We're at the midseason point here at Numbers Game, which means it's crunch time for area programs looking to make a playoff push.
The red-hot Braden River defense took charge last Friday, while several teams return from a bye week as district games return.
So let's dive right into this week's dazzling digits:
Takeaways for Braden River's defense this season after the Pirates snatched a program-record six interceptions in last Friday's 48-14 blowout victory over Leesburg. The first-team defense yielded a touchdown for the first time in five games, but the unit also took two of the six picks back for scores. Braden River leads all Manatee County programs with 16 interceptions and in takeaways. Only Palmetto, with 13, has double-digit takeaways this season.
Percentage of Lakewood Ranch's passing attempts this season that have resulted in interceptions. No matter which quarterback the Mustangs employ under center, the success rate hasn't been there. Grant Weisman (five) and Justin Curtis (seven) have combined for 12 interceptions, while throwing just one touchdown in 79 passing attempts. Curtis threw three picks in Friday's 34-14 loss to Land O'Lakes Sunlake. It doesn't get easier for the Mustangs' signal-callers as they face ball-hawking Palmetto (seven interceptions this season) in a key Class 7A-
District 11 game this week.
Average points allowed per game this season for Manatee's Class 8A-District 6 opponent this Friday, Lutz Steinbrenner. The Warriors' defense has pitched two shutouts and leads the district with a 2-0 record. This game will probably decided the district championship as Manatee is the only other team with an unblemished district mark at 1-0. The Hurricanes enjoyed a week off in Week 5, and limited Alonso to 101 total yards of offense in a 38-0 whitewash two weeks ago.
IMG Academy was off last week, but that didn't mean the Ascenders didn't enjoy an accolade-filled bye week. It was announced six IMG football players are going to the Under Armour All-American Game on January 2, and will receive their game jerseys in a presentation this week. Quarterback Shea Patterson, offensive lineman Tyler Gerald, kicker Ricky Aguayo, cornerback Saivion Smith, linebacker Rahshaun Smith and defensive lineman Shavar Manuel are the recipients. In the previous two years, IMG's Bo Scarbrough, Michael O'Connor, Deondre Francois and Tyree St. Louis were included in the annual game at St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field. Palmetto quarterback Jack Allison, a Miami commit, is also going to this year's game and is getting his jersey later in the season. The unbeaten Ascenders, ranked 11th in USA Today's Super 25 national rankings, host No. 19-ranked St. Joseph's Regional (Montvale, N.J.) this Friday.
Ratio of points allowed to points scored in six combined losses this season for Bradenton Christian and The Out-of-Door Academy, who face each other Friday in Class 2A-District 5 action. The two clubs have allowed 269 points in those defeats, In their lone district matchups thus far, the two were outscored 111-7. It's a must-win this Friday when the two lock horns as an 0-2 start in the five-team district would surely end any playoff aspirations.
Amount of points Southeast lost by in last year's meeting with eventual district champ Arcadia DeSoto. The Bulldogs went unbeaten in league play in 2014. However, they haven't won a regular season game in 2015, let alone a district contest. The Seminoles lost three of their four district games last fall by a combined 18 points. Meanwhile, Cardinal Mooney will play its first district game this week. Class 3A-District 5 is a four-team district and has yet to feature any league games. The Cougars are winless, but host winless Clearwater Calvary Christian on Friday.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill and like his Facebook page at Jason Dill Bradenton Herald.