- The Villages (3-0) – next up – @ Tavares (3-1) on 10/22*
Pre-season ranking – #2. I had the Buffalo at #2 in the pre-season behind South Sumter, who dropped back to #2. Purely looking at their common opponent, Trinity Catholic, The Villages won 27-25 while South Sumter lost 31-48. Unfortunately, the head-to-head match-up between the Sumter County rivals was canceled last week due to some Covid issues up at The Villages. Nevertheless, The Villages will probably be healthy and re-focused for a contest against a solid Tavares team, but I expect them to come back from Lake County on Thursday night with another win.
- South Sumter (1-3) – next up – vs Lake Minneola (3-1) on 10/23
Pre-season ranking – #1. South Sumter will be hungry this week. I know they wanted to take down The Villages. Hopefully, they bottle up that animosity and unleash it against the Hawks on Friday. I think the Raiders will take care of business.
- Nature Coast (4-0) – next up – vs #6 Lecanto (3-0) on 10/23
Pre-season ranking – #4. Nature Coast struggled against Springstead on Friday night and I know they are not happy with their performance. The Sharks can’t afford a slow start this week as they host an undefeated Lecanto team looking for a statement win. With a win over 3-1 Hernando already on the resume, a win against Lecanto secures the Sharks spot in the driver’s seat for the GC8 title.
- Hernando (3-1) – next up – @ Central (0-4) on 10/23
Pre-season ranking – #3. The Leopards bounced back from the Nature Coast loss with a dominant 44-6 win over Citrus. Hernando should be able to build depth and get some experience for younger players this week against a young Central team that is struggling so far this season. Hernando’s goal will be to secure the win early and stay healthy as they host Springstead on 10/30. The Leopards have to win out and hope Nature Coast slips up a couple of times in order to have a shot at the GC8 title.
- Wildwood (6-0) – next up – vs Chiefland (1-4) on 10/23
Pre-season ranking – #5. Wildwood is coming off of a tough win against a scrappy Mount Dora Christian team. Even though they are #5, Wildwood has the most exciting offense to watch in these rankings. Their overall depth and size in the trenches are simply what holds them back from the larger schools in these rankings. They play an explosive brand of football and put up points week in and week out (46.5 PPG). They have the top QB play and some of the best skills players in the area. The Wildcats will have an opportunity to put up some more as they host a struggling Chiefland team on Friday night.
- Lecanto (3-0) – next up – @ #3 Nature Coast (4-0) on 10/23
Pre-season ranking – #6. I watched the Panthers in person on Friday night. They came down to Weeki Wachee and ended up beating a solid football team. However, Weeki Wachee did do Lecanto several favors. A few critical mistakes from the Hornets led directly to Lecanto points. I don’t think Nature Coast’s veteran playmakers will make those kinds of mistakes. Lecanto will have to play a clean game and earn every point to get a win in the Shark Tank on Friday night.