MANATEE COUNTY – After last week’s thriller, can it get any better in 7A District 11 play? Insert Palmetto High and Braden River.
“We know it’s going to be a packed house. We know it’s going to be a raucous crowd. We got to make sure we handle the things we can control, limit mistakes and go out there and try to win a football game,” Braden River head coach Curt Bradley said.
“It’s bragging rights, within Manatee County, so it’s going to be big,” Palmetto head coach Dave Marino said.
For a Pirates team who struggled to throw the ball downfield last week, they know it doesn’t get any easier against a stout Palmetto defense.
“Palmetto’s more aggressive on defense, they will come after us, we know they’re going to blitz us. So, we need to try to make big plays in the run and passing game to slow that blitzing down a little bit,” Bradley said.
As for an improving Tigers offense, they have their work cut out for them as well. Especially with the return of Missouri commit Tyrone Collins in the secondary.
“It’s a big opportunity to be back on the field playing with my teammates. Have them under control and ball out with my boys,” Braden River defensive back Tyrone Collins said.
“We have to focus, we have to stay calm, we just have to execute our plays. Just go through like it’s a practice. Do as we’re told to do by our coaches and follow the process,” Palmetto quarterback Anthony Marino said.
But for a district that’s pretty much been a two horse race these past few years, the Palmetto Tigers control their own destiny.
“It’s nice to be like a sleeper. We’ve been working hard and we’re going to get it done,” Palmetto linebacker Andrew Duncan said.
It’s a game with so many elements. Braden River’s backs are against the wall. Palmetto is out to prove themselves. But, both, want to walk out kings of Manatee County.
“Our motto this year is it’s our time and the kids believe that. They know there is no tomorrow for them,” Marino said.
“We’re going to show them what Braden River’s about and we’ll see them at the game on Friday night,” Collins said.