Palm Harbor University(4-4, 0-2 Class 8A-District 7)at Manatee (9-0, 2-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
On the air: 930-AM WLSS, 7 p.m.
The scoop: Also nicknamed the Hurricanes, Palm Harbor University has been eliminated from postseason contention but still can record its fourth straight winning season. ... QB Tyler Kaminski is a dual-threat who has thrown for 1,128 yards and rushed for a team-high 579 yards and 10 TDs. ... Dominick Bonelli leads the team in catches (28), receiving yards (491) and receiving TDs (seven). ... Ryan Fodor has a team-best three sacks. ... District champion Manatee is ranked 12th by Rivals, 16th by MaxPreps and 20th by USA Today. The Canes are the top-ranked team in Class 8A and have been all season. ... Manatee has three of the area's top 10 rushing leaders: Trevon Walters (1,185 yards), Jonnie Lang (707) and Josh Meyer (597). ... SS Antonio Henderson, who had a big fumble recovery last week against Fort Lauderdale University, leads Manatee with 15 tackles for loss. ... Manatee is looking to go 10-0 for the third time in four years. The Canes are off next week before hosting a Region 2 quarterfinal on Nov. 15.
Prediction: Manatee 42, Palm Harbor University 7.
Booker (4-3, 2-1 Class 5A-District 13) at Southeast (2-6, 2-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: The math is simple. The winner of this game advances to the playoffs as district runner-up. But things are not so simple for a Southeast squad that has not lived up to the standards set by the previous teams in this once-storied football program. The Seminoles are ranked last in the area in run defense and have struggled offensively, which is why they have lost six of eight and are fortunate to be in a position to reach the playoffs. ... Hardee carved up the Southeast defense last week, rushing for 322 yards with a no-frills offense that just ran the ball down the Seminoles' throats for the most part. ... The Wildcats also bottled up standout running back Courtney Allen, holding him to 79 yards rushing. The senior needs 127 yards to move past Bayshore's John Garvin (3,709) and into second place in the Manatee County public-school career rushing list. But more importantly, Allen needs to enable Southeast to run some time off the clock and keep the Noles' struggling defense off the field. ... Southeast will have to stop Marlon Mack, who has rushed for 977 yards and is averaging 9.2 yards per carry. He figures to become the next running back to torch the Noles defense. If Southeast can't show improvement in stopping the run, it can expect another loss.
Prediction: Booker 24, Southeast 17.
Braden River(4-3, 1-2 Class 7A-District 10)at Palmetto (4-4, 2-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: A year after winning just one game, the Pirates can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Lakewood Ranch victory over Sarasota. They can also land in a three-way tiebreaker, but they are eliminated with a loss. ... QB Dusty Peebles leads public-school passers in yards (1,104) and has been intercepted just three times in 120 attempts. ... WR Andrew Mays is second in the area in catches (29) and is averaging 15.6 yards per catch with six TDs. ... A win assures the Pirates of their first non-losing season since 2009. ... Braden River defeated Palmetto in the first round of 2008 Class 3A playoffs but has never beaten the Tigers in the regular season ... Palmetto locks up its fourth straight postseason appearance with a win and is district champ if that win is coupled with a Sarasota loss. A loss lands the Tigers in a three-way tiebreaker or eliminates them. ... RB Josh Hicks is second among public-school backs in yards (1,073) and has scored 18 TDs. .... QB Jack Allison has thrown for 959 yards, second among public-school QBs. ... The Tigers have made the playoffs all three years under head coach Dave Marino.
Prediction: Palmetto 28, Braden River 14.
Lakewood Ranch(4-4, 2-1 Class 7A-District 10)at Sarasota (4-4, 2-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: Lakewood Ranch can guarantee itself a playoff berth, either as the district champ or district runner-up, with a victory. ... Sarasota has won two straight, including an upset over Palmetto, since head coach Ed Volz announced he was quitting at the end of the season. ... The Mustangs, who once controlled their own destiny, have dropped two straight. They were banged up against Riverview last week and held out some people in the non-district game. Everybody who can play must play against Sarasota. ... Quarterback Chad Rex, who has struggled in the Mustangs' two-game losing streak, needs to get back on his game. He is the catalyst of the offense and should get a boost if leading rusher Justin Fischer returns. Rex has thrown for 892 yards and 8 TDs and is the area's top scoring quarterback with 74 points via 12 TDs. ... The Mustangs' defense also has struggled the past two weeks, particularly in stopping the run. Lakewood Ranch allowed 229 yards rushing against Riverview last week. The Mustangs will have to stop Sarasota's dangerous trio of quarterback Caulin McNeal (1,288 passing yards, 10 TDs), running back Justin Austin (946 rushing yards) and receiver Shawn Bane (678 receiving yards). ... This is a do-or-die game for the Mustangs, but Sarasota is the area's hottest team not named Manatee.
