Southwest Florida High School Football: Matches, Previews & Predictions


High school football kicks off this week in Southwest Florida.

We take a look at 12 top-rated games (six each) between boys and girls, plus other notable matches and storylines to watch from November 8-13:

Girls Football

North Fort Myers in Naples

When: Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Analysis: This is a two-team battle in the top three of The News-Press / Naples Daily News preseason football rankings. The Red Knights and Golden Eagles met last season in the regional semifinals, with Nick Erickson’s side escaping with a 1-0 home victory. North are looking to reload this season and run an even deeper run, while Napoli will aim to show strength on their own turf with Arianna Kinsley, Elaina Loden and Lucy Froitzheim anchoring the attack. Whatever the outcome, this game is a good measuring tool for both teams at the start of the year.

Alex’s choice: North Fort Myers by 1

Barron Collier's girls' soccer team played at Mariner High School home on Thursday January 7, 2021. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Gulf Coast at Barron Collier

When: Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Analysis: The Sharks and Cougars will face off in a rivalry game, each team’s first game of the regular season. Gulf Coast played in a busy 7A region last season, while Barron Collier played in Southwest Florida’s most competitive district, Class 5A-District 12. Sharks return Ria Vlachos, player finalist of the Year 2020-21 in Southwest Florida, while Barron fires Ashlyn Freshwater (19 goals, 14 assists last season) and Lola Schaa (18 goals, 12 assists), both selected in the first team of Naples Daily News. Both back lines will be tested in this game.

Alex’s choice: Throw in the air

Lemon Bay to Cape Coral

When: Thursday at 7 p.m.

Analysis: There’s no more Lauren Ragazzone for Manta Rays, but that doesn’t mean they’re not deadly. Sophia Cherniak scored 20 goals and 23 assists last season and looks set to play an attacking role. The young Cape Coral side received a boost in the offseason, when Cameron Fallacara made the transfer from Mariner. The Seahawks will be an underrated team to watch this winter, with the potential to turn heads early on with an iconic win.

Alex’s choice: Lemon Bay by 2

Quick shots

Barron Collier in North Fort Myers, Thursday at 7 p.m.: The Red Knights will have an advantage in the calendar strength category early in the season, with two top-five opponents slated to open the season. It will be worth seeing if the Cougars can stick with North on the road, given Barron is 4-6 in his last 10 games when playing on grass, which doesn’t happen. so often for Charles Shanks and his team.

Premier Baptiste at Lely’s, Friday at 5 p.m .: The Lions played a relatively easy schedule last season before ending with a 10-6-1 record. This season, a young and growing FBA team are looking to take another step forward against a Trojans squad made up of Alyssa Reeves (22 goals, 8 assists last season) and Ruby Clarke (10 goals, 10 assists. ).

Canterbury to Bishop Verot, Thursday at 7 p.m .: The Vikings have a solid chance to defeat Canterbury for the first time since December 10, 2018, almost three years ago. FGCU hires Kendal Garguila and Geri Herrera to lead the charge in Verot’s attack. The duo combined 38 goals last season and have the chance to feast against a Canterbury side who return a starter from last year to Steele Idelson, this year’s captain.

Boys Football

Canterbury's Sam Schoensee and Bradenton Christian's David Thompson collide during the Class 2A Boys' Regional Final in Fort Myers on Tuesday February 23, 2021.

Canterbury at Mgr Verot

When: Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Analysis: The Cougars begin their Class 2A title defense against their rivals, just ahead of Summerlin Rd. Kevin Schoensee’s side have lost Manny Pina and Nicholas Hamilton, as well as Conor Thomas, who chose to continue his football career in England. Nonetheless, Canterbury returns just under 87% of his score from last season. Verot is an interesting team. The Vikings have a relatively large core of subclasses, led by Cooper Banks and Ryan Gadson. Expect a tighter-than-expected clash early in the season between these two foes.

Alex’s choice: Canterbury by 1

Gulf Coast players react moments after receiving the Class 7A Boys State Football Championship trophy on Saturday.  Marcello Maffei's goal with 2:04 left in the first overtime period gave the Sharks a 1-0 victory over Tampa Plant at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand.  This is the third state title for the Gulf Coast Boys' Program.

Gulf Coast at Fort Myers

When: Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Analysis: The Greenies surprised the Sharks last year on home turf, handing them their only loss at home in a 2-1 decision. There is no doubt that the remaining members of this Sharks team will remember this game and will aim for redemption. The timing of this match makes this one difficult to predict – this often happens when teams start slowly at the start of the season and increase in the new year. A nugget to consider: Gulf Coast has not lost a season opener on the road since Nov. 9, 2010. The Sharks are 5-0-5 in the same metric since that loss, which occurred in Naples.

Alex’s choice: Throw in the air

Golden Gate at Palmetto Ridge

When: Thursday at 7 p.m.

Analysis: The Bears may have had one of the best stories of the playoffs, making it all the way to the regional finals before falling to Mitchell. Golden Gate fell to Lely in the 5A Playoffs, but had one of the most impressive seasons for teams in Southwest Florida. In last year’s game, Jonathan Euceda scored two goals to propel the Titans to a 2-1 victory. With Euceda back for his senior season, he will look to take out the Palmetto Ridge defense in their home opener.

Alex’s choice: Golden Gate by 1

Quick shots

Naples at the community school, Thursday at 6 p.m.: The Seahawks will be aiming for a good start this season, against a young and rebuilding Neapolitan side that lost many seniors a year ago. CSN have always been slow to open the regular season and are 1-5-2 at home since 2013. Napoli are 22-5-8 since the 2017-18 campaign.

East Lee County in Lely, Tuesday at 7 p.m.: The East Lee County youth movement is a story to follow this season, with many returning scorers from a year ago. Lely has lost a total of 10 seniors, but Johnathan Garcia (13 goals, 29 assists in 2020-21) gives the Trojans a chance against a team that beat them last season.

Saint Thomas Aquinas in Cape Coral, Wednesday at 7 p.m .: The Seahawks get a good home test early on against the Raiders, who finished 4-5-4 last season. A great junior class for Aquinas will challenge a team of senior-heavy Seahawks. One thing to note is that the Raiders will play their third straight game in three days.

Follow Southwest Florida sports writer Alex Martin on Twitter: @NP_AlexMartin. For the best sports coverage in Southwest Florida, follow @newspresssports and @ndnprepzone on Instagram.

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