In mid-December, the Sunshine State usually sees temperatures dip a bit, so you can bust out the jackets, hoodies, coats and other assorted cold-weather gear.
Well, this year has kept the heat on a little longer.
It doesn't quite emit the holiday vibe.
Yet the Christmas shopping, cookie baking and gift giving -- no matter the holiday you celebrate -- are still giving Numbers Game a festive feel.
Never miss a local story.
So here are some digits to gnaw on that the following may or may not be thankful for this holiday season.
Minutes the Lakewood Ranch boys soccer team has played without suffering a defeat prior to Monday night's match at Manatee. During that span, the
Mustangs peeled off a 7-0-1 mark. Their last defeat came on Nov. 9, which garnered Ranch a No. 87 ranking for all classifications in Florida, according to MaxPreps. The Mustangs are two-time defending district champions, having reached the state final four in the 2013-14 season before exiting in the first round of the playoffs last season. They've outscored opponents 37-6 during this year's unbeaten streak.
Total points Jake Westberry has scored in his Saint Stephen's basketball career. That ranks the senior sixth all-time in program history. He's also second in Falcons history with 461 rebounds and 107 assists. Westberry is averaging a double-double this season, with 17.2 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game.
Program records Willie Taggart set during his playing days at Western Kentucky. Taggart, a former Manatee High state champion quarterback, was also a head coach at WKU. The Hilltoppers are Taggart's opponent in next Monday's Miami Beach Bowl. Taggart, the University of South Florida's head football coach, faces his alma mater red-hot. The Bulls won seven of their last eight games to reach their first bowl game since 2010. Meanwhile, Taggart has never won a bowl game as a head coach. He led the Hilltoppers to a bowl game in 2012 in his final season as WKU's head coach. Next Monday's showdown will be his first against his alma mater as the Bulls head coach, and USF owns a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series.
Years and counting on Pete Rose's lifetime ban from baseball. The Hit King's ban, which began in 1989, for betting on baseball was upheld by Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred. That means Rose's inclusion from the Hall of Fame for his playing career will continue. The former Cincinnati Reds great, who also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, compiled an all-time MLB best of 4,256 hits during a 24-year career.
Average points per game for Southeast's Corey Davis prior to pouring in a game-high 29 in Saturday's 75-64 boys basketball victory over Palmetto. Among the 29 points, 12 came in the final quarter as Davis combined with Tre Alexandrea to net 49 of the Seminoles' 75 points. Southeast improved to 6-3 with the non-district victory, and returns to the hardwood Wednesday against county rival Braden River.
IMG Academy's national ranking in the latest USA Today Super 25 poll. The Ascenders jumped one spot, but can't leap the top two teams as their season is officially over following the announcement late last week that they won't participate in a bowl game this Friday on ESPNU. IMG was set to play No. 2-ranked Colquitt (Moultrie, Ga.) County in a game pitting the top two eligible teams in the nation against each other, but sponsorship fell through. It's the highest season-ending national ranking the Ascenders have achieved in their three-year program. Both Colquitt and No. 1-ranked Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) completed their seasons with state championships.
Margin of victory that denied yours truly a chance at a playoff berth in the Herald's newsroom fantasy football league. There was a playoff berth in a separate league, but grinding against media friends is all about the pride and bragging rights. Well, it's just the second time since 2011 that yours truly didn't qualify for postseason fantasy football against his Herald brethren (discounting the inaugural rookie campaign to get a feel for the league's rules and setup). In that 2011 run, yours truly captured the championship followed by missing the playoffs in 2012, reaching the title game last year and having the best regular season record the last two years.
Well, that streak came to an abrupt end on Sunday as a former colleague held on for a one-point victory in his matchup. I needed him to lose (and one other loss), while winning my game. I did my part, but watched the LeGarrette Blount injury, which forced the New England running back to leave in the second quarter Sunday, quell any playoff hopes for myself.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill and like his Facebook page at Jason Dill Bradenton Herald.