Manatee's difficult schedule has not gone unnoticed by MaxPreps, which ranked the Canes' fifth in its list of the top 10 most difficult schedules for 2011.
MaxPreps considered Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.), Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) and Weston Cypress Bay as Manatee's most difficult opponents this year, and with good reason. Good Counsel and Don Bosco are national powerhouses, with Don Bosco ranked first in the nation by USA Today, ESPN and MaxPreps.
Cypress Bay reached the Class 6A state semifinals last year and is now in Class 8A.
Not mentioned was Manatee's list of tough local opponents, which includes Palmetto, Riverview and Southeast. And the Hurricanes also compete in Class 7A-District 10 with Venice, a postseason qualifier the last four years.
Manatee, which defeated Delray Beach American Heritage on Wednesday in a Kickoff Classic, opens the regular season Friday at Good Counsel, which is located in Olney, Md.