High School Football

It’s Gameday! Here’s what you need to know for Week 7 of high school football season

As we head into Week 7 and the first Friday night of October, the high school football playoff picture soon will start to become more clear for Manatee County teams.

The first rating powers index, the new formula being used by the FHSAA this season to determine postseason teams and seeding for the eight classifications, will be released Tuesday.

As in past years, winning a district guarantees automatic qualification, so Palmetto (6-0, 2-0 in Class 6A-District 12) is in prime position to make its third straight postseason appearance. The Tigers are idle this week.

After Palmetto, teams that entered the season with playoff aspirations — notably Braden River, Manatee and Southeast — have work to do.

With less than a month to go in the regular season, that work starts now.

Enjoy all of the action under the Friday night lights.

Here’s what you need to know for Week 7 of the high school football season:

Bayshore Brian Coleman.jpg
Senior quarterback Brian Coleman and the Bayshore Bruins will be seeking back-to-back victories as they travel to North Port to face the winless Bobcats. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com


Opponent: North Port (0-6)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Bobcats Preserve at North Port High

Need to know: Fresh off their first win since the 2018 finale, the Bruins (1-5) look to make it back-to-back victories in their last non-district game of the season. Playing a winless team for the second straight week, Bayshore is in the midst of a three-game stretch — a 26-6 triumph at St. Petersburg Gibbs, at North Port, next week vs. Booker — against teams that have a combined 0-17 record. ... Since beating Bayshore 17-6 on Oct. 5, 2018, North Port has dropped 10 straight, including five shutout losses.

Braden River

Opponent: Booker (0-5)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Tornado Alley at Booker High

Need to know: After back-to-back road games against undefeated teams, losses to St. Petersburg Lakewood and Palmetto, the Pirates (2-4) wrap up their three-game road swing against a Booker team in search of its first victory. Braden River faces an uphill climb in its quest for a sixth straight postseason berth, but the schedule looks manageable during the season’s final month. Each of the Pirates’ first six opponents this season reached the playoffs in 2018. ... Booker has lost six straight games dating to last season.

Bradenton Christian

Opponent: Saint Stephen’s (5-1, 1-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Turner Fields at Moore Athletic Complex at Saint Stephen’s

Need to know: The Panthers (2-3, 1-1 Sunshine State Athletic Conference Coral League Bay Division) snapped a three-game losing streak with a dominating performance last week in a 56-7 win against Spring Hill Bishop McLaughlin. Now comes the rivalry matchup against a streaking Saint Stephen’s team that has won the past three matchups 55-25, 49-16 and 49-20. Bradenton Christian last beat Saint Stephen’s in 2010, winning 44-19. The teams didn’t play from 2011-15.

Cardinal Mooney

Opponent: Fort Myers Bishop Verot (5-0)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Viking Stadium at Bishop Verot High

Need to know: Coming off back-to-back home losses to Lakeland Victory Christian Academy and Clearwater Calvary Christian by a combined 11 points, the Cougars (2-4) face a daunting task against a Bishop Verot team that has allowed only 15 points this season and recorded three shutouts. These teams met in Week 1 each of the previous four seasons, with Cardinal Mooney winning in 2016, 2017 and 2018. ... Bishop Verot has won eight straight home games dating to the 2017 season and is averaging 42.4 points this season.

