- June 18, 2015
Manatee High School’s varsity football team accomplished a rare feat Friday night: defeating Dr. Phillips at Bill Spoone Stadium.
The seventh-ranked Hurricanes blew into town and celebrated the Class 8A Region 2 title, pulling out a 24-21 victory on Nickolas Null’s 39-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining.
Top-ranked DP (12-1) erased a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit – the Panthers overcame an 11-point halftime deficit in their opening playoff game en route to a 24-21 win over Bloomingdale – thanks to a ground game powered by Emare Hogan and Daquan Isom. Hogan’s third rushing touchdown of the game came on a 10-yard run with 6:20 left, and Ethan Shafer’s extra point knotted the score.
But Manatee (12-1) responded with a 35-yard drive, which was aided by a DP pass interference call on a third-and-10 play. A chop block negated Johnnie Lang’s 7-yard TD run before Null split the uprights two plays later.
Dr. Phillips subsequently reached its own 40-yard line, but a 10-yard loss on a sack stalled the drive and Rudy Norwood’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 32 seconds left.
Manatee extended a 7-0 halftime lead when Joe Robinson fielded the second-half kickoff and returned it down the right sideline for a touchdown. Hogan got DP on the scoreboard with a 7-yard touchdown run at the 7:02 mark of the third quarter, and the aforementioned sophomore also added a 14-yard scoring run with 9:37 to go.
“I told the guys that we had been here before,” Dr. Phillips head coach Rodney Wells said. “It wasn’t a big deal with us being down at halftime, and I thought we came out and fought (in the second half) and tied it up and did what we thought we could do."