|Johnnie Lang (No. 22) and the Manatee Hurricanes will look to repeat as Class 8A-District 7 champions this fall.|
So here is a look at the districts involving Bradenton area teams. Don't get too attached, though - this is the last of each district's two-year cycle before the Florida High School Athletic Association realigns everything later this school year.
DISTRICT: Class 8A-7
OTHERS: Palm Harbor, Sarasota Riverview, St. Petersburg
THE SKINNY: Perhaps you've heard Manatee has a new coach? Former Hurricane John Booth takes over for Joe Kinnan....Manatee hasn't lost a district game since 2008 against Venice. The Indians beat Manatee the next season, but that win was ruled a forfeit in favor of the Hurricanes by the FHSAA...The Rams, who made the playoffs as a runner-up, lost three games, all against playoff teams - Manatee, Venice and Fort Pierce Central in the quarterfinals of the Region 2 tournament...None of the teams had a losing record. The closest was Palm Harbor University, which went 5-5...Manatee's lone home district game is Oct. 17 against St. Petersburg.
DISTRICT: Class 7A-10
LOCALS: Braden River, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto
OTHERS: North Port, Sarasota
THE SKINNY: Despite tallying a losing record (5-6), Palmetto made the playoffs for the fourth straight season, a program record...The Sailors won their last three district games by a combined 57 points to claim the title, though they'll try to repeat with a new coach as Brian Ryals takes over for Ed Volz. Ryals was Sarasota's offensive coordinator the last three seasons; Volz resigned to spend more time with his family...A year after winning just one game, Braden River finished 5-4 in coach Curt Bradley's second season. The Pirates were the lone district team to defeat Sarasota...After a 2-0 start in district play, Lakewood Ranch lost its final two league games to Palmetto and Sarasota, but beat previously undefeated Port Charlotte in its season finale to finish 5-5...North Port (3-6) was the only team in the district to finish the regular season below .500.
DISTRICT: Class 5A-13
LOCALS: Bayshore, Southeast
OTHERS: Arcadia DeSoto, Booker, Wauchula Hardee
THE SKINNY: Another John takes over for a local legend - John Warren was selected as Southeast's new head coach after Paul Maecthle retired. The Seminoles won Maechtle's final game against Palmetto but finished 3-7 and missed the playoffs...Bayshore went 2-8 under new head coach Elijah Freeman and dropped its final two district games after splitting its first two...Despite leading Booker to the second round of the playoffs, coach Johnnie Jones was dismissed and replaced with former defensive coordinator Recharde Goodwyn...Hardee rolled to the district title, allowing 30 points in its four district games, before losing at Plantation American Heritage in the Region 4 championship game...DeSoto went winless in four district games.
DISTRICT: Class 3A-6
LOCALS: Cardinal Mooney, Out-of-Door Academy
OTHER: Fort Myers Bishop Verot
THE SKINNY: The Cougars won the district last season, defeating Verot 35-10 in what wound up being the championship game...Verot made the playoffs as a runner-up...Bedeviled by injuries and transfers, the Thunder won one game.
DISTRICT: Class 2A-5
LOCAL: Bradenton Christian
OTHERS: Largo Indian Rocks Christian, St. Petersburg Canterbury, St. Petersburg Keswick Christian, St. Petersburg Northside Christian, Tampa Cambridge, Tampa Carrollwood.
THE SKINNY: The only team located on this side of the Sunshine Skyway, Bradenton Christian finished at .500 (5-5) but went 2-4 against district teams. The Panthers haven't made the playoffs since they began playing football in 2006...Indian Rocks Christan went 6-0 to win the district en route to the state semifinals...Carrollwood Day (5-1) was the runner-up...Five of the district's seven teams finished at .500 or better overall.