Prep football Week 2: Estero trying to snap 23-game losing streak against Neumann

ST. JOHN NEUMANN (0-0) at ESTERO (0-1), 7:30 p.m.

Key players: SJN -- QB Dylan Woods, RB Will Affleck, RB James Maher, LB Josh Beatty; EHS -- QB Ryan Sides, WR John Pencil, OL/DL Mike Dunn, K/P Blaine Moriarty.

What to watch for: Steve Howey's Celtics should be raring to go after lightning shut down their game at Miami-Westminster. St. John Neumann trailed 13-0 with 8:30 remaining in the second quarter last week. The Celtics, all of whom are healthy, were drubbed, 36-7, by Golden Gate in their Kickoff Classic exhibition. Estero was again blasted by South Fort Myers, this time 52-6, in the Wildcats' home opener last week. Worse, Estero starting QB Will Davis went down with a high ankle sprain in the second quarter and will not play Friday night. Estero could snap its 22-game losing streak, but the Celtics want to ensure that doesn't happen against them. With a home crowd behind them, and a solid performance by backup QB Ryan Sides, the Wildcats could pull this off.

Estero's Wildcats honestly believe they can scratch out a win Friday night at home against St. John Neumann and snap their 23-game losing streak.

The Celtics, who were able to go less than a half at Miami-Westminster because of lightning last week (they trailed 13-0), are determined not to let that happen against a foe that lost, 52-6, against South Fort Myers in its opener. Neumann coach Steve Howey admitted this one has extra built-in pressure.

"Yeah, I think so," Howey said. "Nobody wants to be that first team they beat. I think our kids have heard (Estero) Coach (Rich) Dombroski's quotes on the (naplesnews.com) PrepZone about them wanting to get a win and the first opportunity to get that first win is this week.

"Our kids took that to heart. They don't want it to be against us. We had a great week of practice and I think they'll come out firing."

But Howey doesn't believe Estero will be a pushover again this year.

"I saw them play in the spring against Evangelical," Howey said. "They're a lot better than they've ever been, I think. I think they're a very good team. I think they're going to surprise some teams this year. I think they'll win a few games."

Dombroski's Wildcats will be without starting quarterback and defensive back Will Davis, who suffered a high-ankle hairline fracture last week. Davis could be good to go for Week 3. In his place tonight will be sophomore Ryan Sides, who led the freshman team last year.

"We have full faith in him that he'll get the job done," Dombroski said. "I think it's going to be a very competitive game, which is something we haven't had here in a while. (The Wildcats) see this as an opportunity. We need to jump on every opportunity we have, make the most of it. We can't fumble the ball and throw interceptions this week. We need to take advantage of every break we can get.

"It's a nasty streak, one the kids want to break this year."

Howey even hopes for that.

"Hey, I live in Estero, and I want them to win," Howey said. "I just don't want them to win (Friday night)."

Connect with Dana Caldwell at www.naplesnews.com/staff/Dana_Caldwell

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