MANATEE, Fla. | Controversy surrounding the head coaching job and quarterback position, how they would replace their division one signee graduating seniors, and bouncing back from a disappointing 2013 season - there were several question marks and storylines heading into the spring game for Manatee. It wasn't easy sledding for Haines City either - their head coach was just fired.
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Manatee sent offensive lineman Michael Galati to USF and Jake Stickler to Georgia Tech, running back Trevon Walters to Missouri, and wide receiver Broderick Yancy to Temple. Senior-to-be wide receiver Kelvin McKnight stepped up in Yancy's absence with a touchdown grab against Haines City on Friday night, and rising junior ball carrier Johnnie Lang was the Hurricanes' workhorse that Walters always was.
The Manatee and Haines City offenses were both sloppy in the first quarter, and the Hurricanes scored their first touchdown in the second quarter on special teams. Manatee stripped Derwin James on his punt return, and took it back to the house.
Kavious Price was the quarterback for Manatee and threw two interceptions in the first half which kept Haines City in the ball game, but were unable to capitalize on the turnovers.
Manatee running back Johnnie Lang punched in a goal line touchdown to give them a 14-0 lead with under 40 seconds left in the second quarter, but the ensuing kickoff was returned for a touchdown by Haines City to cut the lead to seven.
Lang ran in a third quarter touchdown to put the Hurricanes up 22-6, and the two teams traded fourth quarter touchdowns to end the game at 29-14 in Manatee's favor. Lang carried the rock well over twenty times on Friday, and definitely was the main source of offense with Price's struggles throwing the ball downfield.
"I feel like I came out a little bit sluggish, but as we got going I did good in the second half of the game," Lang said after the game. "Haines City was a pretty good team, but we're a really good team. We're becoming a family."