PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Cypress Bay :RB Matt Dayes, DB Boaz Joseph, WR Alex Montgomery, OL Jason Rae, DB Nico Marley, ATH Jaranta Lewis.
Manatee: QB Cord Sandberg, DT Derrick Calloway, DE Marquis Dawsey, DE Blake Keller, WR Ja'Juan Pollack, OL Thor Miller, DT Demarcus Christmas, DB Willie Smith
THE OUTLOOKManatee hasn't really been tested all season - with the exception of Miami Central. Yes, the Miramar Patriots got up on the 'Canes 6-0 (the only time they've trailed all year) but Manatee put the next 41 points on the board and the game was over.
Cypress Bay has played St. Thomas Aquinas (loss) and Miramar (win) and has a lot of 'nothing to lose' in this game. A loss by no means hurts the Lightning (it's not a district game) and a win makes them a favorite for 8A south.
Still, Manatee is Manatee and the Canes have never been more focused than this year.
Losing Anthony Lauro to season-ending knee surgery will hurt for a while, but the depth of Manatee will show in this game.
Defensively, Calloway and Christmas along with Kellor and Dawsey will provide a never-ending stream of pressure on Lewis and Dayes. Montgomery has to make some clutch catches to keep the chains moving and the Manatee defense out of the box.
How the Lightning offensive line handles that pressure is a big factor.
Sandberg (Mississippi State continues to play mistake-free football and continues to be a quiet leader. Look for more of the same.
Prediction: Manatee 38 Cypress Bay 21
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