Monday, November 30, 2009

Canes grapplers ready to tackle adversity

Coach Andy Gugliemini and his Manatee Hurricanes have never shied away from challenges.
Well, the 2009-10 season should provide plenty of them.
Manatee was bumped from Class 2A to 3A this season, putting the Hurricanes in the same classification as state powers Kissimmee Osceola and Miami South Dade, along with Brandon, which has won 20 state championships and also made the jump from 2A.
Not only that, but the Hurricanes will have to make due without some key personnel, including three-time state-qualifier Isaac Riley, who Gugliemini said has chosen not to wrestle, and junior Alex Doran, who won a state title as a freshman and was a state runner-up last year.
Doran hurt his knee and probably won't see action until January.
Kyle Ballard, another state qualifier, has moved to Wauchula, and Jacob Gregory, who won a state championship last season, graduated.
"It's just another challenge," , said Gugliemini, whose Canes have won four straught district titles and finished second in the state in Class 2A twice in the last three years. "We still have kids who have worked hard in the wrestling room, and we're not going to sit there and cry about the kids who aren't in that room - we're going to work with the kids who are.
"They want to be Manatee Hurricanes."
One of the guys who wants to be in that room is Doran, who became Manatee's first freshman wrestler to win a state crown in 2008, and nearly repeated last year before losing 3-2 to Brandon's Clark Glass in the finals of the 130-pound class.
"He'll be all right," Gugliemini said. "He'll be ready when January rolls around. He's matured, that's the biggest thing, and yeah, he's a hard worker, and losing by a point in the state finals will only make him want to work harder."
Among the returning Hurricanes are juniors Marshall Stewart and Travis Fulk, senior Stephen Cotton and sophomore Ronnie Whitt, all of whom made state last year.
Stewart enjoyed the biggest breakthrough of all, rallying to finish third in the state at 135 pounds.
And Gugliemini is high on freshman Thor Miller (215 pounds), who won a national championship while wrestling with the Manatee Kids Club.
"He's going to be a monster," Gugliemini said.
As for the rest of his wrestlers, Gugliemini is confident they will be ready at the right time.
"By the time January rolls around," he said, "our kids are gonna to be ready."

Take the bus to Palm Bay Bayside

Chartered buses have been made available to anyone wanting to go to Manatee’s Class 5A-Region 3 championship game Friday night at Palm Bay Bayside.
The cost is $30 and includes a ticket to the game, a soft drink and two sandwiches at the game.
Tickets can be purchased at Manatee High from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, and the buses will depart the Shake Pit, 3801 Manatee Ave. W, 3 p.m. Friday.
Parking for those taking the bus will be available at the Westgate Publix.
For more information, call 714-7300.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Manatee's foe in new territory

Manatee will be playing for the program's 11th regional championship Friday when the Hurricanes head to Palm Bay Bayside for the Class 5A-Region 3 final.
The hosts will be playing for their first.
The Bears are in the playoffs for the third time and secured their first postseason win Nov. 20 with a 17-13 win over Royal Palm Beach. On Friday, Bayside (8-4) rolled past Melbourne 28-3 to clinch their first appearance in a regional final.
The Bears made the postseason in 2006 but lost 30-0 to Daytona Beach Mainland, and qualified again last season before losing 33-7 to Delray Beach Atlantic.
By contrast, the Hurricanes (11-1) are in the playoffs for the 23rd time and are 43-18 in postseason play following Friday's 21-7 win over St. Petersburg in a regional semifinal.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Regional football matchups

Here are the area matchups for Friday's playoff football games.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Class 5A-Region 3 semifinal
St. Petersburg (10-1) at Manatee (10-1)
Class 3A-Region 3 semifinal
Lake Wales (9-1) at Braden River (7-4)
Class 1B-Region 3 final
Fort Myers Evangelical Christian (9-2) at Out-of-Door Academy (9-1)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Manatee's first-round opponent has pulled off solid turnaround

Say this about St. Petersburg Gibbs, which will host Manatee in a Class 5A-Region 3 quarterfinal Friday night:
The Gladiators know when to start winning.
After an 0-3 start during which they were outscored 120-44, the Gladiators reeled off six wins in their final seven games and clinched the District 9 title with a 41-13 win over St. Petersburg 41-13 on Oct. 9.
It was the lone loss of the season for the Green Devils, who head to Venice on Friday in another regional quarterfinal.
Spurring the resurgence has been senior quarterback Josh Rembert, who has thrown for 1,550 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was solid against St. Petersburg, completing 13 of 18 passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns.
Gibbs is coached by former pro cornerback Donnie Abraham, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2001.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hurricanes looking to win Friday

Manatee finds itself in peculiar place this week - the Hurricanes are playing football.
Since Joe Kinnan returned to the sideline in 2005, Manatee had its bye week during Week 10. This year, the Hurricanes were off during Week 4. So Manatee (8-1) will close the regular season 7:30 p.m. Friday in Sarasota when the Hurricanes face Booker.
"We're playing to win," Kinnan said, "and keep the guys in there we need to have in there."
Kinnan views the Tornadoes (3-6) as a good tune-up for Manatee's Class 5A-Region 3 opener at St. Petersburg Gibbs on Nov. 20.
"They always have good athletes. Coach (Fred) Gilmore does a great job," Kinnan said. "They have similar athletes to what were are going to see against Gibbs."
The Hurricanes are hoping click as well offensively as they did against North Port, when they scored 43 points in the first half. Kinnan sat all his starters after halftime.

