New starters, new staff, missing players leave coach Tom Bostic unconcerned by loss
By BOB PUTNAM
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 26, 2000
BRADENTON -- Forget the fact that Clearwater lost to Bradenton Manatee 35-9 in a preseason classic Friday night. That's the point Tornadoes coach Tom Bostic tried to make when he addressed his team after the game.
"I remember back in 1995 we played these guys (Manatee) in the preseason, and I told my wife afterward that I thought we were going to be a pretty good football team," Bostic said. "She asked what the score was, and I told her it was bad. (Clearwater lost 61-10). After she stopped laughing, I told her I really believe that. Sure enough, we won the district title and Manatee stayed home."
Bostic said he knew his team was at a disadvantage. He was working in many new starters, most of whom were playing both ways, and he had a new coaching staff. The team also was missing lineman Matt Anderson and linebacker Chris Garrison, both of whom sat out with ankle injuries.
So the only thing Bostic wanted from his players was to learn from the experience.
"If we didn't do that, then it was a waste of time," he said.
What the Tornadoes may have learned was the necessity of taking advantage of their opportunities. The defense forced five turnovers (four fumbles and an interception), but only scored off one of them, a fumble that was converted into a 33-yard touchdown run by Ryan Vaught in the third quarter.
Clearwater's other score came from its defense, which gang-tackled Edrick Hines in his own end zone for a safety.
The rest of the scoring, and the game, belonged to Manatee. The Hurricanes were ahead 21-0 at the half and watched as the Tornadoes played catch-up.