Monday, September 28, 2009

Kinnan pleased with bye week

Initially, Manatee coach Joe Kinnan wasn't enamored about having a bye week this early in the season, especially since Manatee's open week the last few years came during Week 11.
Looking back, however, it worked out well. Manatee's last game, a 30-26 win Sept. 18 over Southeast, was an intense one played in front of over 7,000 fans. It felt more like a November playoff game than a non-district game in September.
Consequently, Kinnan was happy his team had a chance to catch its breath.
"Now, we're ready to go back," said Kinnan, whose Canes, 3-0 and ranked third in the state in Class 5A, head to Lakewood Ranch on Friday. "We're ready to play again.
"We had a very productive open week. We got back to the base stuff, and did a lot of things we wanted to do."
Kinnan wants to see better play out of his offensive line after Southeast sacked quarterback Brion Carnes six times.
"It comes down to technique. As an offensive lineman, there are certain things you have to do," Kinnan said. "We were bending at the waist, we were crossing our feet...We were freelancing, and not playing the way we've been coached."
Manatee had its share of big plays against the Southeast, but had its share of negative-yardage plays.
"We need to cut down on the negative plays," Kinnan said, "and keep the big plays coming."
This is a good time to start doing that - following Friday's non-district game with the Mustangs, the Hurricanes head to Sarasota for their Class 5A-District 10 opener.

FHSAA does away with regional baseball series

The Florida High School Athletic Association voted to discontinue its regional championship baseball series during Monday's meeting in Gainesville.
The association experimented with the series, which used a best two-of-three format to crown a regional champion, the last two springs.
"During the two-year trial, we received feedback from some of the participating schools that the experiment, while good for competition. was not being supported by spectator attendance," said FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing. "The format also created extended travel for schools, which became a budget concern."
Local schools Bradenton Christian, Cardinal Mooney and Out-of-Door Academy appeared in the series.
The regional championship will again be decided in one game.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mustangs show improvement at Tarpon Invite

Lakewood Ranch's swim team finished fifth during Saturday's Tarpon Invitation in Punta Gorda - one year after they placed 11th.
The girls team totaled 228 points, tying for fifth. Danielle Valley took first in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:11.39) and second in the 200 freestyle (1:56.73) and 200 freestyle (1:56.73). She also swam a leg on the 200 medley relay (1:59.53), which placed second, and the 400 freestyle relay (3:51.34), which was third.
Ashley Reid joined Valley on both relay teams and was second in the 200 individual medley (2:11.86).
The boys were eighth with 126 points. They got their best finish from the 200 medley relay team of Ryan Stasiowski, Phil Czupryna, Jimmy Cascone and Matt Polk, which was sixth with a time of 1:52.73.
The Mustangs return to action 4 p.m. Wednesday at Englewood Lemon Bay.

Braden River hosting FHSAA meeting Tuesday

Braden River High School will host one of the Florida High School Athletic Association's urban/rural committee meetings.
The meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and will run until 6:30 p.m.
According to the FHSAA, the urban/rural committee will address issues such as Some of the issues include attendance boundaries, open enrollment, foreign student eligibility requirements and guidelines, and the potential for illegal recruiting of student-athletes.
The committee is made up of athletic directors Elijah Bell (Jay High School) and Bob West (Jacksonville Bishop Kenny), athletic trainer Rick Williams and private citizen James Harris.
The meeting will take place in the auditorium.

Speight earns college football honors

Southeast alum Todd Speight, a junior at Western Illinois, was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference's special teams player of the week for his work in Saturday's game against Stephen F. Austin.
Speight finished with 295 return yards (207 on kickoffs, 88 on punts)and became the first player in program history to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same game.
Speight returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown - the second-longest punt return in school history - and a kickoff 93 yards for a score. The kickoff return was the 10th-longest in team history.
The Fighting Leathernecks lost the game 40-30. They have a bye this week, but return Oct. 3 to face Southern Illinois.
Speight is one of four former Noles on Leathernecks' roster, with others being receiver Charles Chestnut, defensive back Keiron James and lineman Enock Presendieu.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Southeast-Manatee not sullied

Southeast's loss against Lakewood Ranch shouldn't diminish the latest Southeast-Manatee game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium.
Would it be better if both teams were 2-0? Sure. But despite the loss, the Seminoles (1-1) are still ranked 10th in the state in Class 3A.
Manatee, which breezed past Bayshore and Palmetto during the first two weeks of the season, is third in Class 5A.
These teams are good. Both should make the playoffs and make spirited runs at a district championship. And try telling the players this game has lost its zest.
Southeast's Jonathan Dowling, for one, has never beaten Manatee. And Manatee's Ace Sanders wants to end his prep career with three straight wins over the Noles after Southeast beat the Canes in 2006, as does Brion Carnes, who made his varsity debut against Southeast that night.
And this is the last time Sanders, Carnes and Dowling, some of the top prep players in the country, will get their chance to leave a mark on the rivalry, which Southeast leads by a 14-13 margin.
Yes, Southeast-Manatee still means something, regardless of what happened last week. It will ALWAYS mean something.
And it will mean plenty come Friday.

Defense has Kinnan gushing

Counting the Kickoff Classic, Manatee has put up 129 points in three weeks, crafting an attack that's as successful in the air as it is on the ground.
The defense hasn't been too shabby, either.
The Hurricanes have yet to allow a touchdown during their two regular-season games, holding Bayshore and Palmetto to a combined. While neither are offensive juggernauts, Manatee coach Joe Kinnan is hoping the ratio sticks with the Canes throughout the season.
"You don't lose many when you don't let the people get on the scoreboard," Kinnan said, "except on a field goal."
Not even the Manatee defense of 2005 and '06, which carried the Canes to a pair of Class 5A state semifinal games, went consecutive weeks without allowing touchdown.
The Hurricanes (2-0) have allowed less than 300 yards of total offense over the first two weeks of the season. Consequently, they enter Friday's game against Southeast ranked third in the state in Class 5A, behind Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas and Lakeland.

