When Trevon Walters and Cord Sandberg fumbled the ball away on the first play of the game, the more than 6,000 fans pulling for the Fort Pierce Central Cobras let out a huge yell that shook the stadium.
It was the last thing they could cheer about for the rest of the night.
Sandberg and Walters are football perfectionists. They make a rare mistake, and you can bet the opposing team will suffer.
Walters had a little extra motivation. The Manatee running back didn't play last week because of an injured ankle in the Hurricanes' regional semifinal victory over Venice and was hungry to get back on the field.
He hadn't been involved in any contact for about two weeks and when he and Sandberg collided, the ball popped loose. Fort Pierce Central recovered the ball on the Manatee 23 but gained only five yards in four plays.
Like good soldiers, they both took blame for the only miscue Manatee committed and spread the credit around
for the Canes 51-0 romp.
Walters was looking for some competition. Fort Pierce didn't offer him much as he slipped and slid and bulldozed his way for 155 yards on only 14 carries with three touchdowns.
Walters only played the first half. Canes head coach Joe Kinnan knows better than to risk his high-octane running back.
"There was a misunderstanding on that fumble. I thought Cord was going to keep the ball," Walters said.
"It motivated me to come back into the game and do a good job."
Last week, Walters watched on the sideline as freshman Johnnie Lang replaced him and for at least one night made fans forget that one of their best weapons was grounded.
Walters never feared that he might lose his job.
"He is good competition for me. Last week, he told me not to worry that he had my back and besides, I am faster than him," Walters said.
When the game ended, Walters heroics may have long been forgotten because of the lopsided score, but he supplied the fuel that got the Canes offense going.
Kinnan doesn't have to say anything when it comes to Walters. He knows a Picasso when he sees one and the smile on his face is worth a thousand words.
"He is a good runner because he is fast and strong and explosive and has great balance. He is pretty tough and next year he will be 15 to 20 pounds heavier," the coach said with a smile, putting away any speculation that he won't be back to enjoy some more fun.
After the fumble, Manatee scored on five straight possessions to put the game away at halftime. There were drives of 96 and 91 yards after an 82-yard drive opened the scoring with a field goal.
Sandberg was a little off in the beginning and missed some passes that could've gone for big scores, but he has a nice security blanked in Walters.
On Manatee's 96-yard TD drive, which gave the Canes a 10-0 lead, Walters covered the last 44 yards on six carries and capped the 91-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown reception on an ankle that is still not totally healed.
"It's a little sore, but I was able to do a lot of those things because of the great perimeter blocking I got from the wide receivers and from the offensive line on the plays up the middle," Walters said.
Though he threw five touchdown passes, Sandberg was generous with giving a lot of credit to Walters even when he wasn't on the field.
"It's tough to come back and play like he did after sitting out a week, but he was clicking and it was great to have him back," Sandberg said. "I am not going to blame him for the fumble. It was half and half. And when he runs like he did tonight, it makes everything easier for me. The defense has to come in and stop and it opens things up.
"They crowded the box because of him and that left our receivers going man-on-man and I was able to take advantage of that. We took a lot of shots down field early in the game and I missed some, but then we got it going. Trevon made a lot of that possible."