East County and Sarasota teams will close out the regular season tonight.
Braden River vs. Palmetto Ridge — It's been a disappointing season for first-year coach Curt Bradley and the Pirates who have been plagued with injuries all season long. The winless Pirates have struggled in nearly every facet of the game this season having only scored 34 points and been shutout five times. Braden River still searches for its first win of the season tonight against Palmetto Ridge, which has lost its last seven straight games. The Pirates haven't gone winless since their first season in 2006.
Lakewood Ranch at Manatee — Lakewood Ranch's playoff hopes were diminished with a 29-20 loss to Seminole Osceola last week. The Mustangs will face a daunting task this week when they take on Manatee, which is ranked No. 1 in both the nation and Class 7A. The Hurricanes are averaging 49 points a game this season. Lakewood seniors Luke Sears, KJ Brown and Andre Christiano will try to contain Manatee quarterback Cord Sandberg in their final game in a Lakewood uniform.
ODA vs. Cardinal Mooney — The Out-of-Door Academy and Cardinal Mooney are both out of the playoffs this season, but the two private schools will have plenty to play for tonight. Cardinal Mooney has won all four games over ODA since the series began, but the past two games have come down to the wire. Quarterback Evan WIlson will lead the Thunder offense while running backs Anthony Caiazzo and Demardre Patterson, who played for ODA last season, will pace the Cougars offense. ODA has struggled to contain the run this season, so tonight's game could once again come down to the wire.
Sarasota vs. Bayshore — Sarasota enter's tonight's game coming off a 51-9 loss to Manatee. The Sailors will look to close out their season with a win tonight against the Bruins, which have had their struggles as well this season. With playoff hopes long gone, the two teams will be playing for pride. Sarasota running back Rod Tullis is about 75 yards shy of reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Look for the junior to get ball in his hands several times tonight.
Booker vs. Riverview — Booker enters tonight's game having lost two straight while Riverview is riding a two-game winning streak, including a 28-24 win over rival Sarasota and a 31-28 come-from-behind victory over North Port last week. Quarterbacks Alex Riddle and Dom Marino and running backs Marlon Mack and Karan Higdon should be the determining factor in who wins tonight's game.
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24 Christmas Eve Family Service
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
24 Christmas Eve Traditional Service
9:30 pm - 11:30 am
25 Christmas Traditional Service
10:00 pm - 11:30 pm
12 Scramble for SPARCC
Food and fun
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and its Young Leaders Alliance have something to talk about: the organizations collected 764 pounds of nonperishable food and $1,295 cash to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee/Meals on Wheels PLUS.
River Club’s Cheryl Kaufman says she’s still pinching herself.
A little “Ho! Ho! Ho!” can go a long way this holiday season.