TARPON SPRINGS — Bradenton Manatee turned three East Lake mistakes into 16 points and never trailed Friday night, beating the Eagles 26-17.
East Lake gave away the ball at its 5-yard line with fumbles on two of its first three possessions. Nick Pennebacker’s 22-yard field goal and Kavious Price’s 5-yard touchdown gave Manatee a 9-0 lead.
The Hurricanes jumped ahead 23-14 in the third when Nashon Smith blocked a punt and went 38 yards for the score.
“I’m not excited about it but I’ll sleep tonight,” East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. “We gave them two 5-yard fields to start off the game and there’s nine points out of it and we lost by nine points.”
A Class 7A state semifinalist last year, East Lake enters this season with equally high expectations and showed glimpses of its potential.
Senior quarterback Jake Hudson threw for 196 yards on 15 of 26 attempts, including a 54-yard scoring strike to sophomore Bryce Miller (five catches for 108 yards). Star receiver George Campbell pulled in four catches for 52 yards but stayed on the sideline in the second half with an ice pack on his right hand and wrist.
Defensively, Eagles first-teamers surrendered 247 total yards, but senior linebacker Carson Lydon said he expects more.
“We’re not even close,” he said. “I don’t want to sound cocky or anything, but I believe in our front seven a lot more than that. We can play a lot better.”
Manatee 9 7 7 3 — 26
East Lake 0 14 0 3 — 17
M – FG Pennebacker 22
M – Price 5 run (kick failed)
EL – Lydon 4 run (LaCamera kick)
M – Lang 6 run (Pennebacker kick)
EL – Miller 54 pass from Hudson (LaCamera kick)
M – N. Smith 38 blocked punt return (Pennebacker kick)
EL – FG LaCamera 35
M – FG Pennebacker 26 FG