Joshua Meyer threw three touchdown passes and rushed and passed for 178 yards, Kelvin McKnight hauled in 11 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns and Trevon Walters ran for 95 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries to lead Manatee (1-0).
“We just couldn’t stop them defensively,” Gilman defensive coordinator Stan White said. “It doesn’t matter how many turnovers the offense has. They were more physical and made the plays on third down. We didn’t.”
Gilman’s head coach Biff Poggi was ejected from the game early in the fourth quarter. The Greyhounds had been assessed a sideline penalty and Poggi went onto the field to question it, which led to a second flag and an ejection.
By then the outcome had been all but decided.
Manatee led, 17-14, at halftime and took control in the third quarter, capitalizing on two Gilman turnovers.
Gilman (1-1) lost the ball on its first possession of the half when a bad snap went over quarterback Kai Locksley’s head.
The Hurricanes’ Demarcus Christmas recovered inside Greyhounds’ 16-yard-line and three plays later Meyer teamed up with Walters on 16-yard touchdown pass.
After a screen pass from Locksley was fumbled at the Manatee 13, the Hurricanes put together their most effective drive, moving 82 yards in 13 plays as Johnnie Lang finished it off with a 3-yard run to make it 30-14.
In the first quarter, Gilman struggled and fell behind, 10-0.
A 25-yard punt by Gilman set up Austin Snowden’s 25-yard field goal with 6:38 remaining. The Greyhounds then went three and out again on their second possession, and Manatee mounted an 8-play, 48-yard drive that was capped by Meyer’s 15-yard bubble screen to McKnight, who broke a pair of tackles and scored.
“We got the ball to our playmakers and let them make plays,” Manatee coach Joe Kinnan said.
Gilman was finally able to get the momentum its favor when Ellison Jordan sacked Meyer late in the first quarter on fourth down.
The Greyhounds took over at the Manatee 45 and needed only five plays to score to trim the lead to 10-6. Locksley faked a handoff to Bijan Rhett and rolled around the right side for a 10-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed.
Manatee retaliated when McKnight returned the kickoff past midfield and the Hurricanes drove the remaining 49 yards in four running plays.
“Our offensive line did a good job of pounding them,” Kinnan said.
The Greyhounds closed the gap to 17-14 in the middle of the second quarter on Rhett’s 6-yard run and 2-point conversion pass from Locksley to Antonio Dupree.