HOOVER, Ala. -- Manatee head football coach John Booth is looking for playmakers not heroes.
Addressing his team after it finished practice Thursday at Hoover Met Stadium, a big concern for Booth was some of his players will try to do too much.
They will be in a hostile environment Friday night playing host Hoover, the most successful high school football team in Alabama state history.
"Anytime you have a big game, the setting becomes a factor and you tend to have guys who want to make the big play and make a big play every single down," Booth said. "You overdo that and you get yourself out of position and try to compensate for somebody else, and that's when bad things happen."
Helping to ease Booth's concern is safety Travon Rumph. A three-year starter, the senior is the one solid rock Manatee has in its secondary and person the coaching staff can count on in turbulent times.
"He has a lot of big games under his belt, and he's seen everything you can pretty much see for a high school player," Booth said. "The game is never too big for him, and when everything is kind of going crazy, he can be the person who calms
everybody down and gets everybody in the right place."
This is the third out-of-state game in three years against a nationally touted opponent for Rumph, and he pushing his teammates to take advantage of the opportunity.
"I tell our guys you play for Manatee. You get to ride on planes and stay in hotels with your teammates and that is a great experience," Rumph said. "Hoover has won three state championships in a row and that is impressive. They are a great team, but it's nothing different than what we know. We need to come together. You want to do your best."
On the offensive side of the ball, Booth is telling his kids to play within themselves. He wants quarterback A.J. Colagiovanni to get the ball into the hands of Manatee's playmakers and not try to force throws.
The top playmaker for Manatee is Kavious Price. He can score from any place on the field, which he showed last week scoring touchdowns on a snap from the wildcat, a pass reception and a return.
Price respects Hoover, but is never in awe of any opponent. He feels confident the Canes can make a game of it if they do the right things.
"We compete regardless of what the name is on the other uniform, but this game is a good way to put the name of your team on the map. It's for bragging rights pretty much all over the country," Price said.
Though he is looking for victory, Booth can't deny the game will help his team during the season, particularly in the playoffs.
"We are going to play on the road in some tough situations this year and hopefully if we get to the postseason, you are going to have to win on the road and the state championship game is going to be on the road," Booth said. "We have to be able to put ourselves in adverse situations in front of hostile crowds and be able to still execute on a high level. This is one of those opportunities that will help our kids prepare for that.
"This game is about who executes the best and takes care of the football and doesn't have missed assignments and turnovers. If we can control what we can control I like where we are at."