Southeast High School’s second-half comeback was one for the ages, while Braden River and Manatee won comfortably to join the playoff party. Alongside Cardinal Mooney, which previously clinched a playoff berth, the area will see four postseason football teams for a third straight season.
The old Manatee-Southeast rivalry game is on the agenda this week as Numbers Games gets you amped for next week’s playoffs and some key digits to gnaw on for this week’s slate.
Game time, in minutes and seconds, Southeast trailed in last Friday’s Class 5A-District 11 finale with Sarasota Booker. Playing for their postseason fate, the Seminoles fell behind late in the first half, tied the game in the fourth quarter and took their first lead with 4:46 remaining. That clinched Southeast’s 28th playoff berth, which is two behind rival Manatee for the county lead. Quarterback Alex Taylor was 10 of 17 during the second-half comeback: The Noles trailed by as many as 15 points. Taylor finished with 223 passing yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion pass to running back Qion Burch, who tallied 37 of his 41 rushing yards in the second half.
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Manatee’s average margin of victory in the Canes’ current 31-game winning streak over county foes. The last county program to defeat Manatee was Southeast, which is this week’s opponent. The Noles beat the Canes, 28-21, in August of 2006. Since then, Manatee has crushed county foes, averaging 37.35 points per game. The closest anyone has come was last year’s Palmetto squad, which fell 36-35 on a last-second field goal. Other close calls: 16-14 over Southeast in 2008, 30-26 over Southeast in 2009, 14-7 over Braden River in 2009, 31-24 over Southeast in 2010, 29-26 over Palmetto in 2011 and 7-3 over Palmetto this year. The Seminoles and Hurricanes meet for the 35th time this week, with Manatee holding a 20-14 edge in the all-time series.
Combined winning percentage of the three teams to defeat Palmetto this season. The Tigers have struggled since the Class 5A state semifinal loss to the Duke Johnson-led Miami Norland Vikings in 2011, but Palmetto has also suffered some of those setbacks to top-tier teams. The latest loss, which cost Palmetto a playoff berth for a second straight season, came against undefeated Venice. Braden River, which has one loss, and perennial power Manatee, which has three losses, round out teams to defeat Palmetto in 2016.
Rushing yards per game for Saint Stephen’s offense through nine games. The Falcons cruised to a first-round Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoff victory, 49-11, over Spring Hill Bishop McLaughlin last Friday. Chase Brown is closing in a 1,000 yard season after joining the Falcons’ backfield a couple games into the season. He has 948 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns on 79 attempts.
Number of players earning Sunshine State Athletic Conference accolades this season. Saint Stephen’s led the way with Josh Stevens (offensive lineman, first-team offense), Alex Virgilio (kicker, first-team special teams), Fred Billy (quarterback, second-team offense), Chase Brown (running back, second-team offense) and Lethario Jones (safety, second-team defense). Bradenton Christian’s Brett Gerber (linebacker, first-team defense), Kevin Etienne (wide receiver, second-team offense) and Bathie Thiam (kicker, second-team special teams) and Out-of-Door Academy’s Ryan Ives (defensive lineman, second-team defense) also made the list.
Current regular season winning streak for IMG Academy. The Ascenders haven’t lost since Washington D.C.’s St. John’s College High beat them on Aug. 29, 2014. Since then, IMG has outscored opponents 1,040-334 in full, on-field games. Two of the 26 straight victories were earned via forfeit.