IMG Academy

Opponent: Clarkson Football North (3-2) of Mississauga, Ontario

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: IMG Academy Stadium in Bradenton

Need to know: The Ascenders (5-0) welcome one of Canada’s top programs in the second of three straight home games. Ranked third in the country by MaxPreps, IMG scored a season-high 52 points last week against five-time state champion Miami Booker T. Washington in extending its winning streak to nine. Moreover, the Ascenders have won 49 of their past 50 games. ... IMG Academy’s varsity team (2-3) hosts Orlando West Oaks Academy (1-4) at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Lakewood Ranch Dylan Bennett.jpg
Senior Dylan Bennett and the Lakewood Ranch Mustangs seek their fourth win of the season as they host Tampa Bay Christian Academy. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

Lakewood Ranch

Opponent: Tampa Bay Christian Academy (1-4)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lakewood Ranch High Stadium

Need to know: The Mustangs (3-1) open a three-game homestand looking to rebound after last week’s 58-0 loss to Manatee in their Class 7A-District 10 opener. Lakewood Ranch allowed more points last week than it did during its season-opening three-game winning streak (50). With a victory, the Mustangs would reach four wins in a season for the first time since going 6-3 in 2014. ... Tampa Bay Christian Academy’s lone win was a 43-0 victory against Davenport Four Corners on Sept. 20.


Opponent: Coconut Creek (3-2)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium at Manatee High

Need to know: Winners of two straight, the Hurricanes (2-3) play the second of four consecutive home games and look to get back to .500. The four-game homestand leads up to the Oct. 25 showdown at Venice, which likely will decide the Class 7A-District 10 champion. Manatee, which has qualified for the postseason each of the past 10 years, is in search of its first district crown since capturing the 8A-6 title in 2015. ... Class 5A Coconut Creek is 0-2 at home and 3-0 on the road this season.

Out-of-Door Academy

Opponent: St. Petersburg Northside Christian (3-2)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Brandes-Russell Field at Northside Christian

Need to know: The Thunder (5-1) look to bounce back after last week’s 48-7 loss to Saint Stephen’s that prevented them from clinching the top spot in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference Coral League Bay Division. It was ODA’s eighth straight loss against the Mustangs. ... This is Northside Christian’s first home game since a 42-12 Week 1 win against St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep. The Mustangs enter having lost two straight, including a 35-7 setback at Saint Stephen’s on Sept. 20.

Saint Stephen’s

Opponent: Bradenton Christian (2-4, 1-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Turner Fields at Moore Athletic Complex at Saint Stephen’s

Need to know: Since a 42-0 loss to Tampa Cambridge Christian in Week 2, the Mustangs (5-1, 1-0 Sunshine State Athletic Conference Coral League Bay Division) have won four straight while outscoring the opposition 144-42. Wins over Bradenton Christian and next week against Spring Hill Bishop McLaughlin would give Saint Stephen’s homefield advantage in the SSAC playoffs. This is the final regular-season home game for the Mustangs, who haven’t lost at the Moore Athletic Complex since Week 1 of the 2016 season.


Opponent: Sarasota (4-2)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Cleland Stadium at Ihrig Field at Sarasota High

Need to know: The Seminoles (3-1) came up just short in their Class 6A-District 12 opener last week, losing 22-21 to Port Charlotte. Now comes a difficult three-game road swing that takes the Noles to Class 7A Sarasota before back-to-back district games at Braden River and Palmetto. ... Sarasota, which features former Braden River standout running back Brian Battie, has dropped two straight after a 4-0 start, including a 21-13 loss to Port Charlotte two weeks ago.

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Lakewood Ranch, Manatee, Saint Stephen’s and IMG Academy’s national team have home games on Friday night. Bradenton Herald file photo

Week 7 schedule

Friday’s games

Bradenton Christian at Saint Stephen’s, 7 p.m.

Cardinal Mooney at Fort Myers Bishop Verot, 7 p.m.

Clarkson Football North (Canada) at IMG Academy National, 7 p.m.

Out-of-Door Academy at St. Petersburg Northside Christian, 7 p.m.

Bayshore at North Port, 7:30 p.m.

Braden River at Booker, 7:30 p.m.

Coconut Creek at Manatee, 7:30 p.m.

Southeast at Sarasota, 7:30 p.m.

Tampa Bay Christian Academy at Lakewood Ranch, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s game

Orlando West Oaks Academy at IMG Academy Varsity, 7 p.m.

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