TAMPA — If Plant wanted some tough competition for Friday night's kickoff classic, Brandenton Manatee was more than happy to oblige.
Ranked No. 65 in the country in the Rivals 100 rankings, the Hurricanes showed why by lighting up Plant in a 49-33 win Friday night.
"Its another opportunity for us to play a good team," Plant coach Robert Weiner said. "It's a good gauge for us and we saw areas where we need to step up."
Manatee senior quarterback Brion Carnes, who has committed to USF, dissected a Plant defense with many new faces for six touchdowns, three in the air and two on the ground. Receiver Ace Sanders had touchdown grabs of 65, 26 and 32 yards.
Plant played without quarterback Philip Ely, who sat out with a lower back strain, something that shouldn't keep him out of next week's opener, Weiner said.
Ely's backup, sophomore James Few, filled in nicely with 188 yards, one touchdown run and throw. James Wilder Jr. showed he will be a force for the Panthers this season with 107 yards rushing.
Todd Foley, Times correspondent