High School Sports

Manatee High clinches district title with 37-7 blowout of Riverview

Manatee High receiver Tarique Milton after big football game Friday night

Manatee receiver Tarique Milton talks about career night in sparking Manatee to district title by Alan Dell
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Manatee receiver Tarique Milton talks about career night in sparking Manatee to district title by Alan Dell

BRADENTON -- When Tarique Milton saw Manatee High's brand- new jumbo scoreboard flashing up highlight reel plays, it unleashed his adrenaline.

"It made everything so much better. It made me and the whole team play better," the junior receiver said after he had a career night in helping spark the Hurricanes to a 37-7 victory over Hillsborough County's Riverview High Friday night at Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium.

The triumph gave Manatee the Class 8A-District 6 title for its seventh straight district championship and 29th overall.

"The scoreboard made for a fun environment. You are seeing some replays and some fans on the dance cam so it was fun and served what we were trying to do, which was to enhance the the game," Manatee head coach John Booth said.

It was the first night Manatee (6-2, 5-0) had its scoreboard

in operation and the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Milton made sure he was going to get his share of the replay highlights.

Milton had career highs with 10 receptions for 126 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Also sharing in the moment was junior quarterback AJ Colagiovanni who completed 18 of 26 passes for three touchdowns and 243 yards.

"During the game I didn't notice the replay until I got on the sideline and then people were talking about it and i saw it," Milton said "This game I even amazed myself. Me and AJ practiced all week and we've got a good connection. It's good for me and him to be in the same class because we've got a lot of time and a lot of room to get better."

Milton had three touchdown receptions coming into the game and had never caught more than one in a single game. He was averaging 15.3 yards per catch.

"Tarique came into his own tonight. He is a tremendous athlete and has a lot of ability so it was nice to get him an opportunity to get some big plays," Booth said. "Reggie (Carter) and Kavious (Price) have kind of gotten the brunt of our big plays and he just had a terrific game."

The Canes' first possession of the game ended on an interception on the 10. The next time they drove 66 yards on 11 plays with Colagiovanni taking it in from three. Lorenz Allen carried the ball six times for 43 yards on the drive.

Milton caught a 10 yard TD reception in the first period. He hauled in a 7-yard pass from Colagiovanni with 3:01 left in the second period to give the Canes a 30-0 halftime lead.

He added a 15-yard TD reception from Colagiovanni with 3:11 left in the third quarter for a 37-0 margin that forced a running clock. In the second quarter, Allen scored from a yard out on a two-play drive that was set up by a 33-yard catch by Reggie Carter.

"AJ does a nice job of getting the ball to a lot of receivers. He doesn't lock into a specific person." Booth said "He lets the play develop and goes through his keys and progressions and delivers a nice, accurate ball. We saw all four of our receivers catch the ball tonight."

This was the fourth straight game the Canes went to a running lock and used mostly backups

Price had five catches for 64 yards, including a circus, one-handed grab that he took for 35 yards. Allen rushed for 75 yards on 14 carries.

"I actually like a running clock. It lets our twos get in and lets people and their families see what they can do." Milton said. "We executed and played as a team. AJ was passing good, and I am proud of the offensive line for how they protected AJ and gave him time to throw."

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