Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prep football: Week 6 matchups

(photo by Paul Videla)

Shane Blair and Lakewood Ranch's massive offensive line may be 2-3, but the Mustangs are 1-0 in Class 6A-District 7, a mark the Mustangs look to improve Friday when they host district foe Tarpon Springs. In fact, all area teams in action Friday play district games, which is a first this season for Braden River, Cardinal Mooney, Manatee and Southeast.

Listed below are this week's games. As always, head to and The Bradenton Herald on Friday for detailed capsules on each game.

Bayshore (2-3, 0-1 5A-1o) at Palmetto (5-0, 1-0)

The skinny: You have to go back to a Week 2 win over Sarasota to find the last time the Tigers have given up a touchdown. Then again, their offense and special teams is humming along, too. Of course, this has trap game written all over it, as Palmetto is off next week before returning for a huge three-game stretch against Wauchula Hardee, Manatee and Southeast. Consequently, coach Dave Marino has been telling his kids all week to focus solely on the Bruins, who are averaging over 128 yards of rushing per week and always play the Tigers tough.

Braden River (1-4, 0-0 7A-10) at Manatee (2-2, 0-0)

The skinny: The Hurricanes made a heck of a statement last week when they beat rival Southeast by 42 points, the widest margin in the series' 30 games. Most importantly, they found a way to use RB Leon Allen: right through the tackles. Manatee has allowed 58 points this season, a number that could be lower had it not been for some special teams snafus against Don Bosco Prep. Braden River won its first game last week, but the Pirates' struggling offense needs to wake up in a hurry for them to be able to compete with Manatee.

Arcadia DeSoto (2-3, 0-1 5A-10) at Southeast (4-1, 0-0)

The skinny: Last week's lopsided loss to Manatee hurt, but the Seminoles can assuage some of that pain by getting the district schedule off to a solid start with a win this week over the Bulldogs. Lost in the final score was the work of RB Courtney Allen, who ran for 180 yards and leads the area in rushing (641). DeSoto, which has given up 101 points, was no match for Palmetto in its district opener two weeks ago.

Tarpon Springs (4-1, 1-0 6A-7) at Lakewood Ranch (2-3, 1-0)

The skinny: The Mustangs moved the ball during the first half last week against Palmetto before the Tigers' defense clamped down and secured its second shutout in a row. They should be able to get to the end zone against Tarpon Springs, which is given up 21 points a week. Then again, Lakewood Ranch better put some up numbers - Tarpon Springs has scored 174 points this season.

Lakeland Christian (3-2, 0-0 3A-6) at Cardinal Mooney (2-3, 0-0)

The skinny: Stopping Lakeland Christian means stopping its running back, T.J. Simmons, who has already racked up 806 yards of rushing. He has seven fumbles, though none since Week 2, so Simmons is prone to put the ball on the turf. This is the lone district home game for the Cougars, who have to travel to Fort Meade and Frostproof later this season.

Saint Stephen's (0-4, 0-3 Class 2A Urban-District 6) at Moore Haven (3-2, 1-2)

The skinny: The Falcons have a hard time against the run this season, which could be a detriment this week: Moore Haven's Markeis Hallback ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns last week against Southwest Florida Christian. Despite the poor record, the Falcons have a do-everything player in senior Adam Vining. Not only is he among the area leaders in receiving (20), but he has rushed for two touchdowns, booted six-extra points, and returned kickoffs.

BYE WEEK: Bradenton Christian, Out-of-Door Academy.

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