BRADENTON -- They started piling in at around 6 p.m.
By the time kickoff rolled around, the visiting side was filled.
Early in the first quarter, Hawkins Stadium was filled to capacity. Fans who couldn't find seats crowded on the hill behind the scoreboard, while others clustered along the fences and filled the walkways.
This is what happens when two of the best teams in the state meet on a Friday night in Manatee County.
It was Manatee vs. Palmetto at Hawkins Stadium.
It was 7-0 vs. 7-0.
Palmetto, the top-ranked team in Class 5A.
Manatee, the top-ranked team in Class 7A, and the nation, according to ESPN, MaxPreps and USA Today.
An estimated 8,000 fans stuffed the venerable stadium in downtown Bradenton, catching a glimpse of two teams looking to make deep runs in the postseason.
By halftime, however, it was all Manatee.
Behind star quarterback Cord Sandberg, the Hurricanes took a 41-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, a stunning score for a game that could go a long way toward claiming area bragging rights.
One side of the stadium was loud. The other was quiet.
But despite the score, everyone was headed back to their seats for the third quarter.
There was more football to be played.
The hottest ticket in town still had two quarters left. And a huge crowd to witness the finale.
Manatee didn't let up in the second half. Trevon Walters hugged the far sideline, sprinting 79 yards for a touchdown on the Hurricanes' first play.
In the end, the scoreboard told the tale -- 62-0 -- solidifying the Hurricanes' standing in the polls.