Florida-Jersey matchups headline weekend slate

September, 16, 2011
9/16/11
3:41
PM ET
In just a few hours, Manatee (Bradenton) will play host to Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), the nation's No. 1 football team in the POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings. Manatee lost its first game of the season to another national power, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), but rebounded with a big win last week. Junior QB Cord Sandberg will use his arm and his feet to try to lead the Hurricanes (1-1) to victory over Bosco (1-0), a team with scores of projected Division I prospects.

In the second Florida-Jersey showdown, Tampa Plant (2-0) plays host to Bergen Catholic (1-0), another private powerhouse from the Garden State. Senior James Few is the latest quarterback to run Plant coach Robert Weiner's high-powered attack. The Panthers' last three starting signal-callers — Robert Marve (Miami, Purdue), Aaron Murray (Georgia) and Phillip Ely (Alabama) — have all gone on to major programs, and all had a hand in Plant state championship runs. Few was expected to split time with junior Aaron Banks coming into the season, but after a three-TD performance against Hillsborough last week, Few figures to get the bulk of the snaps if the Panthers continue to be successful.

Brandon Parker, who runs the ESPNHS New Jersey blog, has more on both FL-NJ contests.

The third biggest game on the state docket is likely Miami Central (1-0) at Cocoa (0-2). Both are defending state champs, but Central has to be considered the favorite in this one. Cocoa had won three state titles and 38 straight games coming into this season but fell to two national caliber programs — Cincinnati Colerain (Ohio) and Dallas Skyline (Texas) — in its first two games. But the Tigers remain confident, writes Corey Long. The Rockets, meanwhile, slipped past a talented Booker T. (Miami) squad last weekend.

Which games are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.
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