Manatee High School’s prodigious offensive firepower was on full display, and the defense did just enough as the Hurricanes marched into the postseason in style, defeating host Newsome 63-41 on Friday night.
Manatee’s win locked up a second-place finish in Class 8A-District 6 behind Sarasota Riverview and secured a playoff berth for the eighth consecutive season.
“We knew it was going to be a tough one tonight,” Manatee coach John Booth said. “They were tough to put away, but all in all I’m happy to be continuing our season in the postseason.”
What looked like a blowout early turned out to be anything but. Manatee built a 29-0 lead but Newsome roared back, pulling within one score near the end of the third quarter.
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“We had them on the ropes,” Booth said. “But just couldn’t put them away.”
The Hurricanes’ (6-3, 5-1) offensive pace in the first half was dizzying. Manatee scored on all seven of its possessions — using 6:57 of game clock to do so — and building a 29-0 lead.
AJ Colagiovanni and Tarique Milton scored four times each in the half. Colagiovanni, who started the game 9 of 9, hit Milton on scoring strikes of 19, 17 and 67 yards. Milton also scored from 40 yards out on a direct snap.
“AJ’s has continued to get better all season,” Booth said.
Colagiovanni finished the night 24 of 31 for 373 yards and five touchdowns. Milton recorded a team-high 11 catches for 213 yards and five TDs.
“It makes it nice when you’re throwing to a guy like Tarique who can take a hitch and take it to the house,” Booth said. “Some of the runs after catch he had were lights out.”
If the first half belonged to Manatee, the third quarter was Newsome’s. The Wolves scored 20 unanswered points and pulled within eight, 49-41, on Newsome quarterback Drew Lindbeck’s 1-yard plunge with two minutes remaining in the quarter. That was as close as Newsome would get.
Meanwhile, Manatee’s defense struggled at times but had several key moments. Sir Williams pounced on a fumble on Newsome’s first play from scrimmage and four plays later, Keyon Fordham (13 carries for 135 yards) scored the first of his three TDs from six yards out to put Manatee up 15-0. Jaylen Striker thwarted a Wolves’ drive with an interception in the end zone while Frank Waiters and Tyler Choate each recorded sacks.
“We allowed them to score too many points,” Booth said. “Newsome is a great offense and we weren’t very disciplined and they made us pay.”
Manatee 63, Newsome 41
M — Tarique Martin 19 pass from AJ Colagiovanni (Daniel Reyna kick)
M — Keyon Fordham 6 run (Sir Williams run)
M — Milton 40 run (Reyna kick)
M — Fordham 8 run (Reyna kick)
N — Drew Lindbeck 1 run (Alec Hallman kick)
M — Shane Hooks 25 pass from Colagiovanni (Reyna kick)
N — Rece Hermida 85 pass from Lindbeck (Hallman kick)
M — Milton 17 pass from Colagiovanni (run fail)
N — Patrick Jolly 3 run (Hallman kick)
M — Milton 67 pass from Colagiovanni (Reyna kick)
N — Zach Kyle 1 run (Hallman kick)
N — Kyle 3 run (kick fail)
N — Lindbeck 1 run (Hallman kick)
M — Fordham 3 run (Reyna kick)
M — Milton 4 pass from Colagiovanni (Reyna kick)
Rushing: Manatee: Fordham 13-135, Colagiovanni 6-46, Milton 1-40, Scott Voltaire 2-18, Jadan Robinson 1-16, Jernard Porter 1-3, Javarius Pollock 2-(-3), Totals: 26-249.
Passing: Manatee: Colagiovanni 24-31-0-373, Totals: 24-31-0-373.
Receiving: Manatee: Milton 11-213, Pollock 8-70, Xavier Stuart 1-42, Hooks 2-30, Fordham 2-18 Totals: 24-373.