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Manatee (FL) ready to get back to winning ways on the football pitch

BRADENTON, FL – The last time Manatee won more than 10 games in a football season was in 2014 when the Hurricanes went 12-2 under John Booth.

Getting back to winning football games is something the Hurricanes football program wants to do under head coach Jacquez Green, who took over as leader in 2020. Green’s first season was 8-2, but the team fell in the last fall win-loss column, slipping to 2-7.

The Hurricanes, who have won five state championships, play in one of the toughest areas in the state and have their work cut out for them starting Aug. 26 against Wiregrass Ranch. Although many games were mostly close scores, it’s the comeback and physicality for Manatee that will make the difference.

“I wanted to be physical on both sides of football up front,” Green said. “I thought we ran the ball well and stopped the run for the most part during the spring game. Especially, given that we had a few guys there for our normal starters and our starting running back was held up the spring game. We didn’t do anything special, we just lined up and saw who we could count on when the games started in the fall.

Manatee will rely on a strong junior class and on offense he will be led by running back Cory Sanders, who rushed for a team-record 510 yards on 95 attempts and four touchdowns. The team’s top two receivers from a year ago have graduated, but they return to Boshavior Bean Jr., who rushed for 154 yards in 2021.

“I’ll have a strong junior class with kids spread out in every position,” Green said. “They are probably the core of our team. I would be disappointed if our defensive line wasn’t the strength of the defense. Right now we seem to have more playmakers in skill positions, which we’ve been missing since I’ve been here.

Last season was an anomaly for Hurricanes football, as the sub-0.500 campaign was the first time a manatee didn’t finish with a playoff winning record since 2004 (4-6). Now the program feels it has a good group of kids working hard to return to the rich running tradition the school has always displayed.

“I can’t be worse than last year, but I think we’ll have a good year,” Green said. “I like this group of kids, they work hard and I have good leadership this season. Our coaching team has improved a lot and the kids have a good understanding of our program. We have a few kids who have been transferred, but I fully believe in the development of our own children. That is the fun part of coaching.”

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.

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