Naples (1-0) at Golden Gate (1-0)
Key players: N – QB Michael Walker, RB Max Joseph, WR/DB Tyler Byrd, LB Brian Donnelly; GG – QB Taylor Anderson, RB Isaiah D’Haiti, DE Lavanda Warren.
What to watch for: The host Titans have never beaten Naples, losing their eight matchups by an average of 30 points. But Golden Gate is high on confidence after a season-opening 22-8 win over Miami Lake-Goleman, a Class 7A school, last week. After losing most its skill players from last year’s 12-1 team, Naples answered doubters with a 21-13 win over Dunbar last week. Golden Gate coach Mike DiGrigoli said his team must correct the 160 penalty yards it suffered last week if it wants a chance to win.
The Naples High at Golden Gate football game, which was washed out on Friday, will be played Monday at 7 p.m. at Titans Stadium, thanks to a concerted effort of three schools’ administrations.
When the initial game was called due to lightning, the possibility of an eventual makeup game became problematic. There were conflicts and quirks in the local prep schedule that had athletic directors, principals, and coaches from Naples, Golden Gate and Barron Collier working feverishly through the weekend to make Monday’s game happen.
“I’m pleased that this is all going to work out,” said AD Ernie Modugno. “I’m appreciative of Barron Collier for its part.
“Hopefully, it won’t rain on Monday.”
South Fort Myers also will try to play Monday, hosting Dunbar in a game also postponed on Friday night due to lightning and thunderstorms. South Fort Myers and Dunbar was considered one of the best games of the week and the two teams were trying to play on Saturday but didn’t have any officials for the game.
The rescheduling of the Naples-Golden Gate game took some negotiating among schools and some schedule juggling for coaches.
Naples has a bye next weekend before opening its Class 6A-District 13 season at Estero on Sept. 20. With the time off, numerous Golden Eagles’ coaches, including head coach Bill Kramer, had made plans to leave the area for the weekend, making a Saturday makeup inconvenient, if not impossible.
Modugno said Kramer had long-made plans to leave on Saturday morning to visit his daughters at Marshall University in West Virginia. The coach, who has won two state championships while in his 16th year at the school, cut that trip short and is expected to be back for Monday’s game.
More knotty was the alteration of next week’s games to be played on Thursday rather than the traditional Friday, because of the Yom Kippur holiday. The Titans were face Barron Collier at Cougars Stadium on Thursday.
That early date made a Monday game with Naples impossible. Titans’ athletic director Pete Seitz said there was no way coach Mike DiGrigoli’s squad would play two games in the span of four days.
To make the Monday game happen, Barron Collier had to be willing to shift its game against Golden Gate to Saturday night. That happened late Saturday night. The Cougars will now host the Titans on Saturday at 7:30 p.m..
“We’re all Collier County schools and we all put the kids first,” said Barron Collier athletic director Mark Rosenbalm. “Whatever we had to do to work together with our fellow schools, we were going to do.”
Both the Titans and the Golden Eagles enter Monday night with 1-0 records.
“We owe a big ‘Thank you’ to Barron Collier and Naples,” Seitz said. “Mark Rosenbalm and (BC principal) Tammy Caraker were very accommodating and gracious in allowing our game to be moved.”