With Riverview and Manatee renewing acquaintances in a crucial Class 8A-District 6 contest, let’s go back 25 years ago to two of the most heralded games played in the Rams-Hurricanes series.
Led by future Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterbacking great Tommie Frazier, Manatee entered the 1991 season ranked No. 1 in the Class 5A state poll and No. 1 in the nation by USA Today. The Hurricanes’ opponent in the season opener that year was a Riverview program, which had dropped nine of its previous 10 games against Manatee.
When the two teams met on that Friday the 13th night in September, Riverview raced out to a quick 14-0 lead. However, Joe Kinnan’s team answered with 14 points of its own before yielding 21 unanswered points.
Manatee’s rally fell short as the Hurricanes dropped a 35-28 decision to the Rams, who got 241 yards and two scores on the ground from sophomore Shawn Bane. In fact, all five of Riverview’s touchdowns were scored by Bane and two other sophomores.
Future Michigan State great Anthony “Amp” Campbell caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt 80 yards for a score, while future Oregon State quarterback Tim Alexander ran to the end zone on a fake field goal attempt in one of head coach John Sprague’s four wins against the nation’s No. 1 team at Riverview.
District champions Manatee and Riverview were ranked first and second, respectively, in the Class 5A state poll at the end of the 1991 regular season and slated for another collision in the first round of the state playoffs. Manatee, Riverview and Sarasota all competed in Class 5A that season, but they were in three separate districts.
Once again, it was Riverview’s ground game leading the way as the Rams rushed for 304 yards on 50 carries. Bane extended his school single-season rushing record to 1,546 with 134 yards in the 28-21 playoff win.
In his final high school game, Frazier was limited to 68 yards on 14 carries and four completions on 18 pass attempts.