Friday, January 29, 2010

Bayside coming to Bradenton this spring

Manatee has a new opponent for this year's spring game - Palm Bay Bayside.
The Bears, who the Hurricanes defeated for the Class 5A-Region 3 championship, are headed to Bradenton after Manatee's original opponent, Largo, pulled out of the game.
Manatee was scheduled to travel to Largo and will host the Bears, who hosted the regional final during a rainy Friday night in December.
The Hurricanes will host another postseason rematch when Tampa Plant, which defeated Manatee in the Class 5A state title game, heads to Hawkins Stadium for a Kickoff Classic in August.

Manatee football awards

Manatee's football team handed out awards during the team's banquet earlier this week.

Team captains - Brion Carnes, Ace Sanders, Deonte Huggins
Charles Brown Sr. 110% Effort Award - Ryan Brown
Booster President's Character Award - Clinton Heaven
Outstanding Special Teams Player - Austin Smith
Outstanding Offensive Linemen - Nick Galati
Outstanding Receiver - Ace Sanders
Outstanding Defensive Back - Deonte Huggins
Comeback Player Award - Drakkar Wilson
Big Play Award - Shaunski Lawrence
Hammer Award - Travon Montgomery
12th Man Award - David Sheehan
Most Improved Offense - Michael Duff
Most Improved Defense - Davian Evans
Coaches' Award Offense - Quenton Bundrage
Coaches' Award Defense - Taylor Shipley
Co-Most Valuable Player Offense - Mike Blakely, Brion Carnes
Most Valuable Player Defense - Quinton Pompey

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sanders headed to South Carolina

One of the most hotly-coveted recruits in the area has made commitment.
Manatee senior wide receiver Ace Sanders has verbally committed to South Carolina, said Hurricanes head coach Joe Kinnan.
"They recruited the daylights out of him," Kinnan said. "He would have been a good fit for anybody. He can catch, he can return kicks...They got a good one."
Kinnan said Sanders has cancelled his scheduled visit to West Virginia.
Sanders had 65 catches in helping Manatee reach the Class 5A state final.
"He was very mature about how he approached it," Kinnan said. "He didn't make visits to places he wasn't interested in, to not waste his time or their time."

Sanders headed to South Carolina

One of the most hotly-coveted recruits in the area has made commitment.
Manatee senior wide receiver Ace Sanders has verbally committed to South Carolina, said Hurricanes head coach Joe Kinnan.
"They recruited the daylights out of him," Kinnan said. "He would have been a good fit for anybody. He can catch, he can return kicks...They got a good one."
Kinnan said Sanders has cancelled his scheduled visit to West Virginia.
Sanders had 65 catches in helping Manatee reach the Class 5A state final.
"He was very mature about how he approached it," Kinnan said. "He didn't make visits to places he wasn't interested in, to not waste his time or their time."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FHSAA developing provisions for Haitian refugees

The Florida High School Athletic Association is making preparations for the arrival of Haitian student-athletes heading to Florida in the wake of Haiti's devastating earthquake.
A conference call with superintendents and athletic directors has been scheduled for to deal with those students' eligibility.
The FHSAA provided refuge in 2005 for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. This is different, however, because of possible complications that can arise with immigration from another country and the students' potential lack of documentation.
"We are trying to be proactive in handling the influx of students from Haiti,” FHSAA executive director Roger Dearing said on the association's Web site. “The FHSAA will cooperate with individual schools, school districts and the Department of Education to help with the transition.”

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mustangs' opponent stripped of regional tennis title

