Prep football | Breaking down the playoff scenarios for district finales

Southeast, Palmetto, Braden River, Lakewood Ranch will learn fate Friday

jlembo@bradenton.comNovember 1, 2013 

Staff Photographer

Palmetto's Dearius Washington runs the ball as the Mustangs host the Palmetto High School Tigers Friday night in Lakewood Ranch. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

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The prep football season ends next week.

But for all intents and purposes, it ends Friday night.

This is the final week of district play, and there are several huge games on tap, with Braden River, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto and Southeast clamoring for a chance to make the playoffs.

Not everyone is in win-or-go-home mode, however.

Manatee already has clinched the Class 8A-District 7 title and will host a playoff game Nov. 15, though the Hurricanes have something tanglible to play for: They will clinch their third perfect regular season in the last four years with a win over Palm Harbor University.

Manatee will host the runner-up out of District 8. Fort Pierce Central, Treasure Coast and Vero Beach are in the hunt for that district's two playoff spots.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Mooney is a postseason qualifier in Class 3A and will play for the District 6 championship at Fort Myers Bishop Verot.

Bayshore (on a bye), Bradenton Christian and Out-of-Door Academy have been eliminated from postseason play. Saint Stephen's, an independent, will try to earn a spot in the Gulf Atlantic Conference semifinals tonight against Fort Myers Gateway Charter.

IMG Academy is an independent, as well, and not

eligible for the state playoff series.

So here is a breakdown of the local districts in which playoff berths or championships are still up for grabs, with district records in parentheses.

The playoffs begin Nov. 15.

Class 7A-District 10

THE GAMES: Braden River (1-2) at Palmetto (2-1); Lakewood Ranch (2-1) at Sarasota (2-1).

THE POSSIBILITIES: Plenty, as you will see below.

The champion hosts the runner-up out of District 11, either Largo Pinellas Park or Clearwater Countryside, and the runner-up heads to Tarpon Springs to face East Lake.

Each team's postseason fate:

BRADEN RIVER: clinches a playoff berth with a win if Lakewood Ranch wins, clinches a spot in a three-way tiebreaker with a win if Sarasota wins; eliminated with a loss.

QUOTABLE: "We have a chance to go to the playoffs, and I don't know what more you can ask for at this point in the season; a lot of teams have nothing to play for. If we win, we are in something." -- Braden River coach Curt Bradley

LAKEWOOD RANCH: clinches the district title with a win if Palmetto loses; clinches a playoff berth with a win; clinches a spot in a three-way tiebreaker with a loss if Braden River wins; eliminated with a loss if Palmetto wins.

QUOTABLE: "We just want to get into the playoffs, and if we beat Sarasota we are in." -- Lakewood Ranch head coach Shawn Trent

PALMETTO: clinches the district title with a win if Sarasota loses; clinches a playoff berth with a win; clinches a spot in a three-way tiebreaker with a loss if Lakewood Ranch loses; eliminated with a loss if Lakewood Ranch wins.

QUOTABLE: "They know where they're at. They know they need to be up and come out and play hungry and play hard for 48 minutes to keep this thing going." -- Palmetto coach Dave Marino.

SARASOTA: clinches the district title with a win; eliminated with a loss.

Class 5A-District 13

THE GAMES: Booker (2-1) at Southeast (2-1); Arcadia DeSoto (0-3) at Wauchula Hardee (3-0).

THE POSSIBILITY: With Hardee having already clinched the title, the game that counts will be played inside John Kiker Memorial Stadium, where the Seminoles host the Tornadoes.

The winner claims the district's runner-up spot and opens the playoffs at Cape Coral Island Coast, the District 14 champion.

So tonight's winner will have to travel, but traveling will feel much better than packing up the equipment until spring.

QUOTABLE: "The only thing I am concerned about is Marlon Mack," said Southeast head coach Paul Maechtle of the Booker running back who is averaging 9.2 yards per carry and likely is salivating about the possibility of facing a Seminoles defense that surrenders 322 yards on the ground last week.

Class 3A-District 6

THE GAME: Cardinal Mooney (1-0) at Fort Myers Bishop Verot (1-0).

THE POSSIBILITY: The Cougars and Vikings are each assured a playoff berth.

The question now is who wins the district crown and the first-round playoff game that comes with it.

The loser heads to Clearwater to open the playoffs at Central Catholic, the District 5 champion.

The winner probably hosts St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut, who locks up the runner-up spot Friday night with a win.

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