Prep football | Manatee Hurricanes blow past Sarasota Sailors with running attack

Manatee starts quickly, cruises to 4-0

jlembo@bradenton.comSeptember 21, 2013 

— If there was blemish on Manatee's perfect start to the 2013 football season, it was the Hurricanes' string of slow starts.

Fumbling inside the 5-yard line during the opening drive against Gilman, Md.

Falling into a two-touchdown hole against Venice.

Interceptions on consecutive throws last week against Washington, D.C.'s Friendship Collegiate Academy.

It was a malady Manatee wanted to cure. And Friday night at Ihrig Field, the Hurricanes found the elixir during a 66-7 peppering of rival Sarasota.

Quarterback Josh Meyer got the scoring off early when he sliced through the Sailors' defense en route to a 33-yard touchdown. It was the first time this season Manatee scored on its opening possession, and it came just 73 seconds after kickoff.

"We've worked on trying to get out of the gate better," Hurricanes coach Joe Kinnan said. "We showed that we're a good football team."

And a deep one. The Hurricanes totaled 514 yards of offense while two Division I commits, running back Trevon Walters (Missouri) and wide receiver Brodrick Yancy (Temple) missed the game with ankle sprains.

In their place were guys such as Johnnie Lang, a sophomore who began showing flashes of potential last year. Lang needed just 11 carries to stockpile a game-high 174 rushing yards and added electrifying touchdown runs of 45 and 18 yards.

Lang took up so much of Sarasota's attention that when Meyer faked a handoff his way during the first play of the second quarter, the quarterback jogged 15 yards into the touchdown without any semblance of a threat.

"It's great watching him play," wide receiver Marquel Hines said of Lang, "because I see what he does now and I can only imagine what he's going to do in the next two years."

Hines added a 17-yard touchdown run himself during Manatee's 42-point second quarter, which also included two scores from Octavious James, and one each by Meyer, Lang and Kelvin McKnight.

"We've really been running the ball a lot, but now we're trying to open all of us up to get things right," said Hines, who led Manatee with four receptions Friday. "Josh is starting to settle in and do what he does best."

Though Manatee's defense had a hard time corralling Sailors wide receiver Shawn Bane Jr. (eight catches, 151 yards), the Hurricanes pressured quarterback Caulin McNeal into throwing a pair of interceptions. And Sarasota was limited to 11 rushing yards on 18 carries.

"They did a good job," Kinnan said of the defense. "(Sarasota) had a couple long passes they were able to hit, and we did much better after that. We basically shut down their running game; they couldn't run the football."

Manatee hosts archrival Southeast next week. The Seminoles got their first win of the season Friday against Bayshore.

"I said, 'Don't count coach (Paul) Maechtle out,'" Kinnan said. "They'll give us their best shot. We've got a good football team. We've got good players who play hard, we're strong, we're physical and we hope to keep getting better.".

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