Naples Barron Collier, which defeated Lakewood Ranch's and Bayshore's boys tennis teams during last year's Class 3A regional playoffs, has been stripped of its regional title for using an ineligible player, according to a story on the Naples Daily News' Web site.
The Cougars defeated the Bruins in the semifinals and Lakewood Ranch in the finals, advancing to the state tournament. According to the story, the Florida High School Athletic Association ruled back in June the Cougars had used an ineligible player, Bjorn Fratangelo, in the regional matches.
Fratangelo did not compete in district play because he was playing in the Easter Bowl and returned to play No. 1 doubles against Bayshore and Lakewood Ranch. Rather The FHSAA ruled Fratangelo was listed as the team's No. 1 singles player instead of being listed as an alternate, rendering him ineligible.
Bayshore and Lakewood Ranch filed protests following their losses last spring. Both were denied.
"After reviewing the situation and following my discussions with Mr. Gary Pigott (the association's senior director of athletics) … Barron Collier coach Eric Manring misinformed Mr. Pigott as to (Fratangelo’s) status on the district entry list,” Roger Dearing, the FHSAA's executive director, wrote in a letter to Lakewood Ranch principal Mike Wilder, according to the Naples Daily News. “Mr. Pigott was (led) to believe that (Fratangelo) was listed as an alternate on the district tennis entry list and not as the No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles player on the entry list for the district tournament.”
Barron Collier coach Eric Manring told the paper he never said Fratangelo was an alternate.
The Cougars were the only team to defeat Lakewood Ranch, which finished 19-1.

Manatee football may head to New Jersey or Texas

Manatee's run to the Class 5A state championship game put the storied program back on the national radar.
It may have put the program on the road, too.
Hurricanes assistant coach Chris Conboy said Manatee is in talks to possibly head to New Jersey next season to play either traditional Garden State powers Don Bosco Prep or Bergen Catholic.
Don Bosco not only won the state's Non-Public Group 4 State Championship, but the Ironmen, who hail from Ramsey, also won the national championship by finishing first in the RivalsHigh 100 final poll.
Helping the Ironmen's cause was the Hurricanes knocking off then-No. 1 Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in the Class 5A state semifinals. Manatee finished the year ranked 26th, while Aquinas, the national champ in 2008, was 27th.
The Canes could also head to Texas to face Abilene, which went 15-0 and won Texas' Division II state championship. The Eagles finished fifth in the nation.
Manatee went 13-2, reaching the state title game for the first time since 1993 and sixth time overall.

Brock's selflessness boosts Manatee

Kevin Cassidy needed a goalie.
So Manatee's girls soccer coach fired an email off to Alyssa Brock, one of his seniors, asking her if she was interested.
Her response?
"I'll do whatever you need me to do, coach."
Brock has done plenty, recording 89 saves and three shutouts for the Hurricanes (10-7-1), who play for the Class 5A-District 10 title tonight at Venice.
Manatee's goalie the past few years, Tina Papazian, is hoping to go to med school, and declined to play this season so she could focus more on academics and internships.
That put Brock in between the pipes, and the plan has worked.
"She's a fantastic goalie," Cassidy said.
During Wednesday's semifinal against Naples Gulf Coast, Brock had eight saves, keeping Manatee in the game and allowing the Canes to score a 3-2 win in double overtime.
Brock was also the most vocal in the team huddles, as well.
"Alyssa is a fantastic kid," Cassidy said.
The one downfall of putting Brock in goal is it robs Manatee of one of its better scorers. Cassidy took Brock out of the net during Senior Night, and she responded by scoring twice.
That said, putting Brock in goal has been a boon for Manatee, which has already advanced to next week's regional tournament.
"If I'm a business owner," Cassidy said, "I'm hiring her."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Saint Stephen's Watts headed to Defiance

A.J. Watts, a pitcher at Saint Stephen's, will play college baseball at Defiance College, a Division III school in Ohio.
Watts went 4-1 with a 2.41 in helping the Falcons win a district title last year.
"Defiance is exactly what I was looking for in a college," Watts said.
Defiance competes in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Carnes, Sanders hitting recruiting trail hard

With National Signing Day two weeks away, Manatee's Brion Carnes and Ace Sanders are squeezing in all the info they can before making a final decision.
Carnes, a quarterback, has not rescinded his verbal commitment to USF in the wake of coach Jim Leavitt's firing. However, he is visiting Nebraska this weekend and Western Kentucky next weekend. Cincinnati and Oregon have also turned up the heat since Leavitt's dismissal, and are trying to have Carnes visit next week, said Chris Conboy, Manatee's quarterbacks coach.
Western Kentucky has local ties in head coach Willie Taggart and defensive line coach Raymond Woodie, the former head coach at Bayshore and Palmetto.
Sanders hasn't committed anywhere and visited USF last weekend. Conbody said Sanders, a wide receiver, heads to South Carolina this weekend and West Virgina next weekend.
Signing Day is slated for Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scott to join Woodie at WKU

