There are a lot of question marks surrounding the Manatee program.
With Joe Kinnan out and John Booth in as the new Manatee head coach, can Booth lead the Hurricanes back to being a national power? Also, with the loss of their top talent to division one programs, how would their new playmakers step up to the challenge?
We got a good idea of what the future of the Manatee program has to offer tonight as they knocked off the 7A state semifinalists 26-17.
East Lake turned the ball over on two of the first three possessions on fumbles in which Manatee took over inside the Eagles' ten yard line. Manatee kicked a field goal after the first turnover, and scored on a Kavious Price touchdown on the ensuing drive.
East Lake responded with an aerial attack led by quarterback Jake Hudson with big gains down the sideline to four-star receiver George Campbell. Virginia Tech commit Carson Lydon punched in a touchdown run from five yards out, and the Eagles trailed 9-7 with 6:09 left in the second quarter.
Later in the second quarter, Manatee drove down the field with their running game and short passing game. Junior running back Johnny Lang ran in a goal line touchdown, and was the workhorse for the Hurricanes.
Hudson connected on a touchdown pass for East Lake with seconds winding down in the first half, and the Eagles trailed just 16-14.
The only scoring in the second half came off a blocked punt in which Manatee's Nashon Smith scooped and scored, and the Hurricanes later added a fourth quarter field goal.
With the 26-17 win for Manatee, all of their questions aren't answered, but they're off to a good start to the season. Their first regular season contest will be against Ware County (Georgia) next Friday night.