Manatee's offense scores 24 points and rushes for 163 yards in the first half.
By JOE SMITH
Published November 18, 2006
BRADENTON - Dunedin junior defensive lineman Tyler Hammond let out his frustration on the Falcons' portable bench, pounding it with his fist.
This was not the Dunedin "D" he was used to seeing.
Bradenton Manatee wore down the Falcons in the region semifinal, racking up 251 rushing yards while beating Dunedin.
"Pound 'em, pound 'em, pound 'em," said Manatee tailback Shawn Williams, who rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns. "That was our game plan."
The plan worked to a "T." The Hurricanes' offensive line dominated a first half in which Manatee scored 24 points, rushed for 163 yards and churned 15 minutes off the clock. Williams' second touchdown, a 1-yard run on fourth and goal, gave Manatee a 24-6 lead going into halftime.
"We didn't show up," Hammond said. "They didn't overpower us - we just didn't make plays."
Dunedin could only muster 159 yards of total offense, 75 coming from sophomore tailback Adaris Bellamy.
Special teams helped set up the Falcons' lone score, which came midway through the second quarter. Junior Mike Towns, one of the Falcons' top playmakers this season, returned a punt 21 yards to the Hurricanes' 30. One play later, quarterback Terry Nnatubeugo connected with a streaking Robert Flagg for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
With the loss, the Falcons 9-3 close a memorable season in which they earned their first district title and playoff victory in nearly two decades.
They were, as coach Mark Everett said, a "true team," an unselfish, tight-knit group that typically came up with huge plays in the clutch.
"Nobody thought we could get this far," senior linebacker Vince Hollingsworth said. "But it's nice to be known as one of the best teams ever at Dunedin."
Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith @sptimes.com or at (727) 893-8129.