CLASS 7A-REGION 3 SEMIFINAL
Venice (8-3) at Manatee (11-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
On the air: 930-AM, WLSS
The scoop: The Indians have made the playoffs every season under coach John Peacock, who took over in 2007, but haven't advanced past the second round in that span and have been eliminated by Manatee the past two seasons. ... Venice is a run-first team thanks to QB Kale Youtzy (1,464 yards) and RB Terry Polk (1,740 yards), who teamed for 305 yards on 31 carries during last week's win over Largo Pinellas Park. Youtzy rushed for 158 yards against the Hurricanes during the regular season. ... All of Venice's losses this season have come against playoff teams -- Charlotte, Manatee and Naples -- and three of their last five defeats have been at the hands of the Hurricanes. ... Ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN, MaxPreps and USA Today, Manatee is rolling into the semifinals with a 24-game winning streak following last week's 65-12 win over St. Petersburg Northeast and hasn't lost a playoff game at home since 2005. ... The Hurricanes are looking to reach a Region 3 championship game for the fourth straight year and sixth time since Joe Kinnan returned to the sideline in '05. ... Manatee has won five straight against Venice since 2010. ... Quarterback Cord Sandberg completed all 11 attempts last week and has a completion percentage of more than 75 this season while throwing 27 TDs and 1 INT in 185 attempts. ... Sandberg accounted for five TDs and completed 13 of 14 attempts during Manatee's regular-season win against Venice, a performance that led to Peacock calling him "the best football player I've ever faced as a coach." ... Sandberg's top targets are Marquel Hines (30 catches), Trevon Walters (28) and Brodrick Yancy (25). Walters also has rushed for 945 yards and scored 17 TDs. ... The winner of Friday's game faces Stuart Martin County or Fort Pierce Central next week for the Region 3 title and a trip to the final four. Fort Pierce Central is home with a win, while the Hurricanes host if they win and Stuart Martin County wins. Venice is on the road regardless.
Coach: John Peacock, 6th season at Venice, 43-25.
District: District 10 runner-up.
Players to watch: Youtzy, sr., QB; Polk, jr., RB; Quaheem Kapinsky, sr., DB/WR.
Coach: Joe Kinnan, 28th season at Manatee, 277-70.
District: District 10 champion
Players to watch: Sandberg, sr., QB, Walters, jr., RB; Hines, jr., WR, Blake Keller, sr., DL; Marquis Dawsey, sr., DL; Derrick Calloway, sr., DL; Demarcus Christmas, jr., DL; Willie Smith, sr., DB.
Prediction: Manatee 56, Venice 28.