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BRADENTON — The Northeast Vikings knew that beating Bradenton Manatee would be a tall task. The Hurricanes, ranked No. 1 in the nation by multiple media outlets, including USA Today, reeled off 28 first-quarter points and cruised to a 65-12 victory Friday night in the Class 7A region quarterfinals.
“That’s a really good football team over there,” Vikings coach Mike Jalazo said. “They’re so well-coached. We would make an adjustment, and they were always prepared with a counter.”
Manatee took five plays to lead 14-0. Quarterback Cord Sandberg found Trevon Walters for a 23-yard TD pass, then hit JaJuan Pollack for a 29-yarder.
Then the defense scored, as Darrien Mabry returned an interception 30 yards. Sandberg added a 10-yard run.
The Vikings scored both of their touchdowns in the second quarter. They drove 79 yards on 15 plays, capped by Ryand Davis’ 5-yard scoring pass to Auggie Sanchez. The big play was a 33-yard pass to Keith Harrington. On the next touchdown Sanchez lined up at quarterback and ran the option with Davis, who pulled up and threw a 69-yard pass to Donterio Fowler.
“I think we surprised them in the second quarter,” Jalazo said. “Our kids never quit and were finally able to get on the board.”
Davis finished with 173 yards passing, and Fowler had four catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. Harrington chipped in with four catches and 67 yards. Sanchez led the defense with 23 tackles.
“Obviously we don’t like the way this ended, but they played their hearts out,” Jalazo said. “Thanks to our seniors, we are starting to make progress."