It’s a new year, yet some familiar faces continue to spotlight Numbers Game, which returns after a brief holiday hiatus.
We’re breaking down the winter sports digits while taking a look at the NFL playoffs. Why? Because Manatee County is represented there, and we’ll check in with who from the area is still around to chase a Super Bowl ring.
We’ll also dig into the end of 2016, where holiday basketball tournaments took center stage.
So sit back, relax and get your taste buds ready for another delicious group of figures to munch on in this week’s Numbers Game.
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Here we go:
National ranking, according to MaxPreps, for Palmetto High’s boys soccer team. The Tigers are No. 3 in Florida and No. 1 in their class and made a statement with a 4-1 victory over state-ranked Lakewood Ranch last Friday.
Palmetto hasn’t lost since Nov. 10 and the Tigers are enjoying a resurgence a year removed from back-to-back losses in the district finals and regional quarterfinals. Palmetto was the first county public school to make the state final four, and booked its third trip in 2013. Since then, the Tigers exited in the second round in 2014 and reached the regional final in 2015.
With a 14-1-1 record this season, the sky’s the limit for these Tigers.
Goals per district match allowed by Lakewood Ranch’s girls soccer team this season. The Mustangs dominated Class 5A-8 in the regular season, winning all eight matches by outscoring opponents 26-1. The defense has yielded only 12 goals all season.
It’s added up to a 13-win campaign so far. Head coach Guy Virgilio is aiming for his 300th career win this season, but was forced to wait following Friday’s canceled match at Venice. The two sides played about 30 minutes before lightning and a heavy rain storm washed out any hope of a full game.
Virgilio’s next attempt was scheduled for Tuesday, but that game was also canceled as Cardinal Mooney doesn’t have enough healthy players available. So Virgilio’s bid for No. 300 comes on senior night this Friday against visiting Palmetto.
Players from Manatee County that can win this year’s Super Bowl following the NFL’s wild-card weekend. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s bid ended when the Green Bay Packers eliminated the New York Giants on Sunday.
Atlanta boasts two players from the county in Brian Poole and Sharrod Neasman. Poole was a star at Southeast High and the University of Florida, and he’s produced a solid rookie season for the Falcons as a nickelback. Poole’s played all 16 games this season, starting the final three weeks, and tallied his first career interception in Week 17 against Carolina. He added three pass breakups the following week.
Meanwhile, Neasman earned his way onto the 53-man roster from the practice squad in October. Then he received his first playing time the last three weeks of the regular season. Both will look to stay in the hunt for the Vince Lombardi Trophy when Atlanta hosts Seattle this weekend.
Consecutive Smoothie King Classic championships for Bayshore High’s girls basketball team after losing in the final in 2012. The most recent title came at the tournament host’s expense. Bayshore’s 50-45 victory over Bradenton Christian closed out 2016, with Jasmine Youngthunder scoring 23 points for tournament most valuable player honors.