High school football kickoff week

Jonesing for the return of high school football?

Here’s a look at all the Friday night matchups for teams in The Laker/Lutz News coverage area. All Week 1 games are at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 24, unless otherwise noted.

Hillsborough County

St. Petersburg Catholic Barons at Carrollwood Day Patriots (7 p.m.) — Both teams come off losing seasons, but the Patriots feature a large senior class and one of the area’s top quarterbacks in senior Chris Butash.

Freedom Patriots at Steinbrenner Warriors — The Warriors have reigned supreme in this matchup the last three years (and hold the series lead 4-1). However, the Patriots will have arguably the best player on the field in senior receiver/safety Jeremiah Ashe, who boasts over a dozen Division I FBS scholarship offers.

Gaither Cowboys at Chamberlain Chiefs — The Cowboys’ strong running attack (262.5 yards per game in 2017) will be imperative to keep the Chiefs offense and senior quarterback Tyler Riddell off the field; Riddell, a University of Akron commit, threw for 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions last season.

Pasco County

Bishop McLaughlin Catholic Hurricanes at Shorecrest Prep Chargers (7 p.m.) — Last time these teams met was in 2013, where the Hurricanes were shut out 40-0. The Hurricanes should have better luck this time around, with Shorecrest Prep coming off a 1-6 campaign.

Cypress Creek Coyotes at Gulf Buccaneers — The Coyotes are seeking its first official win in program history after it was forced to forfeit its 12-0 victory against Gulf last season.

Coming off a 10-2 mark, the Zephyrhills Bulldogs and head coach Nick Carroll, right, figure to again be one of Pasco County’s top teams this fall. They play Wiregrass Ranch on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (File)

Land O’ Lakes Gators at Citrus Hurricanes — Gators first-year head coach Chad Walker faces a relatively manageable test against a Hurricanes squad that has just six seniors and is without several key contributors from last season.

Pasco Pirates at Hudson Cobras — Pasco won last year’s matchup 22-10 and holds the overall series lead, 6-2. A victory here would be a good start for the Pirates, who are seeking their first winning season since 2014.

Sunlake Seahawks at Wesley Chapel Wildcats — Wesley Chapel handily beat Sunlake last year (42-24). Doing so again likely won’t be as easy, as the Wildcats have lost some of the county’s top offensive and defensive players from 2017, including Isaiah Bolden, Dexter Leverett, Malik Melvin and Austin Wittish.

Wiregrass Ranch Bulls at Zephyrhills Bulldogs — Two of Pasco County’s top squads square off in what should be an exciting, back-and-forth affair. Adding fuel to the fire: Former Zephyrhills head coach Reggie Roberts is now an assistant at Wiregrass Ranch.

Later Week 1 games:

North Florida Christian (Tallahassee) at Zephyrhills Christian Warriors (Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m.) — A good barometer for both teams coming off eight-win seasons and appearances in the FHSAA Class 2A playoffs.

Donahue Catholic Shamrocks (Ave Maria) at Academy at the Lakes Wildcats (Sept. 7, 7 p.m.) — The defending FCAPPS eight-man state champions shouldn’t have much trouble against the visiting Shamrocks; the Wildcats won last year’s contest 36-0.

Compiled by Kevin Weiss

Published August 22, 2018

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