Prediction: Sarasota 38, Lakewood Ranch 24.
Bradenton Christian(4-5, 1-4 Class 2A-District 5)at St. Pete Keswick Chr. (0-8, 0-5)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The scoop: After a five-game losing streak and a bevy of injuries this fall, Bradenton Christian finally had something to cheer about in October after last week's 49-14 victory over Fort Myers Canterbury. ... QB Joey Giardina was the star, tallying 200 rushing yards on 11 carries and adding 135 passing yards. ... It was part of a strong second-half surge for the Panthers, who held a 21-14 halftime lead before exploding on offense. ... St. Petersburg Keswick Christian is the final game on the Panthers schedule, and the club should come out victorious. The Crusaders are winless, and average just more than 11 points per game. ... The club is riddled with offensive woes' it has 18 turnovers (12 INTs, six fumbles).
Prediction: BCS 35, Keswick Christian 10.
Saint Stephen's (4-4)at Fort Myers Gateway Charter (3-5)
Time: 7 p.m.
The scoop: Each team is 2-1 in the Gulf Atlantic Football conference, which is not afflilated with the FHSAA state playoff series, and will clinch a berth in the conference's championship playoffs with a win. Each team is assured of an additional game next week, however. ... The Falcons have won three straight and are led by RB Luc Goeders, sixth in the area in rushing (750 yards). ... Bradley Beazant and Jeremy Jackman have combined for 14 of the Falcons' 27 sacks. ... The Falcons are looking for a five-win season for the first time since 2008. ... Nick Dunkelly leads the Griffins in rushing (666) and rushing TDs (six). ... Kevin Legagneur has 14 sacks, and Kei'Chard Green has 91 tackles.
Prediction: Fort Myers Gateway Charter 28, Saint Stephen's 24.
Lakeland Victory Christian (5-3)at Out-of-Door Academy (1-7)
Time: 7 p.m.
The scoop: Pass-happy Lakeland Victory Christian travels to ODA for a non-district showdown, a week after facing another member of the Thunder's district, Cardinal Mooney. ... The Storm fell to the Cougars 43-33, also on the road. ... Victory Christian QB Caleb Lewis has thrown for 1,901 yards and 21 TDs against nine INTs. Three of those picks came against Cardinal Mooney. ... The youthful Thunder keep progressing toward the finish line. ... ODA has dealt with transfers to other programs in the past couple years that are hurting this season's product, namely losing a couple linemen, including Manatee's Brooks Larkin and Lakewood Ranch's RB J.T. Fischer. ... Aiding the Thunder's offensive woes is that ODA doesn't have a true QB this fall. ... The Thunder have suffered with an area-worst 32.5 YPG in the air and have been shut out in six straight games since losing Jimmy Kuebler as the signal-caller. He quit the team to focus on baseball.
Prediction: Lakeland Victory Christian 28, ODA 0.
Cardinal Mooney(6-1, 1-0 Class 3A-District 6)at Fort Myers Bishop Verot (5-2, 1-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
On the air: 1220-AM, 106.9-FM WSRQ
The scoop: Both teams are in the playoffs, but a district title is up for grabs between traditional rivals. ... The Cougars and Vikings have played three common opponents, and Cardinal Mooney has recorded a more convincing victory in each game. The Cougars beat LaBelle 47-7, Lake Placid 44-7 and district foe Out-of-Door Academy 62-0; Bishop Verot defeated LaBelle 21-20, Lake Placid 45-34 and ODA 56-0. ... The Vikings have several weapons on offense. QB Quinn Farrell is coming off his best game of the season last week against Lake Placid. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown. RB Jimmy Dwyer leads Bishop Verot on the ground with 580 yards on 87 carries, but two other runners have gained more than 350 yards this season, and the Vikings average 7.2 yards per carry. C.J. Spiro is the leading receiver with 19 catches for 479 yards and five scores. ... The Cougars are coming off a hard-fought, come-from-behind 43-33 victory over Lakeland Victory Christian Academy. ... QB Reese Vita tossed a career-high four touchdown passes, and RB Demardre Patterson rushed for 284 yards and a pair of scores. ... Alex Sobczak made two second-half interceptions for the Cougars.
Prediction: Cardinal Mooney 34, Bishop Verot 26.