With the approaching end of summer, the treasured traditions of fall emerge, and few local ones can match the passion for high school football throughout Southwest Florida. Most area schools competed in preseason kickoff classics last week, but the 2013 season officially commences with a full slate of contests on Friday, August 30.
Ten weekly games follow over the next three months, as the action will undoubtedly electrify students, alumni, and hometown fans. Though these match-ups will be decided on the field, high school football typically morphs into a larger event, bringing communities together to support a common cause.
Serving as the perfect time to re-unite with old friends, high school games are also an ideal setting to make new ones. As old memories come to life visiting a familiar setting, so too does each joyous victory, or stinging defeat, create fresh visions not soon forgotten.
Nestled between the larger Lee County to the south and Sarasota County to the north, Charlotte County continues to develop a reputation for competitive football under those Friday night lights.
While the Charlotte Fightin’ Tarpons possess a lengthy track-record, filled with numerous accomplishments, the Port Charlotte Pirates and Lemon Bay Manta Rays have progressed rapidly in recent times.
All three posted winning records last year and a three-way tie-breaker was needed to award playoff spots. While Charlotte again emerged as district champions, Port Charlotte celebrated defeating their rival for only the third time in 31 years with a dramatic late-season victory at home.
This year’s “Battle for the Peace River” is eagerly anticipated. The November 1 game highlights the schedule of both schools, who remain competitors in a newly-created Class 7A district, while Lemon Bay moved down to 6A.
The excitement of football in Charlotte County will be delivered to radio listeners in 2013. Heard on the local dial at 1580 AM, News Radio WCCF will broadcast 11 games, beginning with the call of Port Charlotte vs. Lemon Bay on August 30 at 7:15 p.m..
Featuring play-by-play and analysis, as well as coaches interviews and lively sounds of the marching bands, the radio schedule will showcase the Tarpons and Pirates equally. Noted opponents include Riverdale, Fort Myers, and Venice and broadcasts additionally can be heard at wccfam.com or through the iHeartRadio app for mobile devices.
While Port Charlotte and Lemon Bay will get things started at the “Pirates Cove,” Charlotte commences their own campaign by visiting nearby North Port High School. The Fighting Tarpons’ home opener comes a week later, when Barron Collier will travel to the Wallace Keller Sports Complex on September 6.
Be sure to view the above slideshow list for a closer look at the sights of high school football in Charlotte County.
Enjoy this article? Receive e-mail alerts when new Fort Myers Outdoor Recreation articles are available. Just follow the “Subscribe” link.
Port Charlotte opens 2013 season at home against Lemon Bay
The Port Charlotte Pirates kick off the 2013 varsity football season at home on Friday, August 30, with a contest against the intra-county rival Lemon Bay Manta Rays. Affectionately known as “The Pirates Cove,” this picturesque field comes alive with passionate spectators on football Fridays throughout the fall.
Charlotte Tarpons seek another district title
The 2012 season saw the Charlotte Fighting Tarpons claim their district championship by triumphing in a thrilling 3-way playoff tie-breaking game. In the off-season creation of a new district, Charlotte is still paired with rival Port Charlotte, but is now joined by Lee County powerhouses, Fort Myers and Riverdale.
Charlotte County high school football back on News Radio WCCF
News Radio 1580 WCCF is the home of high school football excitement on Friday nights in Charlotte County, Florida. 11 weekly games spotlighting both Charlotte High School and Port Charlotte High School will be broadcasted by Kix Country personality Larry T and writer Jeff Briscoe.
Pirates led by second-year head coach Jordan Ingman
Coming off an strong 7-3 campaign in 2012, Port Charlotte is led by second-year coach Jordan Ingman. The 24 year-old was a surprising hire, but his dedication to his players and successful ability to implement a new offense has made a strong impression in guiding a growing program.
Charlotte High one of top homes for football in Southwest Florida
Located in Punta Gorda, just south of the scenic banks of the Peace River, Charlotte High boasts a proud tradition of football in Southwest Florida. The Fighting Tarpons are coached by veteran leader Binky Waldrop and have recently used powerful rushers, including Mike Bellamy and Clyde Newton, to take the program to lofty heights.
Football in Charlotte County at historically strong level
The 2012 season witnessed all three Charlotte County-based high schools post winning records in varsity high school football play. While the Charlotte Tarpons have long enjoyed status as a potent program, the Port Charlotte Pirates and Lemon Bay Manta Rays have made significant strides to create true competition in crowning a county champion.
Battle for the Peace River always a highlight of football season
The Port Charlotte Pirates defeated the rival Charlotte Tarpons for just the third time in 31 years in November 2012. The victory energized a school that was already enjoying a successful season, despite missing the state playoffs in a tie-breaker. Charlotte High hosts the annual match-up in 2013 and will undoubtedly seek revenge at the Wallace Keller Sports Complex.
Charlotte opens 2013 season at rival North Port High School
Area residents have enjoyed watching new rivalries bloom with neighboring North Port High School. The school was only established a decade ago, but actively seeks to grow its program by taking on established competition. The Charlotte Tarpons kick off the 2013 season by traveling to Sarasota County to face the Bobcats.