UPDATE: Heavy rains have forced a handful of changes to the area football schedule. St. Petersburg Keswick Christian and St. John Neumann has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. Monday. Immokalee and Golden Gate has been moved to Golden Gate, the start time is unchanged.
All games involving Lee County public schools being played in Lee County have been cancelled.
Last week’s preseason classics were enough to whet the appetite, but this week the games start for real for high school football programs around the area.
At least, that’s the plan. As is typically the case in August, it’s going to depend on how the weather cooperates, and with rain in the forecast all day Friday and well into the weekend, just how much – or how late, the Friday night lights stay on remains to be seen.
Unlike in past years, the first week of the season carries more weight than ever. Thanks to the FHSAA’s new points-based playoff system, teams who don’t win their district title in Classes 5A-8A, and everyone in Classes 1A-4A will be relying on their strength of schedule in part to keep playing in November.
The idea was simple: make every game, not just the district games, matter.
“Every game you play is now going to count,” FHSAA director of athletics Frank Beasley said when the system was unveiled. “We’re going to see coaches say this week counts, right now counts. When we get to Week 11, that’s going to count as much as Week 1.”
PLAYOFF POINTS RUNDOWN
An opponent’s finishing record determines which of four tiers they fall into. Teams earn points, win or lose, based on these tiers. The better an opponent’s record, the higher the tiers, and the more points earned.
Tier 1, winning percentage .800 or higher. Win, 50 points. Loss, 35 points.
Tier 2, winning percentage .600 to .799. Win, 45 points. Loss, 30 points.
Tier 3, winning percentage .400 to .599. Win, 40 points. Loss, 25 points.
Tier 4, winning percentage .399 or lower. Win, 35 points. Loss, 20 points.
Teams earn 3 bonus points for each opponent which made the playoffs in 2015 or 2016.
Teams earn 3 bonus points for each opponent which finishes in the Top 25 of the MaxPreps or USA Today rankings.
A team can earn no more than 3 bonus points from a single game.
#239PREPS SPOTLIGHT GAMES
Clewiston at Fort Myers, 7:30 p.m.
Two old-school powers kick off their respective seasons Friday. Fort Myers played about a half in their preseason classic, which had a final – they lost 2-0 to Cape Coral – that looked more like the other kind of football. Clewiston is led by junior wide receiver Ja’markis Weston, while the Green Wave look to get the running attack rolling with Yasias Young, Randy Smith, and Xavier Perez.
Miami Edison at Naples, 7:30 p.m.
Naples coach Bill Kramer said he wanted to play playoff teams, and here comes one of them. Miami Edison made it to the regional final in Class 4A last season, and return leading rusher Eldridge Thomas. Naples is looking to bounce back from a 33-16 preseason loss to North Fort Myers, which ran well into Saturday due to the weather. Senior Jordan Persad-Tirone will get the start at quarterback, but expect him to split time with Kyle Kee.
OTHER AREA GAMES
Crescenta Valley(Calif.) 34, Barron Collier 31(Thursday, played at Disney’s Wide World of Sports)
7:00 p.m. games
Gulf Coast at Lely
Golden Gate at Immokalee
Lehigh at Sebring
Oasis at Gateway Charter
Sarasota Cardinal Mooney at Bishop Verot
St. Petersburg Keswick Christian at St. John Neumann
Marco Island Academy at Community School of Naples
7:30 p.m. games
Cape Coral at South Ft. Myers
Riverdale at North Ft. Myers
Charlotte at Dunbar
Lakewood Ranch at Ida Baker
Island Coast at Cypress Lake
Mariner at Estero
Southwest Florida Christian at LaBelle
Evangelical Christian at Riverview Bell Creek
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