#11 St. Petersburg (6-0) vs #4 Manatee (6-1)
When: Friday at 7:30pm
Where: Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium
TV: Channel 47 and HD 1147
Live streaming: log onto bhsnlive.com to watch the game live and on-demand
Coaches: Joe Fabrizio is in his ninth season as the head coach at St Pete. He has a 59-34 overall record. John Booth is in his first season as Manatee Head Coach. His record is 6-1 so far.
The St. Pete Green Devils may be the surprise team in all of Tampa Bay. Right now, they are winning and winning convincingly! Since taking care of a talented Lakewood team back on September 12th, St. Pete has routed Boca Ciega 48-7, Palm Harbor 28-7, and Seminole 40-0. While none of those teams are in the same league as Manatee, head coach Joe Fabrizio is convincing his team this week that the Hurricanes are normal 16 and 17-year olds just like they are . The biggest surprise in the Green Devils unbeaten run has been sophomore QB Austin Causey. Causey is not dynamic, but he seems to always make the correct play and he makes very few mistakes. Meanwhile, the backfield has been extremely productive with junior RBs Darius Miller and Jacquel Waller with sort of a thunder and lightning approach. Waller seems to thrive the more he touches it while Miller is lightning. If Miller gets in the open field, he is tough to tackle.
Defensively, Cory Jones has been a pleasant surprise up front while senior DB Dayon Conyers has become a lockdown defender in the secondary. SS Ian Hirchak also is key directing traffic. Junior LB DeMarkus Glover has missed the past three games with a separated shoulder. They hope to have him back Friday, but the unit has still thrived in his absence.
Meanwhile at Manatee, the program has weathered the off-the-field storm that came with the departure of legendary head coach Joe Kinnan. Biggest reason is because John Booth seems to be the right fit. Booth is a former Manatee player who played in the NFL and very quietly was building Bloomingdale into a power the past five seasons. His approach is to not make the season about him, while keeping the program rolling as a whole. So far, so good. Aside from a 23-7 setback to Ware County in Georgia, the Hurricanes have been fairly productive. Making things a little more dicey in Booth’s first season was a heated QB competition between sophomore AJ Colagiovanni and senior transfer Sloan Drummonds from Sebastian River. Drummonds is listed as the starter but Colagiovanni should play because he does the little things Booth calls for in his offense. Junior RB Johnnie Lang is the star, averaging 188 rushing yards per game since the loss to Ware County. Junior RB Octavious James is also a weapon waiting to be unleashed. On the outside, WR Kelvin McKnight is an Ace Sanders clone. Actually Sanders’ cousin, McKnight has 93 career catches entering this game and is being recruited by several mid majors including USF. On defense, junior DE Kwanzi Jackson is a force with 17 sacks on the year while senior LB Nashon Smith has the ability to dominate a game.
Biggest key to this game…can St. Pete block Manatee? We’ll have to wait and see!
Things to know:
1.) John Booth is one of three new Manatee county head coaches this season. Another notable, John Warren is in his first year at Southeast, replacing Paul Maechtle.
2.) Manatee’s Kwanzi Jackson is currently second in the state in sacks with 17.
3.) Former head coach Joe Kinnan is gone from Manatee but not forgotten after winning 290 games, making the postseason 23 times, winning 14 regional titles and 5 state championships.