A defensive gem, a powerful rushing attack, a woeful beginning and a milestone victory are some of the top moments from Week 3 of the high school football season.
And they’re also the digits that comprise this week’s Numbers Game.
We’ll also look at the Week 4 slate that gives Manatee County football fans an early look at playoff contenders with district schedules coming into view.
So without further delay, let’s get going for another action-packed Numbers Game:
Number of sacks Palmetto’s defense tallied in Friday’s win over county rival Southeast. The Tigers’ defense is the strength of the club as the offense continues to find its rhythm, and they’re already excelling as the district schedule begins this week. Senior defensive lineman Zach Wyatt had three sacks and Palmetto also forced two turnovers in the 20-9 win.
Average yards per carry for Braden River’s running game in the blowout of Cape Coral Ida Baker last Friday. Arguably the best running back in the area, Raymond Thomas, is off to a blazing start. He ran for 191 yards on 14 carries, which means he’s averaging 14.75 yards per attempt through two games. The Pirates begin district play this week against archrival Lakewood Ranch in the annual East Manatee Bowl. Braden River has won two straight in the series and leads 5-4 all-time.
Area programs that can qualify for the postseason this year, and that playoff quest begins for six of those teams on Friday. All six public schools are in district action, with Braden River-Lakewood Ranch and Bayshore-Southeast as the two all-county battles with early playoff implications at stake. Manatee hosts Tampa Alonso, while Palmetto is at Sarasota in other district matchups. Cardinal Mooney, which was one of four playoff teams alongside the Pirates, Canes and Noles last year, doesn’t begin district play until Sept. 30.
Manatee’s second straight slow start — the Hurricanes went 1-2 in 2015 before breezing to a district title — means the county’s six public schools have produced a .385 winning percentage through Week 3. Only Manatee and Palmetto have played three games, while Braden River remains the lone unbeaten after the program’s 23rd consecutive regular season victory last Friday. The Tigers have two victories this season, while Southeast, Lakewood Ranch and Bayshore are a combined 0-5.
On Saturday, IMG Academy head coach Kevin Wright hit a milestone. He snagged his 200th career high school victory between his long stint at Carmel (Ind.) and his current gig with the Ascenders. In his second season with IMG, Wright has his club off to a 3-0 start and a No. 2 national ranking in USA Today’s Super 25 rankings. Quarterback Kellen Mond tossed three touchdowns while running for another in IMG’s 49-7 blowout of Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington this past weekend.