Manatee (1-1) at Venice (1-0)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: 930 AM/ 103.1 FM
Online: manateefootball.com and veniceindianfootball.org
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The scoop: Manatee rebounded with a standout defensive effort in a 7-3 victory over Palmetto after getting drenched 78-56 by Hewitt-Trussville (Ala). Playing on only three days, rest the defense will be severely tested against Venice, which returns 19 starters from its 10-2 regional semifinalist team. The offense is led by junior quarterback Bryce Carpenter, who last year threw for more than 1,500 yards and rushed for 700-plus while accounting for 31 touchdowns. He has two big targets: 6-foot-5 Aaron Hackett and 6-3 Javon Heiligh. The offense is well supported by a defensive front seven led by Finn Laskowski. Venice defeated Georgia Class 7A power Camden County 46-17 in its season opener and was rained out last week. The question for Manatee is how well can its defense play on a short rest, particularly against a team that has a good passing game like Hewitt-Trussville. Canes’ quarterback A.J. Colagiovanni hopes to get the air game back on track. Garrett Ware was the key to the defense against Palmetto leading a strong linebacking corps that will need a repeat performance.
Prediction: Venice 24, Manatee 17