BRADENTON — Manatee's elite combination of speed and size proved too much for Pinellas Park on Friday night as a 55-2 region quarterfinal loss in Class 7A ended the Patriots' season.
The Patriot offense missed senior quarterback Brandon Hames, who suffered a broken wrist in a car accident Thursday night. Without him, Pinellas Park's offense managed only 148 total yards.
Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford said his team had "about an hour" to prepare a game plan that included tight end Tyree Graves taking over the QB responsibilities.
"It's huge. Obviously, they're a great football team," Crawford said. "We were still going to be the underdog, but we would have liked to give them a little better of a game. I think if we got our guys we can, but that's life. You have to deal with adversity and that's what we tell the kids."
The Patriots (7-4) gave up a fumble on the third play of the game that Hurricane defensive lineman Travis Weaver ran in 22 yards for the first score. Pinellas Park regrouped to play a strong first quarter that included a safety and a forced fumble at the goal line.
The start of the second quarter saw the Hurricane offense take flight as Manatee QB Cord Sandberg tossed two of his four touchdowns—both to wideout Anthony Lauro.
The Hurricanes (9-2) relied on a conservative, run-first approach spearheaded by senior running back Antonio Argus, who had 174 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.