Palmetto defensive back Ty Scott will be joining Raymond Woodie at Western Kentucky.
According to and the Louisville Courier-Journal, Scott committed to the Hilltoppers last weekend - not long after Woodie, who coached Palmetto for four seasons, left the Tigers to become the Hilltoppers' new defensive line coach.
This could be one of several Manatee County players to head to WKU, which has ties to the area in not only Woodie, but head coach Willie Taggart, who played football at Manatee.
Scott is the second Palmetto football player expected to sign a Division I letter-of-intent on National Signing Day, joining defensive end Kerchal Byrd Jr., who has committed to Tulane.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Woodie's run a good one

Raymond Woodie is off to coach the defensive line at Western Kentucky, putting a close to a four-year tenure as Palmetto's football coach that can't be classified as anything but successful.
Woodie posted a winning record (26-17) and averaged over six wins a year, all the while keeping Palmetto in the playoff hunt each fall.
The Tigers went 4-6 in 2006, Woodie's first year, nearly making the playoffs before losing in a three-way tiebreaker. In '07, they got off to a 7-0 start - a run triggered by Palmetto's first win over Southeast in 15 years during Week 1 - en route to a 9-3 record and the Class 3A-Region 3 semifinals.
Though the '08 Tigers were upset by upstart Braden River during the first round of the regional playoffs, Palmetto went 8-3 and won a district title for the first time in nine years.
And this past fall, the Tigers shook off an 0-3 start and nearly made the playoffs before a wrenching loss to Lakewood Ranch in Week 9. Palmetto finished 5-5 despite losing 15 starters from the year before, giving Woodie three winning seasons out of four at his alma mater.
Meanwhile, Tigers such as Joe Hills (South Carolina), Damian Copeland (Louisville) and Kedric Johnson (Florida) signed Division I scholarships. Kerchal Byrd Jr. has committed to Tulane, and Brandon Tarpley, considered one of the best kickers in the country, is being courted by a number of Division I suitors and will be probably be headed somewhere come National Signing Day.
Palmetto is in better shape now than it was before Woodie joined the program, a delight to not only the school, but whomever is appointed to serve as Woodie's successor.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Basketball needs a county tournament

Bradenton Christian's boys basketball team can lay claim to being the champion of the Smoothie King Classic tournament.
But are the Panthers the champions of Manatee County?
The boys tournament, which was played during the last week of December at BCS, included all but one Manatee County team - Saint Stephen's, which takes a 4-3 record into Thursday's home game with Tampa Bay Christian, was absent - and used Out-of-Door Academy to round out the field.
Would the Falcons have made a difference? Maybe. Maybe not. No one will ever know.
But the Class 1A Panthers did play a sound tournament. After beating ODA in the first round, they outlasted Class 4A Braden River in the semifinals and knocked off Class 5A Manatee in the finals after by trailing by as many as 20 points in the third quarter.
And keep in mind the Panthers haven't lost to a Manatee County team since the 2006-07season, and defeated county foes such as Palmetto and Manatee last year.
So it wouldn't be a stretch to call BCS the best boys basketball team in Manatee County. That being said, however, it would be nice to see a bona fide county championship.
Pick a gym. Pick a weekend. Have a coaches meeting to determine the seeding, and play it out.
It's doable.
Volleyball does it. Golf does it. Cross country does it. Wrestling does it. Track and field does it. Swimming does it. And beginning last fall, football did it with the six public schools.
So why not basketball? As we saw at Bradenton Christian last week, eight-team tournaments can be run efficiently. And unlike holiday tournaments, where all teams are guaranteed three games regardless of how they do in the first one, the county tournament could be a one-and-done affair.
Win and move on. Lose and head home. If you want the two teams that lost in the semifinals to play a third-place game, so be it.
With the Florida High School Athletic Association deciding not to pare down the schedules, and basketball teams retaining their maximum 25 games, there is time and space to do something like this.
Getting a good crowd won't be a problem, with all eight teams bringing their share of supporters.
Holiday tournaments are great. But it would be nice, at least once, to give a true-blue county championship a try.