Thursday, October 2, 2014

Football: Sloan Drummonds is Manatee's quarterback

A balanced Manatee attack will ease the workload of running back Johnnie Lang
As Manatee approaches the most critical stretch of its schedule, head coach John Booth has decided to put senior Sloan Drummonds under center.
A transfer from Sebastian River, Drummonds has had an eventful year at Manatee, leaving the team after the Kickoff  Classic before  deciding to return.  But his performance Saturday at Southeast, where he threw for 180 yards and three touchdowns while running for another in his Manatee debut, convinced Booth that Drummonds is the best option heading Thursday's Class 8A-Distrit 7 opener at Riverview.
"Sloan did a great job for us in creating some balance in what we were trying to do," Booth said following practice Wednesday.
Drummonds was slowed by an injury over the summer and was replaced by sophomore A.J.  Colagiovanni. But as the season progressed,  Manatee become  more  reliant on running back Johnnie Lang, who leads the area with 765 rushing yards while averaging close  to 30 carries per game lining up mostly in the wildcat.
"We looked at it and said, 'There's no  way we'll be able to run Johnnie like that for the course of the season,'" said Booth, whose brother,  James,  is Manatee's  offensive coordinator. "And we were going to get into some teams that were going to load the box, go cover zero and force Johnnie to throw. So  we're going to have to be able to find  some balance,  and  Sloan  did that for us against Southeast."
Lang will still be used out of the wildcat, however.
"That's  just been so successful for us," Booth said, "so it would be silly to not use that."
Colagiovanni completed 21 of 43 attempts for 307 yards, three interceptions and a touchdown. And Booth praised the sophomore for how he has handled the personnel   shift.
"A.J.'s been, I can't even stress, he's been fantastic," Booth said. "He's been very supportive,  he understands, and we tried to be very honest with him, as well. And he's responded well.  And he's been very supportive of Sloan and he's just a team guy, and he's  looking forward to being whatever role he could  do  for the team this year and improving and building to hopefully where he can get out there and play in the future."
The Hurricanes are 4-1 overall and host Palmetto next week before playing St. Petersburg on Oct.  17 in a key district game in Bradenton. Following a bye week Oct. 24, Manatee closes district play Oct. 31 at Palm Harbor University and wraps the regular season Nov. 7 at Venice.

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