Naples at Dunbar: These two played in a hard fought second round contest that ended on the last play of the game. There was a questionable call on a Dunbar TD(that ultimately went against them) and the Tigers are certainly looking for revenge. Naples has been the best, most consistent program in the area for years.
Dunbar's defense flies to the football, they are fast, deep, and like to hit. Naples is replacing three big time play-makers in Carlos Hyde, Greg Pratt, and Juno Prudhomme. The good news is that a few QB's have stepped up and the OL is always a strength. Dunbar DE Desmond Kearse, OLB Alonte Smith, MLB Kion White, and CB Schon Thomas headline an excellent unit.
After a terrific 2007 season defensively, the Golden Eagles came back to the pack in 2008, but this unit should be more like '07. Lukas Foreman is a player to keep an eye on in the seconday, the junior is long and fast. Dunbar has a host of weapons like Jorvonte Jones, Joel German, Darius Deloach, and Thomas, a QB needs to step up, that might be junior Chris James. Dunbar needs to keep the penalties to a minimum.
Dunbar is at home, they have more of a chip on their shoulder, and have more talent.
Dunbar 24, Naples 20
Tampa Bay Tech at Plant: Nothing like starting the year with the pre-season #3 ranked Plant hosting the #6 in Tampa Bay Tech (both 5A). Plant is the defending state champs, but lost last week to Manatee, they need to rebound.
The status of Plant QB Phillip Ely is up in the air, he has a back injury and is said to be day to day. Last year, Ely stepped in admirably when Murray was hurt, is Plant that deep again? Talent is not in question elsewhere, this team has all the parts.
Tech has high expectations this year and a win in this one would go a long way in the confidence department. Can Miami commit Maurice Hagens wear down the strong front 7 of the panthers? They need to show some balance on offense. The Plant secondary was not up to snuff in Kickoff Classic, they need to play to their potential.
It is hard to pick against Plant here, at home.
Plant 27, Tampa Bay Tech 24