Palmetto Tigers (6-1, 3-1) at Braden River Pirates (7-0, 3-0)
Palmetto – Dave Marino (6th season at Palmetto)
Braden River – Curt Bradley (4th season at Braden River)
All-Time Series Record:
Palmetto leads 5-2
2014 – Braden River defeated Palmetto 38-14
What’s at Stake:
Braden River and Palmetto sit undefeated in 7A-11 with one week remaining after tonight. Obviously, someone has to lose this one, so if Braden River loses–they’re still in the postseason by virtue of their tiebreaker over one-loss Venice. They would need a victory over Sarasota next week to secure the birth. A Palmetto loss forces the Tigers to win-or-stay-home game against Venice next week.
The Quick Slant:
-Braden River is seeking back-to-back undefeated regular seasons after finishing 2014 with a 9-0 record. The school is only in its ninth year of existence.
-Palmetto has won five-straight games since their loss to Manatee. They’ve recorded two shutouts and averaged giving up just eight points in that stretch.
-Braden River is #2 in the current Class 7A Poll as voted by the Associated Press.
Highly-touted Jack Allison from Palmetto threw four interceptions in this game last season in which the Pirates’ Jacob Huesman went off for a 24-point victory and a district championship. This season, the Tigers are anything-but last year’s squad and are humming on all cylinders after their heartbreaking loss to Manatee week two. This is a classic QB vs. QB battle in the making, but both teams have the horses in the backfield to balance the equation and put this one on the defenses. Braden River’s 20 points in the first quarter against a suffocating Venice Defense last week proves they can score pretty much whenever they put their minds to it. Their defense will have to face a potent offense this week–but one that doesn’t with a contrasting style. Venice may line up in the spread, but they’re a run-heavy team and want to grind games out. Palmetto’s quickness and vertical capability allow them to strike fast–and often. This is a styles-make-fights scenario if there ever was one.
Palmetto wins IF:
Simply put–they protect the ball. The absolute worst scenario for the Tigers is to give the Pirates and that offense short fields. On defense, win on third down. You don’t have to be perfect, but getting Braden River’s offense off the field and punt team onto the field at least 2-to-1 will make this much easier on your offense.
Braden River wins IF:
Jacob Huesman and his targets get loose early and allow the home crowd to get even more loose. They may give up some points, but if the defense forces down-and-distances behind schedule on first and second, plus force Allison out of his comfort zone, it could be a long night for the Tigers.