Final Score: Manatee Hurricanes 46, Charlotte Fightin’ Tarpons 7
In a Friday night non-conference showdown, the Manatee Hurricanes exhibited a masterclass in both offense and defense as they comfortably defeated the Charlotte Fightin’ Tarpons at their home ground.
The energy was palpable right from the start when Kei’Shawn Smith showcased his agility by returning the opening kickoff for a breathtaking 87-yard touchdown. The subsequent conversion set the Hurricanes on a promising trajectory with a 7-0 lead.
Without skipping a beat, the Hurricanes’ defense shone as a mistimed snap sent the Charlotte quarterback scurrying in his end zone, only to be taken down by Jah’ron Hill for a safety, nudging the score to 9-0 in favor of Manatee.
The momentum remained with the Hurricanes as quarterback Andrew Heidel demonstrated his prowess, first linking up with Torey Gilley for a commendable 14-yard gain and soon after, darting through Charlotte's defense for a 3-yard touchdown, expanding their lead to 16-0.
Charlotte’s attempts to bounce back were thwarted when Elijah Perry masterfully forced a fumble, promptly recovered by Yahir Diaz. Capitalizing on this golden opportunity, Trayvon Pinder bulldozed through, marking another touchdown. As the teams prepared for the second quarter, the scoreboard read an impressive 23-0 for the Hurricanes.
The second quarter saw Heidel continue his streak, first connecting with Jalen Bryant for a 9-yard gain, and then, in a play that drew cheers from the crowd, sending a 28-yard missile to AJ Causey for yet another touchdown. The extra point sailed through, making it 30-0.
The hurricane onslaught didn’t relent. With halftime approaching, Heidel targeted Bon Bean Jr. for a 14-yard gain. Shortly after, AJ Causey once again emerged as Heidel's favorite target, securing a 29-yard touchdown pass. By halftime, the Fightin’ Tarpons were yet to get on the board, trailing 37-0.
The third quarter was no different. Alvoid Kennon’s brilliant safety against the Charlotte quarterback brought the score to 39-0.
As the final quarter began, Elijah Perry, not to be outdone, delivered a splendid 31-yard touchdown pass to Jamari Blake. With the extra point accounted for, the Hurricanes were leading 46-0.
Despite the Fightin’ Tarpons managing to get a consolation touchdown towards the game's end, it was clear who the night belonged to. The game concluded with a dominant 46-7 victory for the Manatee Hurricanes.
Looking ahead, the jubilant Hurricanes will next face off against the Braden River Pirates in an anticipated home non-district game this Friday.