Visit to Pentagon memorial part of Manatee Hurricanes football team's trip

jlembo@bradenton.comSeptember 3, 2013 

WASHINGTON -- Manatee got what it wanted during its trip to the Washington, D.C., area: A season-opening win over Gilman, a private school out of Baltimore.

But before their 44-14 victory over the Greyhounds on Sunday night at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., the Hurricanes spent the morning at the Pentagon's Sept. 11 memorial, located a quick walk from the team's hotel in Arlington, Va.

Joining Manatee on the tour was Col. Ed Fleming, who attended West Point with Frank Brunner, a Manatee grad and former Hurricane who has accompanied the team on all three of its out-of-state trips.

Fleming, who also spoke to the team Sunday morning at the hotel, pointed out where hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 impacted the Pentagon as well as some of the memorial's symbolic pieces.

For example, the wall around the memorial begins at three inches high in memory of 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg, the youngest of the 184 victims who died either on the flight or while working in the Pentagon that day. The wall's highest point is 71 inches to honor 71-year-old John D. Yamincky, the eldest of the victims.

The Pentagon tour came a day after the Hurricanes spent most of Saturday afternoon exploring downtown Washington as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

"It was beautiful. Good history," said wide receiver Kelvin McKnight. "That's why they gave us the stars and stripes (on Manatee's uniform) -- to represent all the soldiers that died. It was a great trip."

Meyer's maturation

Josh Meyer's regular-season debut as a varsity quarterback got off to a dubious start: He fumbled inside Gilman's 5-yard line following a long first-quarter run before suffering an ankle injury that cost him two series during the second quarter.

"In the first half," said coach Joe Kinnan, "we had one series where he ran the wrong way twice."

But Meyer rebounded to rush for 94 yards while throwing for 123 and a touchdown pass, and ran for 35 yards during the game's pivotal third quarter.

"A little bit of nerves," Kinnan said, "and adversity. But you've got to be able to overcome adversity, and that's what our kids did.

"(Meyer) played really good."

Though he acknowledged his left ankle was sore after the game, Meyer said he plans to play Friday when the Hurricanes host Venice.

"Just ice it down and rest it," he said. "I'll be ready for Venice."

Yancy plans to play, too

Manatee nearly lost both its quarterbacks when Brodrick Yancy, who went in under center following Meyer's injury, suffered an ankle injury of his own.

A receiver who has committed to Temple, Yancy was 3-of-4 passing and teamed with McKnight on a 15-yard touchdown pass before getting hurt.

He didn't return after halftime (McKnight starred in his place, nabbing 12 catches for 94 yards and a pair of scores), but said he'll be fine for Friday's game against the Indians.

Kinnan agreed.

"Brodrick should be OK," he said.

Running back Trevon Walters totaled 109 yards on 17 carries and scored twice, but missed most of the second half with ankle injuries.

He also tore off part of the top a finger on his left hand when he got it caught between two helmets during a 16-yard third-quarter touchdown run.

"We just felt we needed to hold him out," said Kinnan, adding he thinks Walters should be OK for Friday.

Kinnan said Walters' ankles were of greater concern Friday.

"Trevon, had he got hurt again, he might have missed two weeks."

Sophomore Johnnie Lang gobbled up 131 yards on 15 carries, and Manatee finished with 323 rushing yards.

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