MANATEE COUNTY – Manatee is poised to cap off a perfect season against Lakewood Ranch, while Palmetto looks to rebound from two straight losses before heading into the playoffs in search of a second state title. Southeast has already wrapped up their regular season and gets a week off before the post-season begins next Friday night. Braden River has their best shot at putting one in the win column this year, as they host a 1-8 Palmetto Ridge team.
The Manatee Hurricanes look to finish an undefeated regular season tonight as they host the Mustangs, in what should be an easy win. But Lakewood Ranch ended their 2011 season with a near upset of Armwood, a national powerhouse out of Seffner, FL, that was ranked No. 2 in the USA at the time. The Mustangs missed the playoffs this season, so a historic win, by way of spoiling Manatee's national championship hopes is all that's left to play for.
Palmetto was unable to bounce back from their 62-0 loss to Manatee, losing the district title to Southeast at home last Friday. But they get a chance to rebuild momentum against Trinity Catholic, who is also 7-2 and headed to the playoffs. Though the game will not have an impact on the post-season, Coach Marino certainly doesn't want his squad riding a 3-game losing streak into their first-round playoff game with Auburndale next week.
High School Football
Friday: 7:30 p.m.
Lakewood Ranch @ Manatee
Palmetto @ Trinity Catholic
Bayshore @ Sarasota
Palmetto Ridge @ Braden River
Manatee's fearsome front four (from left): Demarcus Christmas, Derrick Calloway, Marquis Dawsey and Blake Keller
Photo by Dennis Maley