VENICE — Indians football coach John Peacock doesn’t believe his team is looking beyond Sarasota, even though they beat the Sailors, 71-0, last year at Powell-Davis Stadium.
The cross-county opponents will open up district play this Friday night at Sarasota High School at 7:30 p.m. in a matchup of two undefeated teams.
“I think that we have too many seniors (to overlook Sarasota), and our kids are focused on what we’re trying to do,” Peacock said after giving his team the day off on Tuesday.
“They have a good running back, a good receiver and their quarterback has been playing lights-out. We’re gonna have to show up and play and take care of business. But I think our kids are excited to play Sarasota, so I don’t think there will be a let-down on our end.”
Sarasota (3-0, No. 108 in FL) beat Barron Collier, 19-16, in the opening week before crushing North Port, 56-0, and Booker, 64-0, behind quarterback Lance Trippel.
The senior has already completed 33-of-50 passes for 737 yards and 11 touchdowns along with one rush for 13 yards.
Trippel has relied primarily on two targets — receivers TJ McKay (15 rec. for 374 yards and nine TDs) and Tyler Pack (9 rec. for 158 yards and one TD).
Running back Jarmel Holloway has given the offense balance out of the backfield as he’s carried the ball 23 times for 146 yards and four scores.
Sarasota has been nearly unstoppable in the last two weeks, but the wins have come over lesser competition. North Port is ranked No. 349 in FL while Booker is ranked as the 379th.
Venice (2-0, No. 5 in FL), however, has played two top 25 teams in FL — Edgewater and Cocoa — and has held them to three touchdowns or less with a dominant defensive front featuring Damon Wilson II, Trenton Kintigh, Geroge Philip and Makalynn Clayton.
“(The Sailors) really have been able to do whatever they’ve wanted to do, so they look good throwing it, but they haven’t really played tough competition yet,” Peacock said. “So, it’s kind of hard to tell, but they look really good at everything they’re doing. They’re making stops on defense and scoring nearly every time they have the ball.
“We take everyone seriously.”
Players to watch: Da’Marion Escort, Omari Hayes, Jayshon Platt, Ryan Browne, Keyon Sears, Damon Wilson II, Trenton Kintigh, George Philip, Desavion Cassaway, Martin Ramos, Elliot Washington, Myles Weston
Last meeting: 71-0 Venice win on Oct. 2, 2020
Prediction: Venice wins 59-14