|photo courtesy of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers|
In order for his Manatee Hurricanes to reach the Class 8A-Region 2 title game, they need to contain one.
Vero Beach heads to Hawkins Stadium on Friday for a regional semifinal. Leading the way for the Indians is quarterback Carter Stanley, who has thrown for 2,819 yards and 36 touchdowns for the 11-0 Indians, who are looking to reach a regional final for the first time in 11 years.
Friday's winner plays either Tampa Plant or Orlando Dr.Phillips next Friday for the regional championship and a spot in the final four.
"Really (need to) try to create some pressure with our defensive line on their quarterback," Booth said. "If we let him sit in the pocket and just be comfortable all night, he's good enough to kind of pick you apart and get it to their different weapons."
After graduating from Manatee in 2000, Booth played at MidAmerica Nazarene, a NAIA school in Kansas, and threw for 4,250 yards and 42 touchdowns to earn All-America honors and a spot in the school's hall of fame.
"So we've got to get pressure on him and collapse that pocket," Booth said of Stanley, "and get him to make some errant throws."
Manatee has had success getting pressure on quarterbacks, recording 44 during the regular season, including 21 from end Kwanzi Jackson. Manatee also intercepted 12 passes, and the Canes will call on that secondary to try and quell M.J. McGriff, Stanley's favorite target who has pulled in 97 catches and 20 touchdowns this season.
McGriff has also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, which means Manatee needs a big night from kicker Nick Null, who has sent 40 of 64 kickoffs into the end zone for a touchback.
"They’ve got a special talent at receiver," Booth said. "He can beat you in the screen game, he can get vertical on you. So we have to make sure we stay over the top of him."