IMAGINE SCHOOL (2-2) at MARCO ISLAND ACADEMY (0-3), 7:30 p.m.
Key players: IS – QB Anthony Stevens, RB Zeften Bruno, RB/DB Elijah Mack, DB Rodney Lamb, DE Beejay St. Pierre. MIA – RB Nick Dotson, DB/K Peter Servente, QB/DB Reeves Carlisle, DL Colby Jones.
What to watch for: Imagine has speed to have breakaway plays on offense and speed to get after the MIA quarterback on defense. Manta Rays’ Nick Dotson having a solid game is key to allowing MIA to control the football.
NAPLES — Homecoming Week has brought about fun events at Marco Island Academy, but it gets more serious Friday night when the Manta Rays football team hosts Imagine School of North Port.
Both are first-year teams. Imagine is 2-2, with both wins against junior varsity teams. The Sharks have lost to two very good varsity teams in First Baptist Academy and Tampa-Carrollwood.
MIA coach Andy Delgado’s team is 0-3, nearly winning against the St. John Neumann JV team in its last outing more than two weeks ago.
“We have been working on defense, particularly at defensive end,” he said. “Their ends have a lot of speed.”
“This will be a true varsity team we will play and it will be a tough game,” Delgado said.
Nick Dotson is the Manta Rays' go-to running back. Reeves Carlisle has shown he can play quarterback and linebacker. Noel Cabrera hasn't gotten the big stats on the ground, but is a breakaway threat. He has been outstanding on defense. Peter Servente has intercepted two passes.
For Imagine, quarterback Anthony Stevens is able to run or pass. He scored both touchdowns in the team’s loss to First Baptist last week.
Defensive end Beejay St. Pierre “is coming into his own,” said assistant coach and defensive coordinator Dan Faubel. Elijah Mack is solid at linebacker and first-year defensive back Rodney Lamb has played well.
Stevens, Mack, and Zeften Bruno give Imagine a strong running game.
“Kids are starting to understand what we are trying to do,” Faubel said.
Part of the Homecoming festivities will be naming the king and queen of the Homecoming Court.
Cabrera and Dotson are among members of the court.