Friday, May 28, 2010

Sandberg's spring game a big step forward

No one in Manatee colors doubted that Cord Sandberg could ably fill the void left under center by Brion Carnes.
Nonetheless, they all have to even better about the transition after Friday's 48-41 spring win over Palm Bay Bayside.
Sandberg, a rising sophomore, completed 21 of 23 passes and threw five touchdowns.
"I really didn't know what to expect," Sandberg said. "The offensive line was great - it gave me time, and the receivers running around, getting open...it just happened."
Sandberg has Manatee football in his blood. His father, Chuck, is a longtime Hurricanes assistant who currently coaches the receivers. And his older brother, Chase, a placekicker and receiver, is set to begin his third season on the varsity roster.
Cord tasted success himself last fall, when he piloted Manatee's JV team to an undefeated season and performed well when he appeared in three varsity games after a late promotion.
Friday, however, was different. He started a varsity game for the first time and showed plenty of poise in leading Manatee's final drive - a 74-yard, four-minute charge capped with a 7-yard touchdown toss to Quenton Bundrage with :21.4 seconds left in the game.
Sandberg went 4 for 4 on the drive and hit Mike Blakely for a 34-yard completion with Manatee facing a 3rd-and-15 from its own 47.
"It was good to have some success," Cord said. "Friday night, the real thing, with something that I'm going to be doing for the next three years. It's real important and I'm glad it happened."
Cord and Bundrage showed plenty of synergy, hooking up for four touchdowns and 162 yards.
"Q's amazing - I love him," Cord said. "He's fast, he can jump, he's an amazing athlete. I'm glad I have him."
After what happened Friday, the Hurricanes are surely saying the same thing about Cord Sandberg.

Reddick will be Palmetto's tailback this fall

Dequan Reddick started at tailback for Palmetto during Thursday's spring football game against St. Petersburg Northeast, a scenario that will play out during the fall, as well.
"Dequan Reddick is much better this year," coach Dave Marino said. "He's a year older, a year stronger..."
Reddick carried the ball 46 times for 156 yards in 2009.
"We felt that Dequan was ready to step up and carry the load for us at tailback (this spring)," Marino said. "(Last year), he was just young...Now, he's a sophomore going into his junior year, and he's bigger and stronger.
"And now, he's ready to carry the load and handle the punishment at tailback."
The coaches' confidence in Reddick has allowed Marquis Green to slip into the defensive backfield. Green missed the beginning of last season with an injury, but still managed to tally nearly 1,000 yards rushing.
He had one carry Friday - and turned it into a 66-yard touchdown run. That said, Marino feels Palmetto is a better team with Green at cornerback.
"He's going to have to play both ways," Marino said. "We played him at tailback out of necessity last year. We've lost some guys in the secondary, so we needed to put Marquis back over there to solidify that unit on the back end."
Both expect to be in action Aug. 27, when Palmetto hosts Riverview in a Kickoff Classic.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pirates, Falcons are sportsmanship champs

Braden River and Saint Stephen's were among the schools selected for the 2009-10 Florida High School Athletic Association/Fred E. Rozelle Sportsmanship Awards on Wednesday.
Saint Stephen's was named the overall winner in Class 2A and Braden River earned the honor in Class 4A.
The seven classifications were divided into four sections, with the overall winner chosen out of that pool of sectional champs.
The Falcons and Pirates - the Section 3 winner - receive $2,500 and a plaque for winning the overall award. Sectional winners were given $500 and a plaque.
Schools are judged on programs and activities within the school and community that promote sportsmanship, the number and type of unsportsmanlike ejections and the number and type of exceptional sportsmanship reports.
A selection committee reviews the nominees and chooses the winner.
Rozelle is the emeritus commissioner of the FHSAA who worked as the association's executive secretary and commissioner from 1980-91.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yankees high on Murphy

It appears that J.R. Murphy, a Bradenton resident and graduate of The Pendleton School at IMG Acadamies, has been impressing the right people with the New York Yankees.
Murphy was promoted from the Yankees' GCL rookie team last week to the organization's low Single-A team in Charleston. He's batting .286 in seven games with the RiverDogs with six RBIs, and is showing he belongs in the Yankees' deep pool of catching prospects.
The Yankees took Murphy in the second round of last year's draft after he batted .627 with 11 home runs during his senior year at Pendelton.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Manatee's mission: Get Blakely the ball

Manatee coach Joe Kinnan is happy with the progress of his quarterback, rising sophomore Cord Sandberg.
But he also said feature back Mike Blakely will take about 15 snaps a game, lining up under center whenever Manatee runs the Wildcat.
"It gives us another chance to get his hands on the ball," Kinnan said.
Blakely accounted for 2,000 yards of offense and 19 touchdowns last season, and ran for 86 yards with a touchdown in the Class 5A state final against Tampa Plant.
He also has no trouble filling a highlight reel.
Blakley has roughly two dozen scholarship offers, with schools such as Florida, Miami, South Carolina and Clemson in on the wooing. He and the rest of the Hurricanes take the field Friday, May 28 when Manatee hosts Palm Bay Bayside at 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is spring football contagious?

