Just when Manatee’s defense thought the horror of Alabama was behind them it reared its ugly head again.
Only the color of the uniform was different. Instead of Hewitt-Trussville pouring 78 points onto the Hurricanes defense, host Venice jumped out to a 35-point halftime lead and cruised to a 42-7 victory Friday night in a non-district game.
Manatee head football coach John Booth didn’t want to use the excuse that his team played an emotional game Monday night and Venice had been off for nearly two weeks. The Indians definitely looked like the well rested team and were motivated by eight straight losses Manatee had strung on them.
“I am sure that played a part. You are coming off a game with three days rest and they had two weeks rest and that definitely played into it, but we are trying to teach our guys to play through adversity and overcoming some of those things and we’ve just got to do a better job.”
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Besides the defensive failures, for the second straight game Manatee’s offense sputtered. The Canes only had four first downs in the first half and two were via Venice penalties.
Manatee was also basically without running back Josh Booker, who only carried the ball one time because of a bad ankle. The Canes rushed 13 times for a total of 16 yards.
Venice led 35-0 at halftime, which forced a running clock in the third quarter, marking the first time in the history of the Canes’ storied program that they were on the wrong end of that situation.
“Our offense couldn’t get untracked. (Venice) did a nice job,” Booth said. “We had some opportunities, but kind of stumbled. Josh has a hurt ankle that was pretty swollen. I didn’t know if he was going to go tonight. We weren’t in position because of his health to run a lot and then we got down early and it forced us to throw a little bit more than we were planning to do.”
For the second time in three games, Canes defenders seemed out of position on a lot of plays and were guilty of poor tackling.
“We didn’t tackle well at all,” Booth said. “We shifted from three-man fronts to five man fronts and we didn’t set the edge very well.”
Manatee’s only touchdown came in the third quarter when Tarique Milton scored on a 62-yard pass from A.J. Colagiovanni, who struggled on the night.
Who: Tampa Alonso at Manatee
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium, Bradenton
Radio: 930 AM/103.1 FM