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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Week 6 preview: Area teams return to field for Monday Night Football

SportsWeek 6 preview: Area teams return to field for Monday Night Football

Week 5 for high school footbspanll on the Treasure Coast will finally commence Monday with Hurricane Ian’s impact across the area pushing games back.

Power outages and flooding closed schools across the area late last week and in light of the circumstances, teams were permitted by the FHSAA to practice Sunday in preparation for critical matchups that will go a long way for the rest of the season.

Four district games take place as in District 12-4S, undefeated Vero Beach hosts Fort Pierce Central and Martin County hosts Centennial.

In District 12-3S, Jensen Beach hosts Port St. Lucie and in District 11-3S, Okeechobee welcomes in Fort Pierce Westwood.

Jensen Beach High School hosts Fort Pierce Central in a high school football game on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022 at Jensen Beach High School. Jensen Beach High School won 21-7.

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Outside of the district matchups, a huge battle for the area’s other unbeaten team take place on the road.

4-0 John Carroll Catholic takes on 5-0 Cardinal Newman in West Palm Beach in a highly anticipated battle between two teams expected to be state title contenders.

One other marquee game that will not take place that was moved to Tuesday night is Treasure Coast and Chaminade-Madonna.

The Titans will not travel down to Hollywood and will end up being off for the week with a bye week already scheduled for Friday.

For most of these teams, it will be a short turnaround playing again just four days later on Friday right in the middle of district play.

Fort Pierce Central (1-3) at Vero Beach (5-0)

Time: 6 p.m.

What to watch for — Fort Pierce Central: Another excellent defensive performance wasn’t matched by the Cobra offense in Week 5 in a 14-7 loss at Palm Bay. Fort Pierce Central tried mixing up different looks with personnel changes offensively and had some success moving the ball with Railly Rodriguez at quarterback and will need to continue expanding the looks they give opposing defenses. Playing one of the area’s best offenses for the Cobra defense will be a challenge they’ll be more than up for. Vero Beach: It was an odd week for Vero having to travel north to play a home game at Sebastian River and in the end Vero Beach hung on against a tough Palmetto team for a 21-17 win. Getting their biggest test in terms of talent on the other side of the field, Vero’s defense held up very well and the offense hit big plays at key moments led by Vandrevius Jacobs’ two touchdown catches. Beginning their District 12-4S title quest, Vero Beach will want to start on the front foot.

TCPalm’s pick: Vero Beach 38, Fort Pierce Central 6

Port St. Lucie (2-2) at Jensen Beach (4-1)

Time: 6 p.m.

What to watch for — Port St. Lucie: The Jaguars surely will be eager to return to the field after a bitterly disappointing 10-6 loss at home to Sebastian River in Week 5. Port St. Lucie’s offense simply couldn’t get it going as running back Saleem Felder was held in check making the offense a bit too one-dimensional. In a must-win game for both teams to have the upper hand in the District 12-3S race, the Jaguar defense has to hold up against a very balanced Jensen Beach offense. Jensen Beach: A slow start last time out doomed the Falcons in their 49-30 loss to Benjamin, with Jensen Beach losing for the first time in 2022. Rallies have been a theme for the Falcons all season and despite trailing 21-0 in the first half, the Falcons never gave in behind another great performance by senior quarterback Gio Cascione throwing four touchdown passes for the second straight game. Like Port St. Lucie, the Falcons should be eager to get back on the field and correct miscues that cost them last time out.

TCPalm’s pick: Jensen Beach 33, Port St. Lucie 14

Centennial (3-1) at Martin County (4-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

What to watch for — Centennial: The Eagles did what they needed to do in Week 5 playing one half and winning 28-0 over a beleaguered Palm Beach Lakes program. With starting quarterback Malik Torres dinged up, junior Daniel Riveron did well stepping in and in the event Torres isn’t ready to go, he can be trusted to move the offense. Centennial’s defense will get a big test with Martin County’s balanced offense and playing their first full game in District 12-4S play, a win for the Eagles on the road would be massive. Martin County: In a big rivalry game, the Tigers came to play in a 35-7 win over South Fork bouncing back from their first loss of the season the week prior. Quarterback Jayden Vega accounted for three touchdowns and the defense had its fourth game where they held opponents to seven points or less. Needing to do everything possible to stay in the District 12-4S race with one loss already, Martin County has to pull out all the stops against a talented Centennial offense.

TCPalm’s pick: Martin County 26, Centennial 20

St. Lucie West Centennial High School hosts Heritage in a high school football game on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 at South County Stadium in Port St. Lucie. Centennial won 30-0.

Fort Pierce Westwood (3-1) at Okeechobee (0-3)

Time: 6 p.m.

What to watch for — Fort Pierce Westwood: The Panthers shutout Glades Day 45-0 in Week 5 and seek to continue their strong play to start 2022 in a key District 11-3S opener. Fort Pierce Westwood mixed up their personnel to great affect on offense in particular getting defensive back Braylon Vincent snaps at running back and he went for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Rotating bodies in to touch the ball can take pressure off one another for the Panthers who use many players on offense and defense. Okeechobee: The Brahmans haven’t been on the field in game action since Sept. 9 losing 28-13 to Frostproof. Shaking off the rust in a big game for their season, Okeechobee will need quarterback Michael Burgarelli to continue using his legs to make plays in order for the team to have a shot.

TCPalm’s pick: Fort Pierce Westwood 36, Okeechobee 10

John Carroll Catholic (4-0) at Cardinal Newman (5-0)

Time: 6 p.m.

What to watch for — John Carroll Catholic: The Rams had to scratch and claw their way to a 28-17 win over Bishop Moore in Week 5 to remain undefeated. It was a needed test for John Carroll seeing speed and strength that in a way will replicate what they’ll see this week and if quarterback Dawson Maehl can produce another quality performance like he did last week, the Rams will be in business. This game comes prior to John Carroll’s key District 6-1S title game four days later against Cardinal Mooney so the Rams will want to stay healthy leading up to that matchup. Cardinal Newman: The Crusaders wore out Clewiston with a 42-7 win in Week 5 and have scored 36 points or more in all five wins thus far in 2022. Junior quarterback Luke Warnock has been very impressive with 16 touchdown passes in five games but senior running back Henry Bennett also is valuable to the offense with five touchdowns on the ground. Senior Maverick Gracio on defense has been a monster with 13 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss.

TCPalm’s pick: Cardinal Newman 33, John Carroll Catholic 24

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