BNumbers can be deceiving.
Just ask Cord Sandberg.
Manatee’s senior quarterback needed just one half to throw for 264 yards and three touchdowns in engineering the Hurricanes’ 49-7 rout of Riverview on Friday in the Ram Bowl.
Manatee (2-0) entered the game ranked No.1 in the nation by USA Today and MaxPreps, and No.3 by Rivals.
“It was kind of sloppy,” Sandberg said. “You can always do better.”
The Hurricanes playing better than they did Friday is a scary thought, especially since it marked the 11th straight day Manatee either played or practiced in the wake of Sunday’s season-opener against Miramar.
Sandberg completed 21 of 25 attempts, threw touchdowns to three different receivers and ran one in himself. He spent the second half on the sideline, watching backups Brodrick Yancy and Chase Richardson run the offense.
“We were able to put some stuff together and score,” Sandberg said. “The numbers are better than what it felt. It’s weird. It felt sloppy for some reason.”
Sandberg was stuck on one of his completions, an attempted bubble screen that came up short, and an awkward pitch to running back Trevon Walters that resulted in a 5-yard loss.
But there was more to revel in than regret. Sandberg completed 15 of 16 passes at one point, connecting with receivers Ja Juan Pollock (eight catches, 83 yards), Yancy (five catches,92 yards) and Marquel Hines (two catches, 28 yards) on a regular basis.
Each caught a touchdown during Manatee’s 28-point second quarter.
“We’re not greedy – we’re going to take what you give us,” said Canes coach Joe Kinnan. “Cord’s a heady player, he’s going to get it to the right people and make good decisions.”
The defense pitched in, as well. Linebacker Raland Brewer’s fumble recovery following a 13-yard catch by Rams’ receiver Richie James help set up Anthony Lauro’s 1-yard touchdown run with 3:47 left in the first quarter.
Derrick Calloway and Blake Keller each registered a sack, and linebacker John McElfresh recovered a fumbled Riverview kickoff and ran it in 8 yards for a touchdown 2:10 before halftime. Darian Mabrey knocked the ball loose.
“We’re a little bit fatigued,” Kinnan said. “But we’re a very talented football team with a lot of depth.”
Manatee host Miami Central next week. The Rockets began the year ranked first in the country by USA Today before they lost to Grayson (Ga.) during the first week of the season.