Sunday, October 31, 2010

Top 10 scariest mascots

In the spirit of Halloween, the folks at Maxpreps have listed the top 10 scariest high school mascots.
No Hurricanes, Seminoles or Tiger here. But this list is good for a fright or two.
(Or 10, if your fear threshold is as small as mine.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Manatee's Blakely to get some rest

Having already clinched the Class 5A-District 10 title and a home game for the first round of the Region 3 playoffs, Manatee will close out the regular season with the intent of getting Mike Blakely healthy.
Hobbled by a pair of ankle injuries, the Hurricanes' star running back has been limited to 26 carries over the past four games, and was used mostly as a decoy during Friday's district-clinching win at Venice.
It was the first game this season Blakely, who committed to Florida last Tuesday, didn't have a hand in any of Manatee's touchdowns.
"We're going to get him well. He probably won't play next week," said Manatee coach Joe Kinnan. "When he gets to be 100 percent, we'll play him again."
Blakely hasn't been at 100 percent since suffering a tendon injury Oct. 8 against Sarasota, and clearly wasn't himself Friday, when he managed four yards on six carries and was walking gingerly during pre-game warmups.
"He gave a valiant effort and tried to do it, but he was at about 60 percent," Kinnan said. "And we were selective on where we played him."
The Canes close out the district schedule Friday against visiting North Port and host
Booker in the regular-season finale Nov. 12.
The playoffs begin Nov. 19, with Manatee hosting the District 9 runner-up.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Regional volleyball pairings

Regional volleyball pairings:
(All games at 7 p.m.)
Class 4A, Tuesday
Dover Strawberry Crest at Braden River
Palmetto at Lutz Steinbrenner
Class 3A, Wednesday
Labelle at Southeast
Cardinal Mooney at Fort Myers Bishop Verot
Class 2A, Tuesday
St. Petersburg Canterbury at Saint Stephen's,
Class 1A, Wendesday
Lakeland Sonrise Christian at Bradenton Christian

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blakely hopeful for Friday's game

With his long-awaited college decision now made public, Manatee running back Mike Blakely has turned his focus to the classroom and the Hurricanes' chase of another trip to the Class 5A state final.
A pair of ankle injuries have limited him to 20 carries over the past three weeks, though he hopes he can be ready when Manatee heads to Venice on Friday for a game that will decide the Class 5A-District 10 title.
Blakely, who rolled an ankle three weeks ago against Sarasota and sprained his other ankle last week against Riverview, said he walked through practice Monday.
"It should be all right," he said. "It should be good to go come Friday."
With a win, Manatee (7-0, 2-0) not only wins the district, but assures itself of a first-round home game. Consequently, the hope is that Blakely can make it through the Venice game and then take it easy while Manatee plays out the rest of the regular season with two games against North Port and Booker, neither of which will have any bearing on the Hurricanes' postseason.
"He's got to be ready to go and play the best he can, because if we can win the game...we can let him heal up whatever he needs to heal up," said coach Joe Kinnan. "Hopefully, he can be close to 100 percent by Friday."
Manatee has been able to thrive without a healthy Blakely thanks in part to the play of quarterback Cord Sandberg and wide receiver Quenton Bundrage, as well as a defense that limited the Rams to a pair of field goals last week at the Ram Bowl.
"The last two games, he's actually played really sparingly. We've got some other people and we've learned to adapt," Kinnan said. "We've got a couple of little wrinkles that we haven't shown yet, so we've got some other things that we can do. But we're certainly a much better football team when he's at full speed."

