High School Sports

Prep Football Week 7 Power Poll

Editor’s note: Programs are ranked based on how they are performing against their own schedules, not based on hypothetical head-to-head matchups.

Voting points breakdown: 10 for first, 8 for second, 6 for third, 4 for fourth, 2 for fifth, 1 for sixth. (Last week, school, record, points with first-place votes in parentheses)

Public schools

1. (1) Braden River, 5-0, 50 points (5)

The Pirates are rolling, utilizing a dynamic rushing attack and a punishing defense to set up a highly anticipated matchup with playoff implications in two weeks against fellow state-ranked team Venice.

This week: Off.

2. (2) Manatee, 3-2, 40

The Hurricanes are feasting on district opponents to the tune of outscoring them 101-7 in two victories. Keyon Fordham’s arrival (172 yards on six carries last week) gives an extra dimension to an explosive offense.

This week: at Palm Harbor University, 7:30 p.m.

3. (3) Palmetto, 5-1, 30

Jason Spicer Jr.’s efficient outing against Lakewood Ranch last Friday has continued the offensive improvement throughout this season, and has Palmetto in the mix in the tough Class 7A-District 11 race.

This week: Off.

4. (4) Southeast, 2-2, 20

A tough early season schedule is in the rearview mirror for a Seminoles team hitting their stride in 5A-11. A punishing defense has them poised for a repeat playoff appearance with only one game remaining against the top half of the league.

This week: at Cardinal Mooney, 7 p.m.

5. (5) Lakewood Ranch, 0-5, 10

The Mustangs are in a rebuilding phase and are entering a bye week. It comes at a good time to continue developing the team for the latter part of the season for a bounce-back campaign in 2017.

This week: Off.

6. (6) Bayshore, 0-4, 5

The good news? The Bruins scored their first offensive touchdown last week. The bad news? They were pummeled by another struggling program, Sarasota Booker, that crushed a realistic chance at the postseason.

This week: vs. North Port, 7:30 p.m.

Private schools

1. (1) IMG Academy, 5-0, 50 (5)

The Ascenders are coming off a bye week and welcome Southern Lab (Baton Rouge, La.) for their homecoming game this Friday. LB Dylan Moses, who leads the team in tackles and has a litany of Division I offers, is well-versed with Southern Lab after playing at rival University Lab prior to arriving at IMG Academy.

This week: vs. Southern Lab (Baton Rouge, La.), 7 p.m.

2. (2) Cardinal Mooney, 4-1, 38

The Cougars won a key Class 3A-District 5 game on the road last week, where they exchanged leads a couple times with Clearwater Calvary Christian. They get a slight breather, in terms of a game with playoff implications, when they welcome Southeast, where current associate head coach Paul Maechtle won two state titles during a legendary career.

This week: vs. Southeast, 7 p.m.

3. (3) Saint Stephen’s, 4-1, 32

The Falcons were without quarterback Fred Billy last week, but didn’t slow their offensive machine as they kept the ball on the ground in blasting St. Petersburg Keswick Christian. Now they get a struggling Out-of-Door Academy, who they’ve defeated the last three years, in the annual Headmaster’s Cup.

This week: at Out-of-Door Academy, 7 p.m.

4. (5) Bradenton Christian, 1-4, 20

The defensive woes that plagued the Panthers’ rough start were washed away in an 18-point victory over Sunshine State Athletic Conference Coral Bay Division rival Out-of-Door Academy. BCS limited the Thunder to 67 rushing yards, while Kevin Etienne produced eight catches for 205 receiving yards.

This week: Off.

5. (4) Out-of-Door Academy, 1-5, 10

The Thunder struggled in last week’s de facto SSAC Coral Bay Division elimination game. That gave ODA its second loss in the league, and it could become a third this Friday when they host powerful Saint Stephen’s, who is poised to make a return trip to the SSAC title game.

This week: vs. Saint Stephen’s, 7 p.m.

Voters: Herald sports reporters Jason Dill, David Wilson, Alan Dell; sports correspondent Chad Brockhoff; Sunday news editor Alan Bellittera.


Jason Dill