Prep football | Manatee Hurricanes have short week to prepare for rival Venice Indians

Here comes rival Venice in short week for Manatee

jlembo@bradenton.comSeptember 6, 2013 

BRADENTON -- It wasn't long after their airplane pulled into its gate at Tampa International Airport that the Manatee Hurricanes found themselves back at Hawkins Stadium.

First was a 25-minute trip to the weight room. Then it was on to the field for a brisk half-hour workout.

There was time to waste when you have a short week to prepare for a quality opponent.

But Hurricanes coach Joe Kinnan said his Hurricanes handled the situation well in preparation for Friday night's regular-season home opener against Venice.

The Canes opened the season Sunday in College Park, Md., where they defeated Gilman, a Baltimore-based charter school, 44-14. They returned to Florida on Monday afternoon, giving the players three full practice days to ready themselves for the Indians, who beat Palmetto 32-7 last Friday and are ranked seventh in Class 6A.

But rain and lightning cut into Wednesday's workout, adding even more intrigue into a bizarre week.

"We had a little bit of rain (Wednesday), so we had to cut our practice a little bit short," Kinnan said following Thursday's workout, "but we stayed out a little longer (Thursday) to make up for it."

Manatee, ranked first in the state in Class 8A, had to work through a similar situation last year when it opened the season Sunday afternoon against Miramar. But that game began at 2 p.m. and was played in Bradenton.

"We put in the same amount of minutes that we put in last year," Kinnan said, "during a five-day week."

The Hurricanes left Maryland a little dinged up. Quarterback Josh Meyer and wide receiver/backup quarterback Brodrick Yancy missed series with ankle injuries, while running back Trevon Walters hurt his ankles and lost a chunk of his left pointer finger when it got caught between two helmets during a third-quarter touchdown run.

On Thursday, Kinnan said he expects everyone to play against the Indians, though game-time decisions could come into play, especially because Friday's game is a non-district affair that has no bearing on either team's bid for the postseason.

Manatee and Venice have competed in the same district every year since Kinnan returned to the Hurricanes sideline in 2005 and met in the playoffs the past three years, with the Canes winning the past six meetings.

"Right now, we think everybody will be able to play," he said. "We may see how pregame goes. Some people who are not quite 100 percent; we'll see if we want to hold them back for emergency."

Walters, who rushed for 109 yards on 17 carries last week, said he expects to play after taking most of the week off to heal.

"I practiced, so I should be ready to go," he said. "When we played Fort Pierce Central (in last year's regional final), I didn't practice that week, either, and I fumbled the first play of the game. I'm not doing that this year."

A short and interesting week behind them, the Hurricanes now prepare for the Indians. And while winning the game is paramount, Kinnan knows staying healthy is the key.

"We don't want someone to end up with a lingering injury," he said, "but we should have everybody ready to go, hopefully."

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