It's hard to believe, but a football-crazy state such as Pennsylvania doesn't have spring football.
Well, that may change.
The Keystone State is leaning toward adding a spring practice period - an idea that received a ringing endorsement from a pair of familiar college coaches earlier this week.
Unlike in Florida, where spring practice begins May 1, Pennsylvania would start its spring sessions start toward the end of May, as per request of the state's coaches.
That said, the biggest stumbling block could be a bylaw within the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association stating one sport cannot be a detriment to any others. Spring football in Pennsylvania could cut into volleyball, tennis, lacrosse, baseball and track.
"We don't see it happening, and mostly because it will be a detriment to the five other spring sports," PIAA assistant executive director Melissa Mertz told The Associated Press.
Having worked in Pennsylvania for four years, I can tell you football up there is huge, especially in the western part of the state.
(This flick gets it right).
So spring football would make as much sense up there as it makes down here. It buys coaches 20 extra days of practice, helps make preparation for the summer that much easier and gives kids a chance to give football a try. If a player drops off the team in spring, it is much easier to deal with than if he does so two weeks before the season opens.
And May 20 in Pennsylvania is much cooler than May 20 in Florida.
So PA ought to give it a try.
I mean, if Joe Pa likes it, it has to be good, right?

Spring football game pairings

Friday, May 21
Cardinal Mooney at Southeast
Saint Stephen’s at St. Petersburg Keswick
Bradenton Christian at St. Petersburg Shorecrest

Thursday, May 27
St. Petersburg Northeast at Palmetto
Braden River at Riverview

Friday, May 28
Palm Bay Bayside at Manatee
Palm Harbor University at Bayshore
Lakewood Ranch at Cape Coral Island Coast

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Garofalo to coach at SCF

Former Southeast volleyball coach Carmine Garofalo has been named the women's volleyball coach at State College of Florida. He replaces Lewis Gibson.
Garofalo left Southeast after last season to become the men's and women's volleyball coach at Southern Vermont.
He went 66-65 in five seasons with Seminoles, recording consecutive 20-win seasons.
The Manatees went 6-29 last season.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ranch's regional baseball semifinal rescheduled

Lakewood Ranch's Class 4A-Region 3 baseball semifinal against Tampa Jesuit will be played 11 a.m. Saturday at Lakewood Ranch.
The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.
The Mustangs (16-13) defeated Tampa Jefferson on Tuesday in a regional quarterfinal. Jesuit (26-3) is ranked 29th in ESPN Rise's Fab 50. The Tigers were upset by Jefferson in the District 9 championship game but defeated Seminole Osceola on Tuesday.
The winner of Saturday's game plays either Cape Coral Mariner or Naples Barron Collier on Friday, May 14 in a regional final.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Strong happy with Manatee's direction

Manatee's baseball season may have ended earlier than he had hoped, but coach Dwayne Strong likes where the program is headed.
And with good reason.
In three seasons at the helm, Strong has helped the Hurricanes to two consecutive regional appearances, the first time Manatee baseball has accomplished that feat since 1997-99.
"Kids are working hard," Strong said after the Canes lost 3-2 to Tampa King on Tuesday in a Class 5A-Region 3 quarterfinal. "We've just got to continue to buy into what we're trying to do."
Josh Clemen, Sean Smith, Dustin Johnson and Aaron Graham were the only seniors in the starting lineup Tuesday.
"Everybody else is back," Strong said.
Included in that lot is sophomore Correlle Prime, who pitched 6 1/3 solid innings against Venice during last week's District 10 title game. Freshman Scott Kelly also piled up innings on the mound this season, which should help offset the loss of Clemen, the staff's ace who is headed to State College of Florida next season.
In fact, the upper third of Manatee's batting order Tuesday - Chase Sandberg, Cord Sandberg and Bryan Voelkl - was comprised of underclassmen.
"We're looking forward to some good things in the years to come," Strong said.