BRADENTON -- When crafting Manatee's non-district schedule, coach Joe Kinnan went out looking for a challenge.
But it when it comes to playing the non-district schedule, the Hurricanes venerable head coach is looking to win.
The Canes accomplished both Friday night, when they outlasted Washington, D.C.'s Friendship Collegiate Academy 23-13 at Hawkins Stadium.
"They've got good athletes, and we knew that going in," Kinnan said of the Knights. "We said we wanted to play somebody that's got athletes like Miramar, like Miami Central - like the teams you're going to play in the playoffs."
Once again, Manatee (3-0) slipped coming out of the gate. Quarterback Josh Meyer's shovel pass was intercepted on the Canes' third play from scrimmage, giving Friendship the ball on Manatee's 22.
After the Knights turned the ball over on downs, Meyer was intercepted again, putting the ball on Manatee's 14. Friendship capitalized this time and took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback DeAndre Parker.
Meyer was pulled for two series in favor of Brodrick Yancy, who engineered an impressive second-quarter drive that was quelled when a bad snap ruined Austin Snowden's field-goal attempt.
But Meyer returned to score on a 3-yard touchdown run less than eight minutes before half to slice the Knights' lead to 7-6, and a 32-yard field goal by Snowden gave the Canes a 9-7 lead heading into half.
Meyer ran for a team-high 72 yards and made the biggest play of the night - a 21-yard completion to Marquel Hines on a 3rd-and-long from the Knights' 23 with Manatee leading 16-13. After a pair of Friendship penalties put the ball inside the 1, Meyer's second touchdown of the night gave the Canes a 23-13 lead with 5:17 left in the game.
"He settled down and he played well," Kinnan said of Meyer, who threw for 168 yards. "After he went back in, he played pretty doggone good."
The same could be said for Manatee's defense, which limited Jonathan Haden, the Knights' Arizona-bound running back, to 35 yards on 10 carries.
A fumble recovery by Ryan Fines set up Manatee's first score of the night and the Canes sacked Parker three times.
"With the scout team, we kept going over plays, and if we got it wrong, we kept going over it again," said defensive lineman Demarcus Christmas, who had a sack. "They told us (the Knights) had a great running back, so we had to go 150 percent this week."
The Canes face a more traditional Friday when they head to Sarasota to play the Sailors.
"I think we're going to get healthier. Brodrick was probably 80, 85 percent," Kinnan said.
"Hopefully we came out of this one unscathed and we're ready to go."