High School Sports

Numbers Game | Manatee returns from Alabama looking to continue in-state winning streak


A lopsided out-of-state loss shouldn't worry Manatee fans, while Braden River's defense, Palmetto's bid to snap a historical losing streak against a county foe and Saint Stephen's quarterback running wild over two days are some of the highlights in this week's Numbers Game.


Manatee's winning percentage against out-of-state opponents since 2010 following Friday's 42-21 defeat at Hoover, Ala. Don't fret Manatee fans, though, because the Hurricanes haven't lost a regular-season game to an in-state opponent since 2009 -- a span of 48 straight games -- when they lost to Venice. That game, though,

was deemed a forfeit later on as the Indians used an ineligible player, so Manatee's current regular-season winning streak against in-state opponents registers at 55 games (last defeat that still counts was against Venice in 2008). The Canes will put that streak on the line at Palmetto this Friday.


Lakewood Ranch quarterback Justin Curtis threw three interceptions in last week's blowout loss to Tampa Jesuit. Curtis was mired in a quarterback battle during fall camp with Grant Weisman, and struggled against the Tigers, who scored on three straight Ranch turnovers to start the game. The Mustangs and Curtis, though, have a chance to right the ship against another fellow struggling county public school in Bayshore this week.


Braden River's 42-0 whitewash of Bayshore featured some potent rushing with Raymond Thomas scoring three times on just nine carries and tallying 104 rushing yards. But it was the defense that assured the Pirates such a dominating performance. The Bruins only mustered five first downs, while generating a dismal 82 yards of total offense.


Consecutive defeats for Palmetto against perennial county top dog, Manatee, in the annual Green Bridge War. The two played a tight, 29-26 game in 2011 that had a standing-room-only crowd at Harllee Stadium. Both teams springboarded off that game, a Hurricanes victory, for deep postseason runs. Palmetto fell to the Duke Johnson-led Miami Norland Vikings in the Class 5A state semifinals, while then-7A Manatee secured the program's fifth state championship. Since that close contest, Manatee has outscored the Tigers 128-26.


Saint Stephen's sophomore quarterback Fred Billy tallied 200 of his 294 yards last week on the ground. After a freshman campaign that witnessed more than 700 rushing yards from the dual-threat quarterback, Billy scampered around the Windermere Prep defense on just 10 carries. He ran in three touchdowns, while also passing for three scores as the Falcons opened up their season with a 52-41 victory. The game wrapped up Saturday after inclement weather postponed Friday's festivities, delaying Billy's monstrous numbers for another day.


Video views on MaxPreps.com, as of this writing, that have seen the trick play Fort Myers Bishop Verot used in edging rival Cardinal Mooney, 35-31, last Friday.

Deven Thompkins, a running back, took a pitch, ran to the sideline and threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Evans, who leaped over two Cougar defenders for the score. The play put Mooney in a two-score deficit.


Miles by car, according to Google Maps, between IMG Academy's football field and DeSoto (Texas), where the Ascenders play Saturday. IMG improved to No. 17 in USA Today's Super 25 national football rankings, while DeSoto plummeted to No. 48 in the CBS MaxPreps national rankings following last week's 46-26 loss to Martin (Arlington, Texas). The trip to DeSoto also acts as a homecoming of sorts for Bryce Beard and Colby Wilson, two native Texans who are from Fredericksburg (238 miles from DeSoto) and Quinlan (58 miles from DeSoto), respectively.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill and like his Facebook page at Jason Dill Bradenton Herald.

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