Prep football | Manatee uses complete package in rout of Braden River

Special teams, defense score in Class 7A-10 rout

jlembo@bradenton.comOctober 6, 2012 

EAST MANATEE -- It has been hard enough this season to keep Manatee's offense out of the end zone.

But when the special teams unit and defense start scoring touchdowns?

Cue the theme from "Mission: Impossible."

The Hurricanes opened Class 7A-District 10 play with a bang Friday, routing host Braden River 56-0 in a game that included a running clock for the entire second half.

And while Manatee's offense did its share of scoring, the biggest moments came from the guys who typically specialize in stopping offenses rather than contributing to them.

Malik Brooks blocked a Braden River punt early in the first quarter to set up Trevon Walters' 5-yard touchdown run that gave Manatee (5-0) a 14-0 lead with 6 minutes, 56 seconds remaining.

Roughly five minutes later, defensive end Derrick Calloway deflected a pass from Pirates quarterback Eric Schappacher that was thrown behind the line of scrimmage. Brooks recovered it in the end zone, and the Canes led 28-0 after a quarter.

"We're a complete football team," said Manatee coach Joe Kinnan.

They weren't done. Defensive end Blake Keller blocked two punts during the second quarter, the second of which was recovered in the end zone by Reynard Simmons.

Keller also had two blocks during Manatee's season-opening win against Miramar.

Kinnan said Manatee began defending punts differently following last season's loss to New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep. The Ironmen turned a fake punt into a first down to win a game the Canes were leading midway through the fourth quarter.

"We leave our first-team defense in there. We substituted last year," Kinnan said. "Our big guys, Calloway, (Demarcus) Christmas, they can block kicks. ... It's things we do every day anyway, so if they line up in any which way, we've got everything covered."

The Canes totaled just 278 yards of offense thanks in part to good field position -- Manatee started three drives inside Braden River's 20-yard line during the first half.

Cord Sandberg threw for 63 yards and three touchdowns. Brodrick Yancy, Kelvin McKnight and Taren Cotton, the latter of whom missed the first part of the season after breaking his jaw over the summer, caught touchdown passes.

McKnight also ran for a touchdown, and the Canes' defense limited Braden River (0-6, 0-1) to 10 yards of offense, including minus-18 rushing yards.

The Pirates head to Bayshore on Thursday.

Ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps and USA Today and No. 2 by Rivals and ESPN, the Hurricanes host Weston Cypress Bay on Friday. Cypress Bay entered Friday ranked ninth in the state in Class 8A.

"Our kids, they come out and they play," Kinnan said. "We practice hard, we're on a mission. One game at a time."

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