Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Manatee, Plant to meet again

The 2010 prep football season will pick up right where '09 left off:
Manatee vs. Tampa Plant.
The two will meet in August during a Kickoff Classic at Hawkins Stadium - eight months after duking it out for the Class 5A state championship, which Plant won 21-14 last Friday at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
The Hurricanes and Panthers opened the '09 season with a Kickoff Classic at Dads Stadium, where Manatee won 49-33.
Manatee finished the year ranked 26th in the RivalsHigh 100. Plant, which has won three state titles since '06, finished 17th.
The Hurricanes will play their spring game at Pinellas Park Largo, which advanced to the second round of the Class 4A playoffs, losing to Armwood.
"We're playing two good teams," said Manatee coach Joe Kinnan.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Canes finish the year ranked 26th

Manatee's football team finished the year ranked 26th in country, according to RivalsHigh 100, which was compiled with the help of
The Hurricanes went 13-2 and finished second in the state in Class 5A following Friday's 21-14 loss to Tampa Plant in the state title game. They began the year ranked 66th, fell out of the top 100 after losing to Venice on Oct. 30 and then vaulted to 20th after upsetting Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in a state semifinal on Dec. 11.
The Raiders, who were ranked No. 1 at the time, finished the season right behind Manatee at 27th. Tampa Plant, which won its second straight state title and third in four years - the previous two came when the Panthers were a 4A school - jumped ahead of Manatee, finishing 17th. They were 23rd entering the state title game.
Lakeland, which lost to Plant in the other Class 5A state semifinal, finished 75th.
West Palm Beach Dwyer, which won the Class 4A state title, finished seventh, tops among Florida schools.
Other Florida schools making the list were Class 6A champion Miramar (33rd), Class 4A runner-up Niceville (56th), Class 2A champion Cocoa (57th), Class 6A Deland (67th) and Class 2A runner-up Belle Glades Glades Central (72nd).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Aftermath of Manatee's defeat

Some tidbits from Manatee's 21-14 loss to Tampa Plant in Friday's Class 5A state title game:

- Junior Mike Blakely capped his postseason with another electrifying performance, finishing with 119 receiving yards, 64 rushing yards and a touchdown.
With Manatee down 21-7 in the third quarter, Blakely took a pass 86 yards to Manatee's 2, and then scored to make it 21-14.
"Coach gave me the ball the next play," he said, "and I knew I had to push it in for the team."
Blakely, who has already received offers from schools such as Clemson, Syracuse and USF, scored at least one touchdown in four of Manatee's five playoff games.
"We almost came back, but almost don't count," Blakely said. "Nobody thought we'd be here, but we're here. We ended up losing, but it's all right. We're going to regroup, we're going to work harder, we're going to come back next year and hopefully, get a win."
- Manatee's defense was much improved in the second half, shutting out Tampa Plant after allowing 21 points in the first half. The Canes limited James Wilder Jr., the Panthers' stud running back, to eight rushing yards after the break.
"We went inside and I challenged my guys to dig inside of them," said Canes defensive line coach Steve Gulash. "Plant is an unbelviable football team. But when you come out flat against a team who's been there, you've got to step it up quick.
"We came back out the second half and proved that we belonged here."
- Manatee is now 4-2 in state title games. Plant is a state champ for the third time since 2006 - and first time in Class 5A. The Panthers last two titles came as a Class 4A school.
- Manatee and Plant will see each other again next year for sure - the Canes face the Panthers in a Kickoff Classic for the second straight year next fall.

Manatee scores - again.

It's a game at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
One player after pulling in an 87-yard pass, Mike Blakely scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. Colby Lengel nailed an extra point, and the Hurricanes cut Tampa Plant's lead to 21-14 with 37 seconds left to go in the third quarter of the Class 5A state title game.

Manatee scores

The Manatee Hurricanes have a pulse.
Quarterback Brion Carnes and receiver Quenton Bundrage teamed for a 34-yard catch and run, and Colby Lengel booted an extra point, cutting Manatee's deficit to 21-7 in the Class 5A state title game against Tampa Plant.
There is 3:42 left in the third quarter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reiter heading to USF

Lakewood Ranch senior offensive lineman has committed to USF, said Mustangs coach Shawn Trent.
Schools such as Wake Forest, Florida International, Florida Atlantic and UCF also made offers to Reiter.
Reiter helped the Mustangs finish 6-5 this season en route to reaching the Class 4A playoffs. They were 1-9 last year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Canes climb the charts

Unranked entering the playoffs, Manatee is now 20th in the RivalsHigh 100 thanks to last week’s defeat of top-ranked Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. The Hurricanes were ranked 66th at the beginning of the season before dropping off the list. Aquinas, which had won 37 straight games before running into Manatee, is now 24th.
Manatee's opponent in Friday's Class 5A state title game, Tampa Plant, is ranked 23rd.
The Panthers jumped from 50th after beating Lakeland in the state semifinals.

