Naples suffers first defeat to state power

Naples suffers first defeat to state power


Naples suffers first defeat to state power


Bill Kramer considered Friday night a good experience for his Naples Golden Eagles.

They hit the road and played one of the state’s most storied teams in front of a loud and large crowd, and the head coach thinks his players will be better off for it.

A few plays here or there, though, and it could have been a perfect night for Naples, which lost 31-19 to Manatee at Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium.

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The night couldn’t have started better for Naples (2-1), which needed less than three minutes to move the ball 65 yards and take a 7-0 lead on Michael Walker’s 3-yard touchdown run.

Then the momentum shifted toward the hosts. The Golden Eagles attempted an onside kick, which was whistled dead when the officials ruled Naples offsides. When Naples tried again, Manatee’s Tarique Milton caught the ball on a hop and returned it 45 yards for the game-tying touchdown.

Naples never lead again.

“If I had it to do over again, I’d do it again,” Kramer said.

The Golden Eagles moved the ball well , rushing for 240 yards, including 88 by Walker. But they also lost Carlin Fils-Aime to a first-half ankle injury after he rushed for 63 yards on just six carries. Kramer was unsure of his status after the game.

Asked if the result had been different had Fils-Aime not been hurt, Kramer said, “I’d like to think that it would.”

Naples didn’t score in the second half. It had a promising drive going late in the fourth quarter before Walker was stripped of the ball by Manatee’s Mahlik Mills on the Canes’ 13 with just over six minutes remaining and Manatee ahead 24-19. And a big fourth-quarter pass play to Tyler Byrd was negated by offsetting penalties when Manatee was flagged for holding and Naples was called for offensive pass interference. The ball was moved back to Naples’ 30, and the Golden Eagles turned the ball over on downs a few plays later.

Running back Johnnie Lang scored on a 26-yard run on the next play from scrimmage, giving Manatee a 31-19 with 1:41 remaining.

“We had plenty of chances in that game to score. We moved the ball well down the field both halves,” Kramer said. “There were some self-inflicted wounds.

“The second half I felt we dominated the game. We played in their end, dominated field position and again, we’ve got to find a way to get that ball in the end zone.”

Grant Phillips had five catches for 50 yards and Bird hauled in a 31-yard touchdown pass from Walker in the final minute of the first half.













Naples: Michael Walker 3 run (Jerry Nunez kick)

Manatee: Tarique Milton 45 kickoff ret (Nick Null kick)

Manatee: Johnnie Lang 5 run (Null kick)

Naples: Walker 5 run (kick failed)

Manatee: Null 36 FG

Manatee: Kavious Price 6 run (Null kick)

Naples: Tyler Bird 31 pass from Walker (run failed)

Manatee: Lang 26 run (Null kick)


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