Be sure to read high school reporter John Lembo's column today on the Southeast-Manatee football game. It's really the only setup you need for this classic rivalry.
John disdains cliches, but recognizes it's nearly impossible to write about the matchup without resorting to, well, cliches. So his ending (and I won't spoil it for you here) is perfect.
When I moved to Bradenton in 1999 there were only five high schools with football programs in Manatee County. Now there are nearly twice that many. Other good programs are springing up and certainly some new rivalries are taking shape.
But there are no brighter lights than Southeast vs. Manatee. It's special every time these storied programs with their legendary coaches meet. And we really can't say more without, well, stepping into more cliches.
It'll be standing room only tonight around the rim of Hawkins Stadium. If you don't want to get lost in the sea of rowdy fans, you can tune in on television and radio. And by all means visit Bradenton.com for the best online coverage available.
(add your own cliche here.)