Saturday, June 2, 2012

Prep football: Canes still looking for state championship

photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie
MaxPreps may consider Manatee the No.1 team in the nation heading into 2012, but the Hurricanes' primary goal this season is defending their Class 7A state championship.
Winning a state title is the one thing teams control. Winning a national title is entirely in the hands of the voters.
"You've just got to win each week," said coach Joe Kinnan. "The pollsters, that will take care of itself."
Manatee finished no lower than 12th last seasons in final polls crafted by MaxPreps, ESPNRise and Rivals thanks in part to the Canes' season-ending 12-game winning streak and their 40-point pasting of Jacksonville First Coast in the state final.
They also played a tough schedule that included a pair of nationally-ranked out-of-state opponents in New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep, named the prep national champion by some classifications, and Maryland's Our Lady of Good Counsel.
There will be no out-of-state games this year - scheduled matchups with Seattle's Skyline High and Maryland's Friendship Collegiate Academy fell through - but the Canes face Class 8A Miramar in Week 1 and Class 6A Miami Central in Week 3.
Both were state runner-ups last season, and Miami Central also plays Grayson High out of Loganville, Ga., which is ranked second in the country by MaxPreps.
"Miami Central is not ranked, but they very well could be or should be," said Stephen Spiewak, MaxPreps' national football editor. "They're an outstanding team and it should be a very interesting barometer that they're playing the top team in Florida and top team in Georgia."
Kinnan will be happy as long as the Hurricanes are back inside the Florida Citrus Bowl come December with the chance to do something Manatee has never done - win back-to-win state titles.
Sitting atop the preseason rankings is nice. But winning it all is still the No.1 goal.

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