A successful Thursday night, a trend of second-half dominance for Manatee and the conclusion of Palmetto's unscheduled two-week break.
Numbers Game makes its October debut as the prep football seasons grinds toward a stretch run full of non-district rivalry games and intense affairs with postseason fates hanging in the balance.
So here's a look back to Week 5 with an eye toward Week 6.
The area's winning percentage on Thursday night after Braden River, Lakewood Ranch and Manatee all recorded victories in games played a day earlier because of Sarasota County's observance of Yom Kippur. They were all district wins, too, which means the Pirates (2-0, 7A-District 12) and Hurricanes (1-0 with two games remaining in Class 8A-District 7) are in fine shape while the Mustangs (1-1 in 7A-10) are still very much in the chase after beating the host Bobcats in the game's final minute. Southeast will try to keep the trend going when the Seminoles host Riverview in a non-district game Thursday.
Touchdown Manatee has allowed combined in the second half during its last four games, resulting in a grand total of nine points. The Hurricanes allowed 23 points after halftime during a Week 1 loss to Ware County, Ga., though two of those touch
downs came on interception returns, and 13 the following week against Seminole, so Manatee fans should be pleased with the upswing. The Canes will try to be just as stingy in the third and fourth quarters Friday against Palmetto.
Weeks since Palmetto played a football game after the Tigers' Sept. 26 game against Bayshore was rained out and the team was on a scheduled bye last week. Will Palmetto be well-rested or well, rusty, when the Tigers head into Hawkins Stadium on Friday night? One thing's for sure: Motivation shouldn't be much of a factor. Though the Tigers haven't beaten the Canes since 2004, the Palmetto-Manatee rivalry has picked up some intensity over the years. And with Friday serving as Manatee's homecoming as well as its celebration of 100 years of football, the Tigers would love nothing more to spoil the party, as well as Manatee's eight-year winning streak against county foes.
Yards of total offense for IMG Academy on Friday night. No big deal, right? Well, the Ascenders still managed to roll to a 61-0 win over Monsignor Pace thanks to four touchdowns from its special teams unit. It also didn't hurt that IMG's defense recorded eight sacks, which covered 54 lost yardage for Pace. Winners of five straight, the Ascenders head to Lake Minneola on Friday.
Seconds remaining when Lakewood Ranch's Darren Lowery scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Mustangs a 28-21 win over North Port in a big Class 7A-District 10 win. It may have saved the Mustangs' season, as the chasm between a 1-1 record in district play and an 0-2 mark is huge. The Mustangs are off this week but head to Palmetto on Oct. 17 for a huge 7A-10 affair.
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.