Monday, August 31, 2009

Braden River to host meeting

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, Sept. 22.
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, one of four, will take place in the auditorium.

An to be honored at halftime

Byeong-Hun An, a Bradenton Prep senior who became the youngest player to win a U.S. Amateur golf tournament Sunday, will be honored during halftime of Friday's football game at Palma Sola Park.
An, 17, will be in attendance Friday when the Patriots host Florida Christian. Kickoff is schedule for 7:30 p.m.
Walt Williams, Bradenton Prep's athletic director, said An will have his trophy in tow.

Canes' Sandberg to lose time after accident

Chase Sandberg, a sophomore wide receiver/placekicker at Manatee, sustained a broken nose and a broken leg after he was hit by a car prior to Friday's Kickoff Classic against Tampa Plant.
Coach Joe Kinnan said Sandberg will be out "for a while" Monday afternoon. Colby Lengel handled the placekicking duties for the Canes on Friday, converting all seven extra points in Manatee's 49-33 win.
Sandberg's dad, Chuck, is a longtime Manatee assistant who currently coaches the Hurricanes' receivers. Chase had two catches last year in that role.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, Kinnan said he was happy with the play of Clinton Heaven, a sophomore defensive back who was in on 11 tackles and assisted on three Friday night.
What he wants to see, however, is better play out of Manatee's tackles and its kicking and passing games, as well as the Canes' defensive ends and linebackers.
"All the mistakes on defense are correctable. What I am happy about is the kids played hard," Kinnan said. "It was a very physical football game. It was not your typical Kickoff Classic - it was a knockdown, drag-out heavyweight fight. And that's what we wanted."
Manatee opens the regular season Friday against Bayshore.

Gators to get a look at Sanders

Ace Sanders' electrifying performance during Manatee's Kickoff Classic at Tampa Plant has caught the attention of the defending national champions.
Florida has requested the tape of the Canes' 49-33 win over Tampa Plant on Friday, when Sanders grabbed seven catches for 193 yards in three touchdowns. Manatee coach Joe Kinnan said Gators coach Urban Meyer spoke with Sanders, a senior receiver, over the weekend.
"He is an explosive player," Kinnan said of Sanders.
According to, Sanders has received scholarship offers from USF, Miami, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, South Carolina and Texas Tech.
Sanders has a local connection to the Boilermakers, who are coached by former Manatee assistant Danny Hope. Receiver Eric Williams, who graduated from Manatee over the summer, signed with Purdue in February.

New-look Axon graces EMU's Web site

Recognize that guy on Eastern Michigan's athletics Web site? It's Manatee alum Ben Axon, sporting a new haircut and the colors of his new school.
Axon headed to Eastern Michigan after he was not admitted to South Carolina over the summer. Arrested on a marijuana charge in May, Axon completed 50 hours of community service and has passed random drug tests, according to the release on the Eagles' Web site. The site said Axon is on probation until probation until Oct. 18, and the charge will be dropped if the terms of the probation are met.
Axon's application to EMU was reviewed by the school's Admission Review Committee, which also thoroughly examined his high school transcripts and received letters of recommendation from Manatee High officials and coaches.
"I understand the mistake I made and how it has and could have affected my life," Axon said in his admission statement to the school, "and my ability to reach my goals."
Axon will sit out this season. The Eagles open their season 7 p.m. Saturday at home against Army.
"He is a 19-year-old who made a very bad decision," EMU's head coach, Ron English, said in the release. "Since he is a first-time offender with no prior issues with drugs, we believe he deserves a second chance. It will not be easy. He has to fulfill his obligations to the court and, in addition, we are mandating that he sit out one year and maintain a clean record and good academic performance in order to play in 2010."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Axon to play at EMU

Axon headed to Eastern Michigan

Ben Axon's college football career will resume in Ypsilanti, Mich., home of the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
Manatee assistant coach Chris Conboy said Axon, a former running back with the Hurricanes, is headed to the school, which plays in the Mid-American Conference.
"It was the only fit for him, and Ben realizes that," Conboy said. "But he liked the coach who recruited him."
After signing with South Carolina, Axon was arrested in May on a marijuana charge. Earlier this month, Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier said Axon had not been admitted to the school.
EMU was 3-9 overall and 2-6 in the conference last year, finishing last in the MAC's West Division.
"They've put some money in it to try and improve their status," Conboy said, adding the Eagles' non-conference schedule includes Army, Arkansas and Northwestern. "It's a better conference than people realize.
"It's a great conference. A lot of guys in the NFL played in that conference, and you can get a lot of exposure there."

