By JASON DILL
A highly-anticipated rivalry game that lived up to the hype? That instant-classic, a one-point Manatee victory over Palmetto, tops this week's Numbers Game column.
But there's plenty more to look back on from last week. So buckle up for another fun ride with your weekly high school football stat fix as we get ready for Week 3 this Friday.
Attendance for Manatee's 36-35 victory over Palmetto at Harllee Stadium. It's the third-highest attended home game in Palmetto history, with only the 2011 game against Manatee (roughly 4,000) and the 2011 state semifinal against Miami Norland (roughly 4,500) surpassing Friday's edition of the annual Green Bridge War between the two sides divided by the Manatee River. The possible inclement weather that threatened and Bright House Sports Network
broadcasting the game on television may have been factors in keeping it outside the top two.
While Manatee eked out the one-point victory on Nick Null's 37-yard field goal in the waning moments, Hurricanes offensive star Kavious Price was having arguably his worst game. Price muffed two punts, fumbled two other times and dropped a pass off his fingertips that resulted in Thaddeus Johnson's third-quarter interception for Palmetto. The miscues indirectly contributed to 21 points for the Tigers. The Hurricanes, though, turned up their defense after Price's first fumble from scrimmage. The ball squirted into the end zone, when Johnson (interception, fumble recovery, muffed punt recovery) grabbed it and was tripped up trying to run upfield. That led to a pivotal fourth-quarter safety.
Demetrius Davis' average yards per carry in Saint Stephen's 48-6 blowout of St. Petersburg Keswick Christian last week. Davis blasted Keswick for 105 rushing yards on -- wait for it -- just FOUR carries! The Falcons offense is the most-prolific in the area in two games this season, tallying 101 points. That's 16 points better than IMG Academy, which is the next nearest in offensive production. Quarterback Fred Billy has been a menace thus far, tallying nine touchdowns (five passing, four rushing) and cranking out a mind-boggling 21.25 yards per rushing attempt in two Saint Stephen's victories.
Home games for area programs. It's the most amount of home games for any week this season. Southeast hosts Palmetto in the lone all-county tilt. Despite the recent slide in Southeast's program, which is 3-19 since the 2013 season started, the Seminoles have played tight games against the Tigers. The two sides have produced an average margin of victory at 9.5 points in the last eight meetings. Southeast leads the series 5-3 since 2007, and the last two games featured eight-point victories by both clubs -- Palmetto in 2014 and Southeast in 2013.
MaxPreps video views, as of this writing Tuesday afternoon, showcasing Drake Davis' athleticism. The IMG wide receiver, channeling his inner-Kam Chancellor -- the Seattle Seahawks safety that blocked two field goals against the Carolina Panthers in last year's playoffs -- leaped the center, blocked the extra point attempt, scooped it up and returned it to the end zone for a two-point conversion that was called back in the Ascenders' destruction of DeSoto (Texas). Davis, a 6-foot-2 semior wide receiver, didn't play football his junior season in Fork Union, Va., and is considered a potential Olympic decathlete in the future.
IMG quarteback Shea Patterson tossed his 100th career touchdown pass in a 47-29 victory at DeSoto on Saturday. He has just eight career interceptions, which means Patterson, a Shreveport, La., native, averages 12 1/2 touchdown passes for every one interception he's tossed in his high school career. No wonder he's the consensus No. 1-rated signal-caller in the country!
The MaxPreps strength of schedule calculator for Braden River, which is one of three teams ranked in Florida's top 100 with a negative SOS indicator. That means the Pirates, ranked No. 51 in the state, play what is considered an easier schedule than most. That should change when Braden River faces tough district games against Venice and Palmetto later this season. This week, Braden River travels to Cape Coral Ida Baker, which hung 49 points against North Port -- 14 in the first 13 seconds. The Pirates defense and the Bulldogs up-tempo offense are an intriguing match up this week. Braden River halted Bayshore and Southeast's offenses to the tune of not allowing a touchdown and giving up one field goal in two decisive wins.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill or on Facebook at Jason Dill Bradenton Herald.