Three Manatee County teams punched their playoff tickets Friday, but all three will go on the road for the first round of the postseason. Manatee outlasted Newsome, 63-41, in Lithia to finish second in Class 8A-District 6, Braden River blew out Sarasota, 42-7, to claim the runner-up spot in Class 7A-District 11 and Southeast won a de facto playoff game with Sarasota Booker, 28-21, to claim the second playoff spot in Class 5A-District 11.
Cardinal Mooney, which had already clinched a playoff spot in Class 3A-District 5, fell to Clearwater Central Catholic, 41-28, to settle for the runner-up spot. Palmetto, the only other team with a chance to fight its way into the postseason Friday, fell to Venice, 28-3, officially dashing its playoff hopes for a second straight season.
The Hurricanes will begin their postseason Nov. 11 with a trip to Orlando to face Dr. Phillips, who eliminated the Canes in the region semifinal last year. The Pirates begin their quest for a second straight region championship in Naples against Gulf Coast — a rematch of last year’s region quarterfinal. The Seminoles won’t know their first round opponent until Monday, when Immokalee, Naples Lely and Fort Myers Dunbar play a three-way tiebreaker. The Cougars will be on the road to face Melbourne Central Catholic.