BRADENTON -- Moments after his offense scored enough points to engineer yet another running clock, Manatee coach Joe Kinnan heaped some praise to the guys on the other side of the ball.
"Defense, shutout. Great job," Kinnan said to his players before leading them in a round of applause.
This has the makings of a weekly ritual. The Hurricanes opened Class 8A-District 7 play with a 47-0 win over Riverview (2-2, 0-1), marking Manatee's second consecutive shutout.
The Canes (6-0, 1-0) have gone 10 straight quarters without allowing a point, and the defense has allowed four touchdowns over the past five games, and six overall.
"That's hard to do," Kin
nan said. "I don't care who (you're) playing. They're a district opponent, and that's hard, to shut somebody out."
Manatee allowed 131 total yards, but nearly half of those of came on a nutty play in the second quarter when defensive lineman Demarcus Christmas batted down a pass thrown by Rams quarterback Richie James. The ball went right back to James, who turned it into a 54-yard game.
Karan Higdon, who ran for 464 yards during Riverview's first three games, had minus-6 yards on six carries Friday.
"That was their best play of the night," Kinnan said of James' big run.
The venerable head coach had more to choose from when it came to his offense, which scored on its first play from scrimmage on a 45-yard reverse from Brodick Yancy.
Marquel Hines set up the play with a 50-yard kickoff return.
The Hurricanes floored it during a 27-point second quarter, which featured two touchdowns from running back Trevon Walters (10 carries, 94 yards) and two that involved quarterback Josh Meyer.
The junior ran in an 8-yarder himself 6:10 before half and connected with Kelvin McKnight for a 30-yard strike roughly four minutes later.
Meyer threw for 169 yards and rushed for 64.
The defense made it stand up, and hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher this season -- though James (21 carries, 93 yards) came close to reaching that mark.
"We've learned to communicate with each other like we were last year," said Christmas, who was crowned homecoming king during halftime, "so now we've developed the communcation part."
Manatee takes a break from district play next week when the Hurricanes head to Palmetto.
"They and Southeast are the only two people in the county who wanted to step and play us," Kinnan said. "I'm sure they're going to play better than they did last year."