Falcons hoping to go out on a high

A victory Friday for Saint Stephen's gives the Falcons (4-5) their third straight .500 season.
But first year head coach Stan Brown thinks a victory over host Cardinal Mooney would mean more than just a the record.
"We want to go out on a high note," Brown said, "especially against a Class (2B) school."
The Class 1B Falcons' last game against a school that size didn't go well - they lost 48-7 to Class 2A Boca Raton St. Andrew's on Oct.2.
"I think our kids were kind of shocked," Brown said.
So they are hoping to right the ship against the Cougars (2-7), who have lost seven straight.
"Forget their record. They're a 2B school," Brown said.
Saint Stephen's returns both of their quarterbacks, Adam Vining and Michael Roberts, as well as Sam Mire, who runs the ball and catches passes, as well as other key players Brown will be looking at Friday.
Regardless, the coach is happy with how his team matured since getting shut out by St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut during the Kickoff Classic.
"We've fought hard," Brown said, "and we have shown a lot of progress."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Football playoff pairings

The regional football playoffs begin Friday, Nov. 20. Listed below are the matchups for the area qualifiers.
All games begin at 7:30 p.m.

Class 5A-Region 3 quarterfinal
Manatee at St. Petersburg Gibbs
Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinal
Lakewood Ranch at Cape Coral
Class 3A-Region 3 quarterfinal
Lake Wales at Southeast
Braden River at Winter Haven
Class 1B-Region 3 semifinal
St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut at Out-of-Dor Academy

Alumni basketball game at Palmetto

Palmetto’s 2nd Annual Men’s Basketball Alumni game will be played 6 p.m. tonight at Butch Hughes Gymnasium. Among the participants will be Shelton Bruton, Danna Miller, Travaris Woodie, Deion Mathis and Julius Simmons.
Palmetto’s boys team will scrimmage after the game.
Anyone interested in playing can contact Wilmore Fowler at 723-4848, ext. 2049.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Woodie proud of his Tigers

Palmetto's resurgence has made a happy man of coach Raymond Woodie.
In a hole after an 0-3 start, the Tigers have won four of five and can clinch a third straight playoff berth Friday with a win over visiting Lakewood Ranch.
Not bad for a team that didn't score a touchdown until the third week of the season.
"I’m pretty happy with the improvement of the kids," Woodie said. "When you have young kids going against real tough teams, you always want to see improvement. We try to tell them, 'Let’s improve each week.' And they have."
The Tigers have received a jolt offensively from Marquis Green, whose switch from cornerback to tailback has given Palmetto a bona fide offensive threat. And Donald Campbell, typically a receiver, has adjusted to life under center, especially in the wake of quarterback Rian Kelly's ankle injury.
But the younger players have learned to work with the veterans, putting Palmetto on the cusp of a fine turnaround.
"I’m proud of my kids for working hard," Woodie said. "Like I always say, if you work hard, you’ll be in a good position. We still got a chance, and that’s all we ask for."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hurricanes looking for quick bounce back

Those who think Manatee's football team has little left to play for during its last two games is sorely mistaken.
Coach Joe Kinnan wants his Hurricanes to close the season with wins over North Port and Booker and take some momentum into the Class 5A-Region 3 playoffs, which begins Friday, Nov. 20 when the Canes head to St. Petersburg Gibbs.
"We have to rebound," Kinnan said, "and end the regular season 9-1."
Manatee (7-1) lost to Venice on Friday, costing the team a chance to win its first district title since 2006. The Hurricanes, however, will head to the postseason with the district's second seed.
They visit North Port on Friday for their final District 10 game of the season before traveling to Sarasota next week to face Booker.
Regardless of how they play the next two weeks, the Hurricanes can get a rematch with Venice in a regional semifinal if both teams win their first round games. That game would be played Nov. 20 at Venice.
"It's not often in sports that you get a second chance," Kinnan said."And right now, we possibly could get a second chance."
Kinnan said he hopes to get senior defensive back Travon Montgomery into the next two games in order to get him ready for the playoffs.
Montgomery has appeared in four games for Manatee, totaling six tackles and an interception. He didn't play varsity football last season.
"It's tough (to evaluate) a player when he doesn't play as a junior or a sophomore," Kinnan said.