Home Sports Class 4S state championship football preview: Lakeland vs. Venice

Class 4S state championship football preview: Lakeland vs. Venice

Class 4S state championship football preview: Lakeland vs. Venice

Class 4S Championship Game

Lakeland (13-0) vs. Venice (9-3)

When, where: 1 p.m. Saturday, DRV PNK Stadium (Fort Lauderdale)

Lakeland (10) Tyler Williams runs through the Osceola defense during first half action in Lakeland Fl  Friday December 2,2022.
Ernst Peters/The Ledger


Averages: Scoring 39.8 points per game, allowing 7.5 points per game

Statistical leaders: QB Zachary Pleuss (Sr., 101-151, 1,470 yards, 13 TDs), RB D’marius Rucker (Jr., 940 yards, 11 TDs), WR Daidren Zipperer (So., 23 catches, 458 yards, 2 TDs), LB Rolijah Hardy (Sr., 83 tackles, 8 TFL)

Postseason: Beat Lake Gibson 49-0 (regional quarterfinal), beat Mitchell 47-10 (regional semifinal), beat Lake Minneola 41-6 (regional final), beat Osceola 14-7 (state semifinal)

Signature wins: Osceola 25-22 (Sept. 16), Clearwater Academy International 44-6 (Oct. 21), Lakewood 48-20 (Nov. 4)

Recruit to watch: CB Cormani McClain. The 6 is one of the 6-foot-3, 170-pound McClain is one of the top senior recruits in the nation. The five-star Miami commit had 15 tackles, three passes defended and two interceptions this season.

Venice's quarterback Brooks Bentley celebrates a touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Buchholz Bobcats during the Class 4 Suburban state semifinal, Friday night, Dec. 2, 2022, at the Powell-Davis Stadium in Venice, Florida.


Averages: Scoring 35 points per game, allowing 18.9 points per game

Statistical leaders: QB Brooks Bentley (Sr., 144-248, 1,794 yards, 21 TDs), RB Alvin Johnson III (Jr., 926 yards, 10 TDs), WR Ryan Matulevich (So., 50 catches, 673 yards, 5 TDs), LB Eli Seed (Sr., 117 tackles, 3 TFL)

Postseason: Beat Riverdale 87-20 (regional quarterfinal), beat Lehigh 39-0 (regional semifinal), beat Sarasota Riverview 35-15 (regional final), beat Buchholz 42-35 (state semifinal)

Signature wins: Naples 12-11 (Sept. 2), Seminole 24-17 (Sept. 23)

Recruit to watch: EDGE Damon Wilson. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Wilson is one of the top edge rushers in the nation. He has 82 tackles, eight sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries this season and had a pick-six in the state final last season. Wilson’s offers include Alabama, Georgia, Miami, Ohio State and Texas.

Inside the matchup

Lakeland is looking for its seventh state title and first since 2018, when the Dreadnaughts beat St. Thomas Aquinas in the championship. Venice has its sights set on repeating as state champions and winning its fourth title in program history. Lakeland has scored at least 25 points in every game but one – the state semifinal against Osceola. Osceola was the only team to hold Lakeland under 35 points this season. Venice dropped two of its first three games but won eight of its past nine. The Indians have scored at least 20 points in each of their past nine games.


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