BRADENTON — There wasn’t a whole of lot intrigue permeating Hawkins Stadium on Friday night.
Manatee didn’t leave much in doubt, pummeling Osceola 49-14 after scoring three touchdowns within the first four minutes.
But after an offseason of nearly unprecedented hype, stoked by Manatee’s winning of the Class 7A state title last season and MaxPreps ranking the Hurricanes tops in the country, coach Joe Kinnan was happy to see his players line up against an opponent.
“We got a chance to block and hit on somebody that wasn’t us,” Kinnan said. “We got out of it what we thought we’d get out of it. Everybody got a chance to play. …We did some things, and we put some young people in some pressure situations early, and some of those guys have got a ways to go.”
Kelvin McKnight returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown before Marquis Dawsey and Trevon Walters scored on TD runs, handing the Hurricanes a 21-0 lead with 8:11 left in the quarter before Cord Sandberg’s 3-yard dumpoff to Anthony Lauro turned into a 71-yard touchdown reception.
There was still over a minute remaining in the opening quarter and Manatee led 28-0.