VALDOSTA, GA. -- Two big scoreboards, more than 10,000 seats and a field lined with artificial turf.
Martin Stadium, aka The Concrete Palace was where Manatee High School made its regular-season debut Friday night.
Alas, things didn't go well for the Hurricanes, who lost 23-7 to the Ware County Gators. It was the first regular-season defeat for Manatee since 2011, a span of 29 games.
Tampa Plant took on Lowndes High, which is Martin Stadium's regular tenant, in the doubleheader's second game that began at 9 p.m. Friday. According to school personnel, more than 7,000 tickets were sold for what was named the South Georgia Classic.
"It was a good trip, said 'Canes coach John Booth. " ... You're playing against great competition, and a great crowd. It was a great experience. "Obviously, (if) we come out with a win, it would have been an even-better experience."
Week 2 of the prep football season in Southwest Florida resumes Friday.