1. MANATEE (7-0) 50 points — The Canes have given up a total of 47 points in their past two games, but have scored 98. Those numbers remind us of last year’s New England Patriots, which had a pretty good season thanks to a guy named Tom Brady. Manatee’s Cord Sandberg is a gunslinger who believes he can outduel anybody. But are the Canes living too dangerously?
2. PALMETTO (7-0) 40 — Lost 29-26 to Manatee last year, and everybody talked as if that was a win. There will be no moral victories in their rematch Friday. Tigers should score against a Canes defense that has looked vulnerable the past several weeks, but Joe Kinnan’s Hurricanes are whipping up a storm, averaging 48.6 points, and Palmetto’s defense is not as good as the one in 2011.
3. SOUTHEAST (6-2) 30 — The Noles seem to play to the level of their competition and do just enough to win. A victory Friday against Hardee will set up showdown game for the district title next week against Palmetto; that should provide enough motivation along with the memory of losing to Hardee last year, which in effect kept them out of the playoffs.
4. LAKEWOOD RANCH (5-2) 20 — The Mustangs’ season is like a spinning top and can go in many different directions. Nobody is explaining the possibilities to the cardiac kids. They just give them the ball and tell them to score more points than the other team. That’s good enough for this group. When you are performing miracles, details just get in the way.
5. BAYSHORE (2-6) 8 — The Bruins put a scare into Southeast last week but couldn’t finish, which has been an all-too-familiar story this season. There is a chance to close the season on a respectable note with two winnable games starting this Friday at home against Arcadia DeSoto. The question is whether J.P. Gordon can get those 3.35 yards per carry he covets.
Also receiving points: Cardinal Mooney 2.
Voting: 10 points for first, 8 for second, 6 for third, 4 for fourth and 2 for fifth.
Voters: Alan Dell, John Lembo, Jason Dill, Timothy R. Wolfrum, Vin Mannix.
— Alan Dell, Herald sports writer