August 27, 2010

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

As has been the talk of message boards, emails, radio interviews and Twitter fodder, the game between No. 1 ranked Tampa (Fla.) Plant and No. 48 Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee went the way of the Hurricane.

The preseason victory for Manatee was not unexpected - in fact it was predicted by RivalsHigh and many others. The method in which it was administered however was a stunner.

It was not close. It was not pretty. It was 48-10.

And again, it does not count in the record books.

For all of the things that the game was not the one thing is was, without a doubt, was a chance to evaluate two teams.

Records be damned.

It has been the policy of RivalsHigh to not take into account the results of jamboree scrimmages in the record column for in-state games not sanctioned by home state associations and to keep track of results for out-of-state games regardless of state rules.

That does not mean that the play on the field is to be ignored and any chance to evaluate teams and players - be it summer camps, lineman challenges, passing leagues, scrimmages, jamborees or sanctioned games - will be taken into account.

This week Rivals.com will be at 83 games across the country and will see 32 of the 57 ranked teams in action in person. Some games count in the win-loss column. Some do not.

The games we see involving Plant, Manatee, Moore (Okla.) Southmoore, and Monroe (La.) West Monroe will not be in Tuesday's win-loss columns, but what we see with our eyes will not be ignored.

All of those games will be considered and weighed into the rankings.

The precedent was set last week when Rivals.com was at 9-of-13 ranked games and scrimmages and two teams, Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes and Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller, were both dropped from their preseason spots without taking a snap that was reflected in the record column.

With that, and the way Plant lost, expect the team to take a tumble down the rankings.

Breaking down the breakdown

As has been the refrain of many, the game didn't count. But it was hard to say it wasn't played like it did.

At least for Manatee.

The Hurricanes played the game from beginning to end like they were making a statement, and certainly they did.

Plant looked lethargic, young and stunned.

Manatee looked aggressive, fiery and inspired.

The Hurricanes' defensive line manhandled the Plant offensive line - an area that was young, but also expected to be a strength of the team.

Manatee was able to attack a young secondary with the passing game. And take advantage of a hyper-aggressive defensive line with plenty of screen passes.

The Hurricanes played better from start to finish. They knocked out Plant quarterback Phillip Ely and made James Wilder Jr. look pedestrian.

The bottom line is that the teams have met three times in the past two years. Manatee has won both games that didn't count and Plant won the state title, so there is some grain-of-salt to be taken with this display. But there were enough questions raised about Plant that can not be ignored.

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