Meaningful games, great starts, and Manatee will look to make Hawkins Stadium home sweet home once again.
Numbers Game takes a look back at Week 3 and looks forward to a Week 4 that will go a ways toward making or breaking a team's postseason fate.
It's also a week in which two teams will attempt to stay perfect, while three others pursue their first victories of the season.
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Teams that begin district play Friday including four that match up with each other: Braden River heads to Lakewood Ranch to open Class 7A-District 10 play, while Southeast hosts Bayshore for each one's Class 5A-District 13 debut. Palmetto stays home to face North Port in another 7A-10 clash. For the Pirates (3-0) and Mustangs (2-1), Friday is about tacking a big win to what have been good starts, while the Bruins, Seminoles and Tigers, all of whom are 0-3, would love for their first victory of the season to count much more than any of those previous losses.
Consecutive home victories for Manatee following last week's impressive 31-19 win over Naples, which began the game ranked fourth in the state in Class 6A. The last team to drop the Hurricanes at home was New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep on Sept. 16, 2011. Staying on the topic of streaks, Numbers Game
has an apology to make: Manatee's string of wins against Florida schools in the regular season is now at 48 following the Naples game.
The Canes put both big strings on the line Friday against Sarasota.
Straight seasons Cardinal Mooney has begun the year 3-0 after Friday's throttling of Lake Placid. What the Cougars would love to do now is extend the winning after losing in Week 4 the previous two years -- 27-18 to Englewood Lemon Bay in 2012 and 43-0 to Tampa Catholic in 2013. Mooney tries to reverse the trend Friday at Avon Park.
Interceptions for IMG cornerback Savion Smith, all in the first quarter, Friday against Fort Lauderdale Dillard. Speaking of three interceptions, Braden River's JoJo Louis now has that many this season after recording a pick against Southeast. Louis had two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns, in a Week 2 victory against Somerset Academy.
Weeks in a row that Palmetto's dynamo, Quincy Washington, has returned a kickoff for a touchdown. The tireless Washington has also eclipsed the 100-yard mark rushing the ball in back-to-back weeks, making him more than a worthy successor to Josh Hicks, now at Rutgers. Palmetto hopes Washington's big-play pizazz can lead the Tigers past the Bobcats on Friday and to a 1-0 mark in district play -- the only record that really matters.
John Lembo, Herald staff writer, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow him on Twitter @JohnLembo1878. Numbers Game appears Tuesday during the prep football season.