High School Football

Braden River, IMG Blue maintain top spots in Week 9 Power Poll

Braden River’s Deshaun Fenwick makes a run downfield during an Oct. 6 game at Palmetto.
Braden River’s Deshaun Fenwick makes a run downfield during an Oct. 6 game at Palmetto. zwittman@bradenton.com

Editor’s note: These are power rankings, meaning hypothetical head-to-head matchups aren’t considered. Actual head-to-head games, how the team is trending and recently performed are weighed. Considerations to keep teams where they were after a loss are based on the opposition’s strength and how close a game was.


1. (1) Braden River, 3-1

QB Bryan Gagg returned from an injury picked up at the end of the loss to Venice two weeks ago to throw four TDs in a victory against his old team, Sarasota. Knowledge McDaniel tallied 158 total yards, but the defense needs to sharpen up for a playoff push after giving up 330 total yards of offense to the Sailors.

Up next: vs. Lakewood Ranch

2. (2) Palmetto, 4-2

The Tigers scored two touchdowns in 57 seconds during Friday’s homecoming blowout of Lakewood Ranch. The win keeps the Tigers locked in as the No. 2 team in this week’s Power Poll with a crucial district game against Venice looming in a couple weeks.

Up next: at North Port

3. (4) Southeast, 5-0

After Wauchula Hardee lost at Bayshore on Thursday, Southeast didn’t fall victim to an upset Friday. Instead, the Seminoles pounded Englewood Lemon Bay with their defense and QB Alex Taylor’s three TD passes. Now they can move closer to the district title with a trip to Wauchula Hardee.

Up next: at Wauchula Hardee

4. (3) Manatee, 3-2

It snowballed so quickly for the Hurricanes on Friday at the Ram Bowl. Playing for a potential district title, the Canes fell behind 21-7, before a pivotal interception by Lakewood Ranch transfer Jay Turner swung momentum directly to Sarasota Riverview. The young Canes must regroup quickly.

Up next: vs. Riverview

5. (6) Bayshore, 1-4

Who cares if the offense sputtered for most of Thursday’s game with powerful Wauchula Hardee? The Bruins defense thwarted QB Kai Washington as the offense did enough to score, arguably, the biggest upset in the state this week. The two-point conversion was a no-brainer.

Up next: vs. Arcadia DeSoto

6. (5) Lakewood Ranch, 3-2

After starting 3-0, the Mustangs lost twice this week. And both games, to district powerhouses Venice and Palmetto, were blowouts. With East Manatee County rival Braden River up next, the Mustangs can still throw a wrench into the Class 7A-District 11 title race, but they’re going to need to do it against Braden River’s high-scoring offense.

Up next: at Braden River


1. (1) IMG Blue, 5-0

The Ascenders are vying for a national championship and had an off week to get ready for some road games. First up is a trip to Utah to face the team former Manatee High star Johnnie Lang led to a state title in his senior high school season.

Up next: at Salt Lake City East

2. (2) Saint Stephen’s, 5-0

Fred Billy had an emotional senior night, where he scored his 100th career touchdown. And he did it with the memory of his mother, who passed away in 2016, guiding him. The Falcons are looking to close the regular season out unbeaten before preparing for the Sunshine State Athletic Conference playoffs.

Up next: at Seffner Christian

3. (3) Cardinal Mooney, 2-4

Without Bryce Williams, who didn’t play, the Cougars were just fine. Using a strong defense and the Koscho brothers, Jack and Sam, Mooney punished St. Petersburg Catholic with a 35-0 victory.

Up next: vs. Winter Haven

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

The Thunder won two games this week, knocking off St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep in a postponed Monday game before handling New York’s Kennedy Catholic comfortably at home in a game dubbed, “The Battle at the Beach.”

Up next: vs. St. Petersburg Catholic

5. (6) IMG White, 2-2

The Ascenders breezed to a victory over Orlando West Oaks in a game that was made up from earlier in the season. Japan’s Juntoku Koda had a receiving touchdown for his first career varsity TD for the senior that was IMG’s first student-athlete enrollee for football. Jay Taylor tallied 156 rushing yards, too.

Up next: at Tampa Berkeley Prep

6. (4) Bradenton Christian, 3-4

The onside kick and subsequent touchdown pass breathed life into the Panthers that an upset was possible. Well, it was short-lived against the high-powered Saint Stephen’s offense. The Panthers couldn’t stop Fred Billy, Chase Brown or Sydney Brown. But not many teams can.

Up next: vs. Clearwater International Academy