Tarpley gives Tigers a boost

Palmetto's early-season struggles haven't gotten to Brandon Tarpley.
Considered one of the strongest prep kickers in the nation, Tarpley has accounted for all of the Tigers' scoring this season, converting field goals against Southeast and Manatee, and has been a force with his punts.
He averaged 44.7 yards on seven punts Friday at Manatee, saving his best for his last kick, which went 58 yards. Tarpley also hit a 50-yarder earlier in the game.
"He comes to play every day," coach Raymond Woodie said about Tarpley.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hurricanes volleyball a work in progress

Manatee High's volleyball team is ready for a rebuilding season.
But that doesn't mean the Hurricanes don't have their goals.
They want to win another county championship. They want to return to a mid-season tournament at The Academy of Holy Names in Tampa and retain their title.
The main point, however, is to get better.
"We'll take it one day at a time," said coach Jessica Hinkle.
Courtney McDonald, now at Auburn, and Taylor Mealy have graduated. The two were the main cogs of core that carried the Canes to four consecutive Class 5A regional tournaments and three county crowns since 2005.
This season, Hinkle is taking a different approach, one where she is teaching the game to some of the young players on her roster.
Manatee jumped right in, opening with Venice on Tuesday. The Indians rolled to a sweep.
"It's hard to open with Venice," Hinkle said. "But (the Canes) did well."
Paige Pierro, Taylor Jones and Shelby Knox are the seniors, and Hinkle is hoping the three can help carry Manatee to another county title.
Manatee hosts the tournament this year, to be played Friday, Sept. 18 and Saturday, Sept. 19. Friday's action will take place at Bayshore.
"It's a rebuilding year for us, hands down," Hinkle said."I think we have to take a more work-in-progess approach."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Panthers looking to Lakeland again

When talking about his Bradenton Christian Panthers, Greg Geraldson doesn't mince words.
"We think we can go to the final four again," BCS' head coach said.
The Panthers may have lost Sarah Geraldson, last year's All-Area Player of the Year, from a team that reached the Class 1A state final four for the second time in three years.
But Greg Geraldson, Sarah's dad, believes the Panthers have the ingredients to get back there again.
Maria DeKuiper, a 6-foot junior, is the team's best attacker, Greg said, while sophomores Abi Van Ostenbridge and Zhynna Ratner, and senior Kelly Moss, add to the Panthers' offense.
"We're probably more balanced," Greg said, "attack-wise, than last year."
The Panthers are in a new district this season, so Greg Geraldson acknowledges he doesn't know BCS' district foes as well this year as he has in the past. But he will get a good gauge on his team beginning today, when the Panthers head to St. Petersburg Keswick to play in a three-day tournament featuring 16 teams.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good start for Ranch swimmers

Lakewood Ranch's girls and boys swim teams began the fall on a fine note, sweeping Port Charlotte during Wednesday's season-opening meet.
The girls knocked off the Pirates 195-91 on the strength of Rebekah Baker, who had a hand in four wins. Baker placed first in the 100-meter butterfly (1:05.35) and the 100 backstroke (1:04.19) and swam a leg on two victorious relays. Regan Sauer won the 200 freestyle (2:09.19) and joined Baker on the 200 freestyle relay.
The boys meet was a bit closer, with the Mustangs winning 123-112. John Silvers won the 200 freestyle (1:56.81) and 500 freestyle (5:03.6), and swam a leg on the winning 200 freestyle relay team.
The Mustangs return to action Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Tarpon Invitational.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sanders biding his time

Manatee wide receiver Ace Sanders has over half a dozen scholarship offers on the table. But the senior is taking his time before making a decision.
"I haven't narrowed down anything," Sanders said Tuesday night. "I'll probably make my decision before the season is over."
According to, Sanders has received offers from schools such as Miami, Indiana, USF and South Carolina. Florida also contacted Sanders this weekend after Sanders pulled in seven catches for 193 yards and three touchdowns Friday against Tampa Plant.
Sanders said Florida coach Urban Meyer called Sanders, but didn't hasn't offered him a scholarship yet. The Gators want to see the film of Sanders' performance against Plant.
Sanders and the Hurricanes open the regular season Friday when they host Bayshore.
"I'm very excited for the season to start," Sanders said, "especially after Friday's game."

Lights! Camera! Football!

The third edition of the season-opening rivalry between Southeast and Palmetto will play out in front of television cameras Friday night at John Kiker Memorial Stadium.
The game will be game of the week on Bright House Sports Network, hitting the air at 7:30 p.m.
The Seminoles have already gotten some love from the network - they are ranked eighth on the BHSN's preseason poll.
This won't be Southeast's only television appearance - the Noles' trip to Manatee will be the game of the week Sept. 18.
The Hurricanes are ranked fourth in BHSN poll.

Canes on the radio

Manatee football games will once again be broadcast on the radio on AM 1490 WWPR, or online at Coverage begins 7 p.m. on game nights.
Also returning is the Hurricane Hotline, which will run 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday on WWPR. The show, featuring Manatee coach Joe Kinnan and Hurricanes broadcaster Dave Bristow, broadcasts live each week from Beef O'Brady's on Manatee Avenue West.