Prep football | Manatee Hurricanes trample Sarasota Sailors, win district championship

Manatee begins state title defense at home against Northeast in two weeks

jlembo@bradenton.comNovember 3, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Winning a district championship has its perks.

Just ask Joe Kinnan.

Manatee's head coach watched his Hurricanes coast past Sarasota 51-9 on Friday to clinch the Class 7A-District 10 crown, the 26th in program history and 25th under Kinnan, who took over in 1981.

That means Manatee (9-0, 3-0) opens the Region 3 playoffs at home Friday, Nov. 16, against St. Petersburg Northeast, the runner-up out of District 9.

A victory that night means the Canes will be home for the second round as well.

"I'm too old to get on that bus much," said Kinnan, whose Canes haven't lost a playoff game at Hawkins Stadium since 2005. "I like playing at home. It's a great atmosphere, it's a nice routine. Our kids are very comfortable in that atmosphere."

It didn't take long for Manatee to look comfortable Friday. Quarterback Cord Sandberg hit a streaking Brodrick Yancy for a 47-yard touchdown strike on the game's first play from scrimmage to give the Canes a 7-0 lead nine seconds into the game.

"I actually thought I underthrew it," Sandberg said. "I threw it, and I saw the defensive back put his hands up like he was going to make the catch, like it's going to fall right in his hands. ... Honestly, I throw it and hope for the best. That turned out OK."

A week after attempting just five passes against Palmetto, the Canes aired it out a bit more Friday, throwing for 245 yards.

Sandberg hooked up with Marquel Hines and Kelvin McKnight for touchdown passes, giving him 23 on the season to go along with just one interception.

"We tried to mix it up a little bit. ... We felt we needed to do some different things," Kinnan said. "We had a couple of drops."

Manatee's running game did damage as well. Marquis Dawsey, a four-year starter on the defensive line, bulldozed in from a yard out to score his third touchdown of the season, and Trevon Walters carried the ball five times but scored twice.

Every facet of the game scored for Manatee. After the defense recorded a safety by tackling Sarasota's Shawn Bane Jr. in the end zone during the third quarter, Darryl Brookins returned the free kick 66 yards for a touchdown.

Consequently, the Hurricanes walked back to the locker room with district championship T-shirts that filled a box near one of the end zones.

Manatee looks to go undefeated in the regular season for the second time in three tries Friday against visiting Lakewood Ranch before embarking on another playoff run.

"The senior class, we're going to try to finish the race," said Sandberg, a district champion during all three years of his varsity career. "Once the playoffs start, every game could be our last."

Sarasota is 3-6, 1-2 in the district.

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