Monday, October 24, 2011

Prep football: The playoff fates of the Manatee County area teams

(photo by Paul Videla)

Trent Miller and the Palmetto Tigers are staring opportunity right in the face.

Thanks to their thrilling 16-13 win over Wauchula Hardee on Friday, the Tigers are 7-0 and 3-0 in Class 5A-District 10, and on the cusp of a playoff berth and possibly a district championship.

Listed below is how the districts look following Friday's games.

CLASS 7A-DISTRICT 10: Manatee took care of business with a convincing 33-point win over Venice, but it was Braden River that really made the Canes' night. The Pirates' win over Sarasota, coupled with Manatee's win over the Indians, gave Manatee its second straight district title. It also keeps the Pirates in the playoff chase: Despite a 2-6 record and an onslaught of injuries, they host Venice on Nov. 4 for the district's final postseason berth.

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 7: Lakewood Ranch recovered from a 14-point hole and rallied to beat St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins, giving the Mustangs a 3-0 district mark. That means Friday's game in Largo (3-0) will decide the district title. While the Mustangs would love to win the district for the first time under coach Shawn Trent, a playoff berth can be had as long as they win one of their last two district games.

CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 10: Palmetto is playing Manatee on Friday, but the Tigers should really be rooting for Southeast, which will be in Wauchula playing a huge district game with Hardee. A Seminoles' win clinches playoff berths for Southeast and Palmetto and turns their district finale Nov. 4 at John Kiker Memorial Stadium into the district championship game. A Hardee win means the Noles will have to beat Palmetto to forge a three-way tie, especially since Hardee meets struggling Arcadia DeSoto in its district finale Nov. 4.

CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 6: Despite a disappointing loss in Frostproof, Cardinal Mooney still controls its destiny. The Cougars (1-1 in district) are off this week, but head to Fort Meade (2-0) on Nov. 4 and can still win the district if they beat the Miners and Lakeland Christian (0-2) knocks off Frostproof (1-1). A Mooney win combined with a Frostproof win puts three teams at 2-1 and forces a three-way tiebreaker with Mooney, Fort Meade and Frostproof playing for the district title and second playoff berth. If the Cougars lose, they need Lakeland Christian to beat Frostproof to set up a three-way tie for the district's last playoff spot.

CLASS 2A URBAN-DISTRICT 6: Out-of-Door Academy isn't out of the race, but the Thunder need some help. They are 3-2 and in third place in the eight-team district, a game behind St. John Neumann (4-1). But Neumann defeated ODA earlier this seas season, meaning the Thunder need to win two and Neumann needs to lose two for the Thunder to get in. Evangelical Christian (6-0) has already locked up one playoff spot.

CLASS 2A URBAN-DISTRICT 5: Already saddled with four district losses, Bradenton Christian is playing for pride as the season winds down.

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