Back on top. As of this week, the Palmetto Panther football team sits atop 8A District 16 after Southridge lost to South Dade last Friday. However, to clinch the title, the Panthers must defeat the Coral Reef Barracudas on the road in their homecoming game on Thursday night.
The Barracudas, due to their 2-6 record, do not have a chance of winning district but will aim to spoil the Panthers’ chances. A win on Thursday night would not only ensure a district championship but it’d also give Palmetto a favorable draw in the playoffs.
The team is looking forward to the game and coach Mike Manasco is preparing his team like he does every week.
“We will prepare like we always do,” Manasco said. “Nothing changes for this final and we will try not to put too much into one single game. The goal is to stay healthy.”
The hype is undeniable from the players and the excitement is through the roof. The Palmetto football team is ready to continue the tradition of beating Coral Reef year after year.
“We expect to win,” senior running back Trey Flowers said. “It’s Coral Reef.”
However, even though the Palmetto football team has beaten some great teams such as Naples, the obstacle of Southridge has always stood in their way. Year after year, Palmetto never seems to find a way to beat them. They may get another chance come playoff time.
“We need to go into the game mentally prepared because we are fully capable of beating [Southridge],” Flowers said.
Palmetto has defeated teams that beat Southridge such as South Dade, so the capability of Palmetto being strong enough is in the results.
For the Panther football team to conquer the nemesis, the younger teammates need to step up which Flowers credits them with doing recently.
“Collectively as a team we have better players,” junior free safety and strong safety Cornelius Nunn said. “But, we need to show up with high energy and against Coral Reef. Come out to blow out.”