DeSoto County and Port Charlotte both ended up in tight matchups late on Friday, but were eventually able to prevail.
While both coaches enjoyed seeing their teams hold on and succeed in crunch time, they would've preferred to maintain the big leads they had built.
DeSoto jumped out to a 21-6 lead, despite officiating about which the Bulldogs felt the need to log formal complaint. But they found themselves in a 21-21 overtime tie by the end of regulation.
The Bulldogs scored on the first play of overtime and then held on 4th-and-long to earn a 28-21 win over Lake Placid.
"My guys let it get in their heads when they should've been playing," DeSoto coach Bumper Hay said. "In overtime, they played like champions. They didn't just stop them, they drove them back. They responded well."
Port Charlotte had a similar game arc.
After jumping out to a 21-0 lead, some miscues enabled Hardee to claw its way back to pull within one score. But the Pirate defense was able to hold one last time.
"Our depth issues showed up there at the end," Port Charlotte coach Jordan Ingman said. "One thing that really impressed me was that our defense has been put in some really tough situations and they've bowed their neck. They got all the way down to the 8-yard line with five minutes left and we had to bow our neck."
Now things shift to Arcadia where DeSoto will look to exploit Port Charlotte any way it can. The Bulldogs will put their balanced attack up against a strong Pirate front seven.
"I worry about numbers and getting tired every time we play a tough team like this," Hay said. "(Port Charlotte) has a smart coaching staff over there and I'm sure they'll adjust to us this week. The way I look at it is, how can we possibly exploit them. You just have to find the kid that your kids are better than."
Port Charlotte took to the air a bit more than usual last week, completing five passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, but Port Charlotte receivers dropped eight passes. Ingman wants to add a bit more consistency in that regard against DeSoto.
"We could play well for three quarters, give up a couple big plays and lose the game," Ingman said. "We have to play four quarters, which we haven't done yet this year."
Port Charlotte at DeSoto County, 7:30 p.m.
Players to watch: Port Charlotte — QB Logan Rogers, LB Devin Hunter, DB Solomon Luther. DeSoto — QB Tony Blanding, LB Juan Garibay, ATH Ethan Redden.
Last time they met: 2014 (no score listed)
Predictions: Jacob Hoag, Port Charlotte 23-14; Ben Baugh, Port Charlotte 38-26; Vinnie Portell, Port Charlotte 24-21.
Charlotte (2-0) at Riverdale (1-1), 7 p.m.
Entering the season, this looked like a potential marquee matchup but it's looking a little more lopsided — at least on paper.
Charlotte has opened the season on a hot streak, shutting out DeSoto and handling Fort Myers. Riverdale, a 10-1 team in 2018, isn't trending as strong so far. The Raiders lost to North Fort Myers, 9-6, last week and potentially lost its starting running back, Raekwon Clark, for this week.
But Charlotte coach Binky Waldrop says don't sleep on Riverdale, comparing them to last year's electric North Fort Myers team.
"We just have to worry about us," Waldrop said. "We need to go out, take care of business and be solid on special teams. I hope they turn the ball over for us, but that's something they don't normally do. They just line up and try to pound you for 3, 4 yards."
Players to watch: Charlotte — LB Malakai Menzer, QB John Busha, RB Tai'Viahn Kelly. Riverdale — RB Da’Reous Bell, LB Giovanni Velazquez.
Last time they met: N/A
Predictions: Hoag, Charlotte 30-17; Baugh, Charlotte 22-19; Portell, Charlotte 35-14.
South Fort Myers (2-0) at North Port (0-2), 7:30 p.m.
North Port is still looking to right the ship and get its first win of the season.
The Bobcats' tough stretch continues with a 2-0 South Fort Myers team coming to North Port this week. Step 1 will be trying to slow down dynamic athlete Quincy Milhomme, who went over 300 all-purpose yards against Cape Coral.
South Fort Myers are looking to go 3-0 for the first time in school history while the Bobcats are looking to stave off a 0-3 start. As always, the key for the Bobcats is to get the running game going with Jeffrey Terry.
Players to watch: North Port — RB Jeffrey Terry, LB Dominic Spurlock, ATH Taylor Willis. South Fort Myers — RB Marco Cardona, ATH Quincy Milhomme, LB Nate Badeau.
Last time they met: N/A
Predictions: Hoag, SFM 35-10; Baugh, SFM 36-15; Portell, SFM 24-14.
Venice (1-1) at Trinity Christian Academy (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Venice High football team had little time to spare in scheduling its Week 3 game in Jacksonville.
After learning its game at Vero Beach was canceled because of Hurricane Dorian, Indians coach John Peacock took to Twitter to find a new opponent.
By that night, he had arranged for Venice to travel the four-plus hours up North to play the seven-time state champion Conquerors.
The Conquerors — a private school — play in 5A and went 13-1 in 2018, losing only in the state semifinals.
They feature a go-to running back in Kyjuan Herndon (386 all-purpose yards, 5 TDs in two games) and a star-studded defense.
Along with some three-star players, they have four-star Georgia Tech commit Miles Brooks and five-star Clemson commit Fred Davis manning their secondary.
“They’re loaded everywhere,” Venice coach John Peacock said of the Conquerors. “They’re a private school, so they have their pick of the litter. They’re coached well. This is gonna be a great challenge for us.”
Players to watch: Venice — WR Malachi Wideman, RB Brian Taylor, DB Chuck Brantley, LB Desavion Cassaway. Trinity Christian - RB Kyjuan Herndon, WR Marcus Burke, DB Miles Brooks, DB Fred Davis.
Last time they met: N/A
Predictions: Hoag, Trinity Christian 31-24; Baugh, Venice 28-24; Portell, Venice 42-35.