Prep football | Manatee Hurricanes rout St. Petersburg Northeast to open state title defense

New season, same result: Hurricanes rout Vikings

jlembo@bradenton.comNovember 17, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Manatee's postseason debut looked much like its regular-season resumé Friday night.

It was offense, offense and more offense at Hawkins Stadium, where the Hurricanes blitzed past St. Petersburg Northeast 65-12 during a Class 7A-Region 3 quarterfinal.

Consequently, they'll spend Thanksgiving morning practicing, which is just the way coach Joe Kinnan wants it.

"That's been the tradition around here," he said.

So has winning. Manatee (11-0) stretched its winning streak to 24 and hasn't lost a playoff game at home since 2005. The Hurricanes will look to pad that mark Nov. 23 when they host Venice in a Region 3 semifinal. The Indians, who have dropped five straight to Manatee, defeated Largo Pinellas Park 31-21 on Friday.

Ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN, MaxPreps and USA Today, the Hurricanes were as prolific Friday night as they were during the season, when they averaged more than 50 points per game.

Quarterback Cord Sandberg completed all 11 pass attempts during the first half -- he didn't take a snap after halftime -- and fired touchdown strikes to Trevon Walters, Ja Juan Pollock and Kelvin McKnight.

Sandberg threw for 204 yards and ran in a touchdown, as well.

The Canes got a scare during the first half when Walters, their leading rusher during the regular season, left the game with an ankle injury. He walked off the field on his own power but was wearing a walking boot after the game.

Kinnan said Walters will undergo a precautionary X-ray.

Even without its top running back, however, Manatee hummed. Freshman Johnnie Lang scored on an 18-yard shovel pass from backup quarterback Josh Meyer in the third quarter, and Meyer ran one in from 18 yards during the period.

Meyer also hit Brodrick Yancy for a 61-yard score and rushed for a team-high 36 yards.

Defensively, the Canes' line got to Northeast quarterback Ryan Davis for seven sacks in an performance reminiscent of last year's Class 7A state final.

"It was opening up," said defensive end Marquis Dawsey, who sacked Davis in the end zone for

a safety and added a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. "We were getting a good push in the middle by Derrick (Calloway) and (DeMarcus) Christmas, and once they were coming from the outside blitzing, we just tried to collapse him, tried to keep him contained, because he was a fast quarterback."

Senior defensive back Darrian Mabry ran back an interception 30 yards for an score.

The Hurricanes will meet the Indians in the playoffs for a third straight year. And unless Stuart Martin County defeats Fort Pierce Central in the other Region 3 semifinal, Friday marks Manatee's final home game of the season, regardless of the outcome.

It also will serve as the final home game for guys like Dawsey, a four-year starter.

"I've thought about a little bit, but I try not to," he said. "It's going to be our last home game, so we're going to get the crowd turned up, and we're going to try to put on a show."

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