28 at Hoover (Ala)#
4 at Palmetto
11 LINCOLN (Tallahassee)
18 at Alonso (Tampa)*
2 at Steinbrenner (Lutz)*
9 PALM HARBOR*
16 at Riverview (Sarasota)*
23 at Riverview (Riverview)*
30 NEWSOME (Lithia)*
Games start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted
#- 8 p.m. game; *Class 8A-6
Overall Season 12-2; 3-0 8A-7
at Ware County (Ga.) L 23-7
SANFORD SEMINOLE W 37-20
NAPLES W 31-19
SARASOTA W 38-3
at Southeast W 39-26
at Riverview W 49-7
PALMETTO W 31-12
ST. PETERSBURG W 52-31
at Palm Harbor W 35-0
at Venice W 10-0
FT. PIERCE CENTRAL W 28-20
VERO BEACH W 47-28
at Dr. Phillips (Orlando) W 24-21
at Apopka L 45-14
John Booth (2nd year; 12-2)
Manatee will be without standout running back Johnnie Lang for the first half of the season and
possibly for the year due to legal issues. However, the Canes are loaded with a veteran offensive line, the versatile Kavious Price and much improved A.J. Colagiovanni at quarterback. The defense returns POY Kwanzi Jackson and a talented secondary. Nobody in this district appears capable of beating out the Hurricanes, who should make their seventh straight postseason appearance.
SIR WILLIAMS, soph;, DB/QB
Blessed with athleticism and speed, the 5-9, 162 pounder will be a vital cog for the Canes this season because of his versatility. He will start at cornerback and serve as the backup quarterback with a chance to see action behind center in special packages. John Booth says he's a guy you can't keep off the field, and the Canes head coach has no intention of doing that.
DEEP AT: OFFENSIVE LINE
Led by center Josh Carden, the Canes return four starters and a fifth who saw significant time.
THIN AT: RUNNING BACK
The Canes two top rushers are gone (if Lang's suspension sticks), so there is a lack of experience, but no shortage of talent.
KAVIOUS PRICE; senior
Kavious Price is a jack-of-all-trades who has mastered them all. You will see him all over the offense including returning punts, but his forte may be at receiver. He has a pair of soft hands to go with blazing speed and athleticism. He knows how to shed defensive backs, and is virtually unstoppable in the open field. The senior will be the guy the quarterback looks to when he is in trouble.
BY THE NUMBERS
Canes have not lost to a Manatee County team in eight seasons. The last one to beat them was Southeast to open the 2006 season.
Johnnie Lang scored 32 touchdowns and rushed for 2,116 yards last year. Unfortunately, the senior running back is currently suspended and unlikely to play for the Canes this season.
The Hurricanes have won 60 postseason games, which ties them with Lakeland for second among state public schools. Glades Central is first with 67.
NEEDS A BIG SEASON FROM:
KWANZI JACKSON, SENIOR, LB/DL
Jackson is bigger, stronger and quicker. Last season he was a terror on the edge leading the area with 25 sacks while the rest of his teammates had 29. This year the 6-4, 235 pound senior will play outside linebacker and some defensive end in the Hurricanes new 3-4-4 alignment.
"Kwanzi has looked fantastic. We are giving him an opportunity to come off the edge a lot of times without having to fight off a lineman so he is able to apply a lot of pressure," Booth said. "He is in backfield on almost every single play when we run something special for him and has a great understanding of what we are trying to do. The nice thing is that though he is playing a relatively new position we are still asking him to do the same things."
Jackson's sacks last year accounted for 125 yards in losses. He was credited with 27 quarterback hurries and was second on the Canes with 75 solo tackles, an extremely high number for a defensive end.
"The things we saw from him last year like getting in the backfield and creating havoc with ball carriers___he is able to do that almost a little bit more because he doesn't have to fight off an offensive lineman," Booth said "Teams will probably wind up bringing a back over and do a chip or something with him just to slow him down."
Known for causing havoc on the football field, Jackson just doesn't terrorize quarterbacks.
He finished last season with 84 total tackles, blocked two punts, forced two fumbles and recovered three fumbles.