|photo by John Lembo|
Joe Kinnan's Hurricanes look to run their winning streak to 24 Friday night against Venice in a Region 3 semifinal
Yes, that was Manatee's head coach arguing vehemently during last Friday's Class 7A-Region 3 playoff opener when his Hurricanes were flagged with a procedure penalty during a win over St. Petersburg Northeast.
But Manatee's venerable head coach doesn't have much to complain about these days. And it shows.
This is a kindler, gentler Joe Kinnan, one who routinely cracks a smile during practice and encouraged his team to stay for the girls soccer match following Tuesday's workout.
"We're undefeated. How can you not enjoy (it)?", said Kinnan, whose Canes host Venice on Friday in a Region 3 semifinal. "We've got great leadership, we've got a great group of kids. They're fun to be around, they have a good time, they enjoy playing and practicing...so that's good."
Good enough for Kinnan to return next season?
"I always go year to year," he said. "I always evaluate at the end of the year."
Not that this season isn't worth his attention. Manatee is 11-0 and has won 23 straight games. The Hurricanes have scored 567 points this season and are ranked No.1 nationally by ESPN, MaxPreps and USA Today.
Friday they meet the Indians, they're District 10 foes, in the second round of the playoffs for the third straight year. Manatee won the last two postseason games and has won the teams' last five meetings overall.
"I'm sure they're going to onside kick and run every trick they play they've got in their back pocket, and run their options, which they did a good job of before and we didn't defend real well," Kinnan said. "Defensively, they're going to give us a few different looks...they've showed several different fronts in the last two game films.
"So we'll just have to wait and see. We'll just have to recognize what they do, go out and go get 'em."
The winner meets either Fort Pierce Central or Stuart Martin County on Nov. 30 for the Region 3 championship and a berth in the final four.