunlake – they’ve got playmakers up and down the depth chart at that position, starting with Cris Galdos and Ryan Clark. Tyler Perretti will add to that duo, and Justin Metzger is able to catch the ball out of the backfield quite well. The East Lake quarterback situation will get tighter as the Eagles will try to figure out who their number one guy is for 2016. Tyler Rupe had an excellent spring with a 103 yard performance against Osceola in the spring game, but will Rupe be the starting guy? We’ll find out tonight.

Weeki Wachee at Fivay:

 It’s a Pasco – Hernando showdown in Hudson this evening, in a tale of two teams that are trying to right their ship for 2016. Weeki Wachee went 4-6 in 2015, and Fivay went 5-5. Fivay has had better success since the two schools opened in 2010, but only just slightly. Two players you need to watch for is Fivay UTL Bryce Smith and Weeki Wachee QB Alec Cromie. Smith will be able to make a difference on both sides of the ball in his first season since transferring from California in the offseason. Cromie has turned into a quality QB for the Hornets, one that could possibly get Weeki Wachee to the playoffs for the first time in school history.

Here’s the rest of the games this evening:

Armwood at Manatee
Auburndale at Martin County
Bayshore at Clearwater Central Catholic
Blake at Tampa Bay Tech
Brandon at Durant
Calvary Christian at The First Academy (Orlando) Cambridge Christian at Wildwood
Canterbury at Warner Christian
Chamberlain at Bloomingdale
Clearwater at Cocoa
Clearwater Academy at Bradenton Christian
Countryside at Alonso
Dixie Hollins at Barron Collier (Naples)
Dunedin at Boca Ciega
East Bay at Hillsborough
East Ridge at Brooksvile Central
Fort Meade at Haines City
Frostproof at Ridge Community
George Jenkins at Hardee
Jefferson at King
Jesuit at Strawberry Crest
Kathleen at Lake Wales
Keswick Christian at Bishop McLaughlin
Lakeland at Lake Gibson
Lakewood at Naples
Lake Region at Lakeland Christian School
Land O’Lakes at Zephyrhills
Largo at South Fort Myers
Lennard at Wharton
Middleton at Freedom
Mulberry at Bartow
Newsome at Spoto
Northeast at St. Petersburg
Northside Christian at Melbourne Central Catholic
Oxbridge Academy at Osceola
Palmetto at Booker
Pasco at Ridgewood
Plant at Venice
Plant City at Riverview
River Ridge at Braden River
Robinson at Pinellas Park
Saint John Lutheran (Ocala) at Zephyrhills Christian
Saint Stephen’s Episcopal at Saint John Neumann (Naples)
Santa Fe Catholic at Tenoroc
Sarasota­ Riverview at Lakewood Ranch
Seffner Christian at Shorecrest Prep
Seminole at Gibbs
Sickles at Steinbrenner
Southeast at Leto
St. Petersburg Catholic at Poinciana
Sunlake at East Lake
Tampa Catholic at Gaither
Tarpon Springs at Anclote
Victory Christian at Port Charlotte
Weeki Wachee at Fivay
Wesley Chapel at Citrus
Winter Haven at Killian (Miami)