A little about the Citrus Bowl

Orlando's Citrus Bowl, where Manatee will look to win its fifth state title 7 p.m. Friday against Tampa Plant, was opened in 1936 and hosts its first bowl - the Tangerine Bowl - in 1947.
Originally built to hold 8,900 people, the Citrus Bowl has a seating capacity of 70,000. It includes a full press box plus 30 luxury suites.
The Citrus Bowl annually hosts the Champs Sports Bowl, with this year's pitting Penn State against LSU. The stadium also housed five World Cup soccer games in 1994.
But the Citrus Bowl isn't limited to sport, having hosted events such as Monster Jam, Wrestlemania XXIV and concerts featuring acts such as Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones.
The stadium was also featured in Adam Sandler's 1998 movie, The Waterboy, as well as the television show, Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Manatee making national headlines

News of Manatee's defeat of nationally top-ranked Fort Lauderdale St.Thomas Aquinas during Friday's Class 5A state semifinal has spread.
To wit, USA Today mentioned in its blog at, as did
The Raiders had won 37 straight games, two consecutive Class 5A state titles and a national championship before bowing to the Hurricanes 28-20 at a raucous Hawkins Stadium.
Manatee (13-1) is back in a state final for the first time since 1993 and will face Tampa Plant (12-1) 7 p.m. Friday in the Citrus Bowl.
The Hurricanes and Panthers met during this year's Kickoff Classic at Tampa's Dads Stadium.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PAL Bowl is coming

The Brad Price Memorial PAL Bowl will be played 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 at the Ram Bowl in at Riverview High.
Here are the rosters:
Manatee County
BAYSHORE - Blake Karras, OL; Garrett Secor, OL.
BRADEN RIVER - Mick Olitsky, DB; Tevin Bryant, RB; Trevor Barnes, LB; Ty Davious Williams, DL; Joshua Spence, OL; Caleb Park, OL; Mark McKoan, TE; Joe Meador, DB, inj.
BRADENTON CHRISTIAN - David Schopfer, RB/DB; Josh Thomas, LB; Colton Goodwin, TE/DE.
LAKEWOOD RANCH - Octavious Washington, WR; Jared Brinton, DB; Danny Zarrella, DB; Peter Latham, LB; Austin Reiter, OL; Jake Carlton, TE; Steven Birakis, DL; Zack Self, TE, inj.
MANATEE - Ace Sanders, WR; Deonte Huggins, DB; Brion Carnes, QB; Shaunski Lawrence, DB/LB; Brandon Barber, OL; Taylor Shipley, LB; Ryan Brown, OL; Michael Duff, OL; Brandon Persinger, OL/DL.
PALMETTO - Donald Campbell, QB/WR; Brian Ackerman, DB; Ty Scott, DB; Tim Smith, OL; Jeremy Levan, OL; Travontae Rhodes, WR; Brandon Tarpley, K/P; Kerchal Byrd, Jr, LB, inj.
SAINT STEPHEN'S - Cam Allen, CB/RB; James Allen, OL/DL.
SOUTHEAST - Jonathan Dowling, DB; Letray Fagins, DB/RB; Jovon Garvin, DB; Waymon Bowden, RB/LB; Justin Pieterila, DE; Ryan Skipper, OL; Ricky Watkins, DL; Devon Bacon, WR.

SARASOTA COUNTY (are players only)
CARDINAL MOONEY - Mark Smith, OL/DL; Justin Adler, QB/WR/DB; Grayson Weber, OT; Blake Flessner, LB; Dylan Knopfke, WR/DB; Nick Smith, LB.
OUT-OF-DOOR ACADEMY - A.J. Strong, RB/DB; Jamie Onufrak, TE/DE: Spencer McKee, OL; Andrew McInnis, DB; Jon Grathwohl, DE.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Falcons ready to soar on mat

Saint Stephen's now features wrestling as a Florida High School Athletic Association recognized sport, and the Falcons will debut 4:30 p.m. Monday at Palmetto in a junior-varsity meet.
All of the Falcons' meets will be JV, and they will visit Clearwater Central Catholic on Dec. 12, Sarasota on Dec. 19, Braden River on Jan. 13, Englewood Lemon Bay on Jan. 16 and will compete in the county JV tournament Jan. 27 and 28 at Manatee, as well as the Don Sanford JV tournament Jan. 30 at Port Charlotte.
Saint Stephen's will wrestle varsity in the postseason, however, beginning with the Class 1A-District 11 meet, scheduled for Feb. 6 at Cape Coral Island Coast.