BRADENTON -- Friday was supposed to serve as Manatee's homecoming.
It was also supposed to be the night the Hurricanes added a few wrinkles to an offense that has become reliant on the run.
A steady and heavy rain dampened both of those plans. What the wet weather didn't alter, however, was Manatee's hot streak as the Hurricanes zipped past visiting Sarasota 38-3 in front of a sparse, umbrella-wielding crowd.
It was the third straight win for Manatee (3-1) and its 49th straight in the regular season against Florida opponents.
Once again, this one featured a whole lot of Johnnie Lang.
Manatee's junior running back accounted for 192 rushing yards and three touchdowns. His arm even got into the act when his 12-yard jump pass to Lorenz Allen gave the Hurricanes a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.
"We were hoping to spread the ball out a little bit more around the perimeter. We liked some of the matchups that we had," said Manatee head coach John Booth, whose team threw the ball five times. "But obviously with the rain, that kind of neutralized what we were able to do offensively."
Lang spent most of the night lining up in the wildcat and had a hand in 31 of Manatee's 47 offensive plays.
"It was like throwing a wet bar of soap, so you've got to rely on your run game," Booth said. "Fortunately, we've got a pretty talented guy to rely on."
Manatee's defense was
powered by defensive lineman Kwanzi Jackson, who collected three sacks. But the unit's biggest series came late in the third quarter, when the Sailors trimmed their deficit to 17-3 and got the ball back when Lang fumbled on Manatee's 49.
A 42-yard reception by Dakota Cotner advanced the ball to the 7. Sarasota got as far as the 1 before Matt Mackey stuffed running back Justin Austin for a 4-yard loss on third down, and Jumar Gaskin blocked Billy Sadlo's 23-yard field goal attempt.
"Certainly proud of their effort," Booth said, "and the work that they did (Friday)."
Despite the wet and windy conditions, Manatee kicker Nick Null booted a 31-yard field goal and accounted for three touchbacks.
"It was pretty tough," Null said. "Just the rain in general, and then you have that crosswind. All in all, I just stuck my plant foot in."
Kelvin McKnight scored on a 60-yard punt return during the game's final seconds for Manatee, which has won 26 straight games at home.
Manatee heads to Southeast next week.