If you’re not into the Jammin’ for a half a piece like the teams in Hillsborough County are this evening, then we’ve got three games spread across two counties that if you’re in the area–are must-see events as they closeout this spring season.
Braden River at Lakewood
The Pirates travel north from Manatee County into South Pinellas to take on the Spartans in one of the spring’s best match-ups (on paper) throughout the entire region. Braden River was 13-1 and regional champions in Class 7A last season while Lakewood were in the postseason for the seventh time in eight seasons under Head Coach, Corey Moore. Braden River’s Curt Bradley has turned things around to say the least, overseeing the Pirates to a 23-2 record the last two seasons and doing it with a stifling brand of defense and bruising run-oriented offense. Playmakers are all over the field for both sides with Tyrone Collins, Demetrius Lawson, Raymond Thomas, Deshaun Fenwick and Deqwunn McCobb all looking the part for Braden River, while Lakewood’s roster is absolutely loaded with talent at the skill positions including a load of 2018’s like Jaylen Shazell, Matt Landers and Troyvon Johnson just to name a few. Interestingly enough, Lakewood also has 6-3 Chris Atkins from the basketball team on the roster, which is scary when you think of all the other talent on the Spartans’ Offense already.
Venice at Lakeland
The Indians were 10-2 let season and actually defeated Lakeland in one half of play down in Bradenton last spring on a last-second field goal. The Indians’ QB Bryce Carpenter is just a 2018, but registered some sick numbers for Venice last season already. He’s currently third all-time in passing yards behind Trey Burton including the playoffs following last seasons’ performance. Venice also returns their RB, WR, and DE who all found their way on all-time rankings after 2015, so Venice and Head Coach John Peacock have visions of staying the course with another 10-win season in sight. Lakeland is ready to explode with their nationally-ranked prospects like AJ Davis and James Robinson, but Head Coach Bill Castle and his squad picked-up a key transfer from Lakeland Christian’s Larenz Deshazor who is very talented and will give QB Holden Hotchkiss another option. The ‘Naughts would like nothing-more to make the Indians pay for hanging on “L” on Lakeland last season in the spring and look ready to do so.
Pinellas Park at Largo
This is a good old-fashioned slobberknocker taking place in Pinellas County this evening. Countless players from both sides will be providing the entertainment for us this evening like P-Park’s Jordon Scott, Zamari Maxwell and the vastly-underrated RB Dale Foster for the Patriots, who handed Largo a 13-0 shutout in this match-up last spring. Both schools were out of the playoffs for the first time in over a decade combined. The Patriots’ Kenny Crawford has done an amazing job after taking over a P-Park squad that was 0-10 the year before he got there–and eight years later, Crawford has compiled a 49-26 record. Largo will be featuring several guys that have made impacts this offseason during camps like Calvin Lockett, Jaquaze Sorrells, Jaquan Heirs, Bobby Roundtree, Logan Doublin and Isaiah Bellamy. Head Coach Marcus Paschal is entering his third season with a 12-9 record, but with a chance to have something special on his hands in Class 6A if all of the young talent has taken the next step.