Lots of locals playing SCF volleyball

Seven Manatee County alums will suit up for the State College of Florida - formerly Manatee Community College - volleyball team, with five county high schools represented.
Six of the players are freshmen.
Manatee has two players on SCF's roster - Sara Sharpin (defensive specialist) and Brittany Wilson (outside hitter), as does Braden River - Sarah Tickner (outside hitter) and Lauren Earl (defensive specialist), who is a sophomore.
Bayshore has Whitney McElhiney (setter), Palmetto will be represented by Jamie Goff (outside/middle blocker) and Lakewood Ranch sends Amanda Persails (defensive specialist) into the junior-college ranks.
State College of Florida scrimmages at Clearwater tonight and opens the regular season 7 p.m. Thursday against visiting St. Petersburg College.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hurricanes hop up a spot

Manatee's football team has moved up a spot in RivalsHigh 100 prep football rankings.
The Hurricanes are 65th on the list, which was unveiled Tuesday. Manatee was ranked 66th on the first list, published Aug.10.
The Hurricanes head to Tampa Plant, last year's Class 4A state champion, 7 p.m. Friday for a Kickoff Classic. They open the regular season Sept. 4 against Bayshore.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Canes to host county tournament

This year's Manatee County volleyball tournament will be hosted by the defending champions.
Manatee will house the tournament, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18 and Saturday, Sept. 19.
The tournament was originally considered a tri-county tournament when it appeared the Florida High School Athletic Association was going to trim the volleyball schedules. But when the volleyball teams were allowed to play 25 games, all the county schools were back on board.
The Hurricanes won the county championship last season, defeating rival Southeast in the finals.

For Palmetto, it's Riverview times two

Palmetto's football team is getting a double dose of Riverview this fall.
First, the Tigers head to the Ram Bowl 7:30 p.m. next Friday for a kickoff classic. The two teams meet again when Riverview heads to Harllee Stadium for a non-district regular-season game Oct. 16.
Palmetto coach Raymond Woodie said it's a matter of geography - heading to Sarasota for an exhibition game was more practical than heading to Orlando Edgewater, which was also looking for an opponent.
And Woodie said he and Rams coach John Sprague have a good relationship, and Woodie credits Sprague for helping "show me the ropes" when Woodie was a young head coach at Bayshore.
"We've talked about treating the kickoff classic like a kickoff classic," Woodie said. "Of course, you want to have a good performance. But you really want to use it as a final evaluation piece."
The Tigers open the regular season Sept. 4 at Southeast.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hurricanes hit top 100

Manatee is one of the best prep football teams in the nation.
This according to the RivalsHigh 100, which listed the Hurricanes 66th in its rankings Monday.
The Hurricanes return plenty of experience this season, including quarterback Brion Carnes and receiver Ace Sanders. Both have been starters since they were freshman.
Carnes has committed to USF, while a number of Division I schools are interested in Sanders.
Manatee went 7-3 last season but missed the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, which beat the Hurricanes in the 2005 and '06 Class 5A semifinals, is ranked No. 1 in the nation by RivalsHigh.
Other Florida schools making the list were Miami Northwestern (No. 11), Pahokee (No. 21), Miami Central (No. 24), Lakeland (No. 27), Miami Booker T. Washington (No. 36), Dwyer West Palm Beach (No. 43), Seffner Armwood (No. 56), Niceville (No. 69) and Delray Beach Atlantic (No. 96).

Axon denied admission to USC

Former Manatee running back has been denied admission to the University of South Carolina, according to a story in The State.
The story cited sources who claimed Axon's grades - thoughhe was an NCAA academic qualifer - as well as a May arrest on a marijuana charge were the reason he wasn't allowed in.
“He just wasn’t admitted. And as coaches, we understand why he wasn’t admitted,” Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier told the paper. “There’s a lot of players all over the country that are NCAA qualifiers, that universities don’t admit. So we understand that. I don’t want to go into all the reasons, but that happens sometimes.”
Axon, The Herald's Player of the Year in 2007, committed to Clemson last summer before changing his mind and signing with the Gamecocks. Florida, Florida State and West Virginia were among the other Division I schools interested in Axon during his career.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of schools looking at him because he’s a special player,” USC running backs coach Jay Graham told The State. “I hope things work out for him.”

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

ESPNU ranks Dowling 7th

Jonathan Dowling has caught the eye of the worldwide leader in sports.
Set to enter his senior year at Southeast, the defensive back was ranked 7th on ESPNU's top 150 recruits in the nation, and tops among safeties, for the class of 2010.
"Exceptional pass defender that has super instincts and outstanding ball skills," reads Dowling's evaluation on "Rarely out of position as a free safety and isn't out flanked by receivers."
Dowling had a program-best 14 interceptions last season for Southeast before verbally committing to Florida in the spring.
Jeff Luc, an inside linebacker from Treasure Coast, was the only player from Florida ranked higher than Dowling.
Jackson Jeffcoat, a defensive end from West Plano High in Texas, was ranked first.