A look at the 2010 Manatee football team, coached by Joe Kinnan.
NEEDS A BIG SEASON FROM: QUENTON BUNDRAGE, sr., WR
Running back Mike Blakely has garnered nearly 40 scholarship offers and sophomore quarterback Cord Sandberg already finds himself on a number of Division I radars. But a big cog in Manatee’s offensive machine will be Bundrage, the lanky wide receiver who made the most out of his first season as a starter last year. A senior, Bundrage had 46 catches for 800 yards, and topped his year by grabbing a game-high six receptions during the Class 5A state final against Tampa Plant. Consequently, Bundrage has merited offers himself, with schools such as Louisville and Cincinnati clamoring for his services. That said, Manatee needs another big year from its big man if the Hurricanes hope to get back to Orlando. Bundrage will provide a big target for Sandberg, who despite all his promise, has yet to start a regular-season varsity game. And his playmaking ability — Bundrage led Manatee’s receiving corps with 11 touchdowns last year — will keep teams from crowding the box against the dynamic Blakely. The Hurricanes have seen two of their receivers — Eric Williams and Ace Sanders — sign Division I scholarships in consecutive years, and if Bundrage can approach his prolific junior year, there is no reason why he cannot be a third. Most importantly, however, a productive Bundrage will help Manatee’s offense stay as prolific as it was last season.
FILLING THE VOID: CORD SANDBERG, so., QB
Never miss a local story.
Perhaps no player in the area is filling bigger shoes than Sandberg, who takes over for Brion Carnes, a four-year starter now at Nebraska. Sandberg is a legacy at Manatee — his father, Chuck, is a longtime assistant, and Cord’s older brother, Chase, is entering his third season on the varsity roster — so he is familiar with the expectations and history. Cord, who quarterbacked Manatee’s JV team to an undefeated season last year, looked good in the spring game, when he completed 21 of 24 passes and threw five TDs against Palm Bay Bayside in his first varsity start,
DEEP AT: Defensive line
Kinnan doesn’t like to use the word deep to describe any of Manatee’s positions, but he likes the interior line play of Quinton Pompey and Drakkar Wilson, who teamed for 16 sacks and 144 tackles last season and helped solidify a line that got better as the year progressed.
THIN AT: Offense
Though Blakely and Bundrage are established playmakers, there is not much experience beyond them on the depth chart, and the offensive line lost key pieces such as Brandon Persinger and Ryan Brown to graduation. Blakely is also the team’s No. 2 quarterback, which means Manatee won’t be able to use him as a running back or receiver whenever he slides under center.
IMPACT NEWCOMER: ANTHONY LAURO, so., RB/WR
One of two sophomores starting on offense, Lauro will play wide receiver while occasionally joining Blakely in the backfield. A starter on the JV team last year, Lauro got a late bump to the varsity team, where he totaled 127 yards on nine carries while scoring a touchdown.
COACH QUANDRY: Which defense will show up?
The Hurricanes gave up 41 points against Palm Bay Bayside during the spring game, though Kinnan expects only four of those players to be playing the same positions when the season starts. “The people we lined up in the spring was not a very good defensive football team,” he said. “I’m curious to see how good this defense (will be). We can’t give up six touchdowns in a game and expect to beat many people.”
CAMP STOCK: UP
Even though different players are in charge, Kinnan likes the leadership shown by the seniors, which was a key ingredient to last year’s run, as well as the effort, pace and tempo he has seen during practices.
CAMP STOCK: DOWN
Kinnan hopes Manatee gets into better shape and would like to see crisper play out of the offensive line and secondary. “We’re still making some mental errors,” he said, “but we’re getting better where we know what our responsibilities are.”
KEY GAME: Oct. 29 at Venice
The Indians have won the last three meetings, a trend Manatee must stop if the Canes hope to win their first district title since 2006.
Sept. 4 at Woodland Hills (Pa.)
Sept. 10 PALMETTO
Sept. 17 at Southeast
Oct. 1 LAKEWOOD RANCH
Oct. 8 SARASOTA
Oct. 15 at Braden River
Oct. 22 at Riverview
Oct. 29 at Venice
Nov. 5 NORTH PORT
Nov. 12 BOOKER
BAYSHORE W, 45-0
at Palmetto W, 35-3
SOUTHEAST W, 30-26
at Lakewood Ranch W, 35-14
at Sarasota W, 35-20
BRADEN RIVER W, 14-7
RIVERVIEW W, 27-16
VENICE L, 43-29
at North Port W, 71-0
at Booker W, 42-7
CLASS 5A PLAYOFFS
at St. Pete Gibbs W, 52-15
ST. PETERSBURG W, 21-7
at Palm Bay Bayside W, 31-14
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS W, 28-20
vs. Tampa Plant (at Florida Citrus Bowl) L, 21-14
BY THE NUMBERS
0 — Regular-season games Manatee lost on the road last year.
483 — Combined wins for Kinnan and Woodland Hills coach George Novak.
9 — Games in which the Hurricanes scored at least 30 points in 2009.
ON THE WEB: www.bradenton.com/Manatee
HEAD COACH: Joe Kinnan, 26th season, 240-67