Manatee High School has been a sledgehammer when facing Class 8A, District 6 teams, and Saturday’s 55-17 victory against Palm Harbor University was another demolition tale in a season shaping up as a Hurricanes’ sweep.
Against Palm Harbor, Manatee exclusively featured its passing game early. Quarterback AJ Colagiovanni passed for a game-high 319 yards and threw three touchdowns as Manatee won its third in a row. With the victory, Manatee improves to 3-0 within 8A-6 and is currently in the midst of a three-game winning streak in district and regular season play.
Manatee (4-2, 3-0) ended any upset thoughts by Palm Harbor early. The hosts drove 84 yards on 12 plays only to have strong safety Josh Betts intercept quarterback Cameron Mouton (23 of 37, 299 yards) in the end zone. On Manatee’s first play, Colagiovanni (15 of 22, 319) hit wide receiver Tarique Milton (10 receptions, 198 yards) for an 80-yard touchdown pass.
“(Palm Harbor) was able to make a great drive down there, and we were just fortunate to get an interception,” Manatee coach John Booth said. “They were generating some momentum for themselves, and being able to get that pick and turn right around with that big touchdown to Tarique (Milton) was huge for us and definitely flipped it.”
Manatee never looked back. Touchdowns from Milton, Joshua Booker and Keyon Fordham opened a 35-10 lead for the visiting Hurricanes. Then on the last play before halftime, Colagiovanni connected with 6-foot-3 junior Shane Hooks on a 36-yard touchdown pass that triggered a running clock for the entire second half.
“Yeah, it was definitely interesting the play-calling they had going into halftime, and it was a great throw and effort by Shane (Hooks),” Booth said about Manatee’s touchdown before halftime.”
Manatee 55, Palm Harbor 17
MAN— Milton 80 pass from Colagiovanni (Daniel Reyna kick), 8:58
MAN— Milton 17 pass from Colagiovanni (Reyna kick), 4:53
PHU— Hayden Schuster 31 field goal, 2:27
MAN— Booker 1 run (Reyna kick), 6:55
MAN— Fordham 30 run (Reyna kick), 4:01
PHU— France 24 pass from Mouton (Schuster kick), 2:27
MAN— Fordham 1 run (Reyna kick), 0:39
MAN— Hooks 36 pass from Colagiovanni (Reyna kick), 0:00
MAN— Reyna 30 field goal, 9:50
PHU— Wahl 10 pass from Mouton (Reyna kick), 1:40
MAN— Fordham 80 kickoff return, 11:15
MAN— Reyna 23 field goal, 3:40
Rushing: Manatee: Fordham 5-72, Booker 9-41, Ivey Jr. 3-5, Colagiovannie 3- -6, Totals: 20-(112). Palm Harbor: Derogene 12-45, Mouton 6- -15, Totals: 18-(30).
Passing: Manatee: Spicer 15-22-0-319, Totals: 15-22-0-319. Palm Harbor: Mouton 23-37-1-299, Marlow 3-8-0-18, Litowchak 0-1-0-0, Totals: 26-46-1-317.
Receiving: Manatee: Milton 10-198, Hooks 2-90, Pollock 2-14, Robinson 1-17, Totals: 15-319. Palm Harbor: Porter 7-76, France 6-71, Ware 3-53, Betts 3-36, Voltaire 2-17, Pitts 2-13, Spearman 2-11, Brewer 1-24, Totals: 26-317.