Prep football | Manatee Hurricanes storm past Gilman Greyhounds in Maryland, 44-14

Hurricanes storm past Greyhounds in Maryland

jlembo@bradenton.com.September 2, 2013 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Trevon Walters sat on a training table set up on Manatee's sideline Sunday night.

He had ice wrapped around each of his ankles and another on one of the fingers on his left hand.

And he was smiling.

There was no more of an emblematic sight for the Hurricanes, who opened the season with a 44-14 win over Gilman, Md., in a game played at Captial One Field at Byrd Stadium on the campus of the University of Maryland.

Manatee (1-0) left the stadium a little banged up -- Walters, wide receiver Brodrick Yancy and quarterback Josh Meyer all suffered ankle injuries, and Walters sustained a gruesome injury to the tip of his left pointer finger - but very happy.

Entering the half up 17-14 after committing a series of costly penalties, ruining their first drive with a fumble inside Gilman's 5-yard line and squandering a chance to add points after getting the ball to Gilman's 19 just before half, the Canes were efficient and opportunistic in the second half.

And Gilman (1-1), which upset nationally ranked Our Lady of Good Counsel last week, had no answer for any of it.

"We quit making the mistakes," said Canes coach Joe Kinnan. "We told them at halftime, 'We don't have to do anything different. We've just got to eliminate some of the mistakes.' We forced some turnovers and got field position."

The tone was set early in the second half when a high snapped sailed over the head of Gilman quarterback Kai Locksley and was recovered on the Greyhounds' 14 by Manatee defensive lineman Demarcus Christmas.

Two plays later, Walters chugged 16 yards for his second touchdown of the game. Despite missing most of the fourth quarter, the Missouri-bound senior finished with 109 yards on 17 carries.

"If we would've gotten hurt again, he would have missed two weeks," Kinnan said, explaining why Walters sat.

Gilman got inside Manatee's 20 on its next drive, but fumbled again. This time, it was Jarquevis Laughlin who fell on it at the 18, and Manatee engineered an 82-yard scoring drive capped by Johnnie Lang's 3-yard touchdown run.

A sophomore, Lang spelled Walters for most of the second half and rushed for a game-high 131 yards on 15 carries.

Meyer, who missed two series during the first half with a right ankle injury -- Yancy, his back up, threw a touchdown before suffering an injury himself -- rebounded to run for 94 yards and pass for 123 in his first regular-season varsity start.

"It hurt pretty bad, but I had to tough it out," said Meyer, who also overcame a first-quarter fumble. "I'm in Maryland. This happens very rarely. I wanted to come in and play."

With the Temple-bound Yancy out -- both Kinnan and Yancy think he'll be all right for Friday's game against Venice -- Kelvin McKnight became Meyer's top target.

The cousin of Manatee grad and current Jacksonville Jaguar Ace Sanders, McKnight grabbed 12 catches for 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

"Coaches started getting me the ball, getting me more involved, so I had to make big plays," he said. "It gives us confidence. We came in at halftime, got a good pep talk, all of our leaders started to get involved and we answered back real hard. You see the score."

Manatee has a short week before Friday's home game against Venice, but Kinnan thinks the guys who were banged up will play.

And Sunday's result made most of the pain worth it.

"It was a great experience. I'm happy," Meyer said, glancing at the scoreboard. "Wow -- 30 points. It feels awesome, especially coming here and beating them on their turf."

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