Blowouts in Sunday’s NFL conference title games weren’t the most pleasant numbers to mull over, but one of those games paved the way for Manatee County to gain a Super Bowl championship. Two players secured passage to the Super Bowl with the Atlanta Falcons, which means this week’s Numbers Game will start with a key date about the Big Game.
But we’ll also dabble in some high school numbers, too.
So without any further delay, here’s this week’s Numbers Game:
The last year a Manatee County player was on the Super Bowl winning team’s roster. Rod Harper, who played at Southeast High, was a member of the New Orleans Saints for the 2009-10 season. Behind quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints rallied a city still recovering from Hurricane Katrina’s effects a few years before to defeat the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
This year’s Super Bowl features two locals gunning for a ring with Southeast High alum Brian Poole and Braden River High alum Sharrod Neasman, who are both with the Atlanta Falcons.
While Harper is the last to win a ring, there was a seven-year stretch from 2005-11 that saw six players from the 941 area code play in the Big Game. The last three claimed championships with Harper preceding Sarasota Booker alum Sam Shields (Green Bay, 2011) and Sarasota Riverview alum David Baas (New York, 2012).
Quarterback rating for Manatee High’s A.J. Colagiovanni, who was named to the Associated Press All-State First Team for Class 8A on Monday. Colagiovanni tossed 31 touchdowns against eight interceptions and more than 2,500 yards in his senior season to lead the Hurricanes to a playoff appearance. Colagiovanni’s teammate, wide receiver Tarique Milton, was a third team selection.
Sacks for Southeast High’s Dequan Williams, which led the county, last fall en route to earning him AP All-State First Team honors for Class 5A late last week. Williams, a senior, also tallied 32 tackles for a loss, 25 quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles and broke up three passes for one of the area’s top defenses.
Weeks until the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first spring workout in 2017 at Pirate City. Three also signifies two other numbers concerning Pittsburgh: place in the National League Central Division last season, and consecutive playoff appearances that were snapped with the 2016 finish. The Pirates had a .484 winning percentage in 2016, which was the lowest since manager Clint Hurdle’s first season in Pittsburgh took place in 2011.
Girls soccer teams from Manatee County that won a state playoff game last season. All four county teams, plus Out-of-Door Academy, fell in the first round of the state playoffs in 2016. It was the first time since 2004 that no area team won its regional quarterfinal game. That season saw Lakewood Ranch, Manatee, St. Stephen’s and Southeast all drop first-round playoff games.
Three area teams: Lakewood Ranch, Out-of-Door Academy and Saint Stephen’s qualified for the regional portion of the state playoffs as district champs or district runners-up. The Mustangs and Thunder won their districts to earn home games, while the Falcons lost to ODA to begin the playoffs on the road this Thursday.