Despite injury problems, Lakewood Ranch is 3-1 heading into tonight’s showdown with unbeaten Manatee. Can the Mustangs pull off the upset?
Here’s how the matchup breaks down.
Who: Lakewood Ranch (3-1) at Manatee (3-0)
Where: Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium
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When: 7:30 p.m.
On the air: 1490 WWPR-AM, 7 p.m.
Scouting Lakewood Ranch: The injury bug that has bitten their quarterbacks hasn’t bothered the Mustangs too much — they have won two straight and behind junior Zack Larson, a converted safety. He has received help from senior Harrison Skokos, a burgeoning playmaker who scored three touchdowns last week and has five overall. Running back Taryn Laws (391 rushing yards, 3 TDs) is a threat, as well, and he will need Lakewood Ranch’s big offensive line to give him some room to run against Manatee’s stacked front four. Defensively, the Mustangs have to play better in the secondary after allowing an average of nearly 165 yards of passing per week of their first four games.
Scouting Manatee: The Hurricanes had a bye last week, but are still a bit banged up and will be without defensive back Clinton Heaven (jaw) and wide receiver Anthony Lauro (knee) tonight. But running back Mike Blakely (437 rushing yards, 9 TDs) has been as good as advertised, as has receiver Quenton Bundrage (15 catches, 5 TDs), who may see even more action tonight without Lauro, a sophomore who has 14 catches this season. As prolific as Manatee has been, the offense has fumbled during the opening drive during the first three weeks, a trend coach Joe Kinnan wants stopped immediately. Wants he wants to see more of is a defense that blanked Southeast in the second half during Week 3 after allowing the Seminoles 24 points in the first half.
The score: Manatee 31, Lakewood Ranch 17.