High School Football

It’s Gameday! Here’s what you need to know for Week 9 of the high school football season

Just how dominant has the Palmetto High football team been this season en route to its 7-0 start and its first district title since 2011?

Let’s go inside the numbers heading into Week 9:

1: The Tigers are ranked first in the Florida High School Athletic Association’s RPI rankings, the formula being used to determine playoff participants, for the second consecutive week.

7: All of their wins are against teams that would qualify for the playoffs if the postseason started today, including Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda Charlotte and Braden River, which are Nos. 3-5 in the Class 6A-Region 3 RPI rankings, behind Palmetto and Lake Gibson.

10: The number of points allowed by the Tigers in their first three 6A-District 12 games (47-7 over Port Charlotte, 27-3 over Braden River, 34-0 over Charlotte).

24.6: The Tigers’ average margin of victory, having outscored the opposition 235-63. Only Sarasota Riverview (28) has scored more than 12 points against Palmetto this season. Moreover, the Tigers have held five of their seven opponents to seven points or fewer.

0.816: Palmetto’s rankings percentage index, according to the FHSAA, easily topping 10-time state champion Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, which is No. 2 at 0.789.

Dominant, indeed.

With Palmetto headed to the postseason for the third straight year by virtue of winning the district crown, Braden River and Manatee also are well positioned to extend their playoff streaks.

In Classes 5A to 8A, the district winners in each of the four regions land the top four postseason spots; the next four teams with the highest RPI also qualify for the playoffs.

Braden River (4-4), which is idle this week, is fifth in 6A-Region 3 as the Pirates seek their sixth straight postseason appearance.

Manatee (4-3), which has won four in a row to turn its season around, is fourth in 7A-Region 3 as the Hurricanes chase their 11th consecutive trip to the playoffs.

With three weeks to go in the regular season, there is still much to be decided.

In addition to Braden River, Cardinal Mooney, Out-of-Door Academy and Saint Stephen’s have this week off.

Enjoy all of the action.

Here’s what you need to know heading into Week 9 of high school football season:

Bayshore

Opponent: Tampa Robinson (3-4, 2-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Jack Peters Field at Robinson High

Need to know: The Bruins (2-6, 2-1 Class 5A-District 12) have won two of three after an 0-5 start and are in a three-way tie for second in the six-team district along with Robinson and Tampa Chamberlain, trailing Tampa Jesuit. Bayshore closes its regular season with back-to-back district games at Robinson and at Jesuit, and wins in both would give the Bruins at least a share of the 5A-12 crown. Like Bayshore, Robinson’s district victories have come against St. Petersburg Gibbs and Booker, which are both 0-3 in 5A-12.

Bradenton Christian

Opponent: Fort Myers Canterbury (4-3)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Dan van der Kooy Field at Bradenton Christian

Need to know: The Panthers (2-4) head into their regular-season finale having had two weeks to think about letting a 19-point second-half lead slip away in a 41-33 loss at rival Saint Stephen’s on Oct. 4. This is the third meeting between Bradenton Christian and Canterbury in the past seven seasons. The Panthers won 35-6 in 2015 and 49-13 in 2013. Canterbury had its four-game winning streak snapped last week with a 14-6 loss to Boca Raton Christian.

IMG Academy

Opponent: St. Frances Academy, Md. (6-1)

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: Morgan State University in Baltimore

Need to know: Another week, another marquee matchup for the Ascenders (7-0), ranked third in the nation by MaxPreps, as a showdown with the No. 5 Panthers awaits. Already this season, IMG has defeated five-time state champion Miami Booker T. Washington, six-time state champ Miami Northwestern and St. Joseph’s Preparatory (Pa.), which was ranked 12th in the nation at the time. St. Frances’ lone loss was a 34-18 setback against Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, which is ranked No. 1 in the country by MaxPreps and snapped IMG’s 40-game winning streak on Sept. 21, 2018.

Lakewood Ranch

Opponent: St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins (6-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lakewood Ranch High Stadium

Need to know: It’s been a tale of two seasons for the Mustangs (4-2). In non-district games, Lakewood Ranch is 4-0 and has outscored its opponents 114-50. In two Class 7A-District 10 games, the Mustangs are 0-2 and have been outscored 107-6. Lakewood Ranch must prevail in one of its three remaining games — vs. Dixie Hollins, at district rival Sarasota (5-3), at Seminole (1-6) — to secure its first winning season since the 2014 squad went 6-3. Dixie Hollins has won five straight games while outscoring its opponents 190-69.

Manatee

Opponent: Kissimmee Osceola (6-1)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium at Manatee High

Need to know: The Hurricanes (4-3) have taken care of business since their 0-3 start and have a winner-take-all showdown for the Class 7A-District 10 title against Venice on Oct. 25. First, though, comes the finale of a four-game homestand, with the Canes facing a team they met in the postseason each of the previous two years. Manatee has scored 58, 45 and 52 points the past three games — quarterback Jayce Berzowski and wide receiver Jayden Corbett connected for four touchdowns last week against Sarasota. Osceola has won five straight and has outscored the opposition 288-49 this season.

Palmetto

Opponent: Southeast (3-3, 0-2)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Harllee Stadium at Palmetto High

Need to know: Their first district title in eight years already secured, the Tigers (7-0, 3-0 Class 6A-District 12) will look to finish perfect in the district and extend their recent run of success against the Seminoles. Palmetto was dominant in wins against Port Charlotte (40-point win), Braden River (24-point win) and Punta Gorda Charlotte (34-point win) in clinching the 6A-12 crown, and has won four in a row against Southeast, with the Tigers’ last loss to the Noles coming in 2013.

Southeast

Opponent: Palmetto (7-0, 3-0)

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Harllee Stadium at Palmetto High

Need to know: The Seminoles (3-3, 0-2 Class 6A-District 12) have dropped three straight and are in danger of falling below .500 for the first time this season. Southeast’s two district losses are by a combined six points (22-21 against Port Charlotte, 41-36 against Braden River), but Palmetto represents a big step up in competition. The Noles are looking for their first victory since 2013 against Palmetto, which has allowed only 22 points in its three home games this season.

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Bradenton Christian, IMG Academy’s Varsity team, Manatee, Lakewood Ranch and Palmetto have home games in Week 9. Bradenton Herald file photo

Week 9 schedule

Fort Myers Canterbury at Bradenton Christian, 7 p.m.

IMG Academy National at St. Frances Academy (Md.), 7 p.m.

Oviedo Master’s Academy at IMG Academy Varsity, 7 p.m.

Bayshore at Tampa Robinson, 7:30 p.m.

Kissimmee Osceola at Manatee, 7:30 p.m.

St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins at Lakewood Ranch, 7:30 p.m.

Southeast at Palmetto, 7:30 p.m.

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