Marino wants Tigers to win smarter

Palmetto's win at Port Charlotte on Friday sets up a scenario similar to last season - the Tigers will face Lakewood Ranch in two weeks to decide Class 4A-District 11's final playoff spot.
The victory was dramatic - the Tigers beat the Pirates 31-27 on quarterback Melvin Burston's 3-yard run with just over 34 seconds left in the game.
Consequently, coach Dave Marino appreciated his team's grit. However, he knew that had the Tigers done a few things differently, the game never would have been that close.
"Early on, we had our chances to knock them out and really take control of the game," he said. "And we didn't."
One play in particular involved junior running back De'Quan Reddick, who had the ball stripped from him by a Port Charlotte defender late in the fourth quarter. The Pirates returned the fumble to Palmetto's 2 and took a 27-24 lead with 4:13 remaining.
Reddick's run, which went for 21 yards, was impressive, especially toward the end, when he dragged a handful of Port Charlotte players over the 50-yard line.
Marino, however, wished Reddick would have simply settled for the first down.
"You're in (a) five-minute offense. He should have went down. He got the first down, just go down. Slide," he said. "The extra two yards you're going to get doesn't matter...(The) clock's our enemy. We go over those things. But that's the problem when you have a young team - you have to continue to teach them how to win football games.
"They won with heart. I want them to win with their brains a little bit more."
But Palmetto did win, improving its overall record to 3-4 and its district mark to 1-1. The Tigers head to East Manatee County in two weeks to battle a Mustangs team that, similar to Palmetto, has had to battle through a litany of injuries this fall.
First, however, comes Friday's non-district game at Naples Gulf Coast, where Marino hopes the Tigers can iron out some bugs.
"We've just got to keep taking advantage of our opportunities every week to get better," he said. "Port Charlotte's out, so now there's two left standing. So (the Lakewood Ranch) game is going to be like this, but times 10. We've got to be ready for that. So we have to use (Friday) to get ready for that and prepare for that opportunity."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blakely's announcement set for 9 a.m. Tuesday

Manatee High running back Mike Blakely will make his college decision public during a 9 a.m. news conference Tuesday in the high school’s administrative conference room, according to a news release issued by Hurricanes football coach and athletic director Joe Kinnan.
Following Friday’s win at the Ram Bowl, Blakely said he would make his verbal commitment Tuesday, but didn’t say where or at what time.
One of the most sought-after recruits in the country, Blakely has netted approximately 40 Division I scholarship offers, but earlier this season said he had narrowed his choices to Auburn, Florida and South Carolina.
He took an official visit to Auburn last month and was in Gainesville when the Gators played LSU on Oct. 9.
Florida coach Urban Meyer was on Manatee’s sideline during Friday’s game at Riverview.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Manatee tumbles in USA Today poll

The Hurricanes haven't lost a game this year, but that hasn't impressed the voters on the USA Today Super 25 Boys Varsity Football Standings.
Manatee fell from fifth to ninth in this week's poll.
They are the second-highest ranked Florida team on the poll behind Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquians, which is ranked sixth.
The Hurricanes remain entrenched in the No. 2 spot on ESPN Rise, and remained fourth in the Beef O'Brady's Top 25.

Many volleyball teams staying close to home

The district volleyball playoffs begin next week, and many of the area's teams won't have to worry about long bus rides.
Manatee hosts Port Charlotte 6 p.m. Monday in a Class 5A-District 10 quarterfinal match, with the winner headed to top-seeded Venice on Tuesday.
Southeast hosts the Class 3A-District 11 tournament, beginning 6 p.m. Tuesday when top-seeded Cardinal Mooney plays either Wauchula Hardee or Booker, and the second-seeded Noles face No.3 Arcadia DeSoto at 7:30 p.m.
The winners meet 7 p.m. Thursday for the championship.
Saint Stephen's welcomes the Class 2A-District 11 playoffs to Hoagland Arena, and will face Out-of-Door Academy 6 p.m. Tuesday in a semifinal.
In the night's other match, top-seeded St. Petersburg Northside Christian plays either St. Petersburg Admiral Farraguy or Shorecrest at 7:30 p.m.
Similar to last season, the Class 4A-District 10 tournament will be played at various sites, with the higer seed playing host.
The tournament begins Tuesday when Bayshore visits Lakewood Ranch, and Seminole Osceola heads to Palmetto. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.
Braden River, the defending district champion the No. 1 seed, hosts either Bayshore or Lakewood Ranch 7 p.m. Wednesday. If Palmetto defeats Osceola, the Tigers play either St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins or St. Petersburg Lakewood 7 p.m. Wednesday at a site to be determined.
Bradenton Christian heads to Tampa Bayshore Christian for the Class 1A-District 8 meet.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blakely a maybe against Braden River

Manatee coach Joe Kinnan said Mike Blakely's availability will be a game-time decision for the Hurricanes' game at Braden River on Friday.
One of the most highly-touted running backs in the nation, Blakely rolled his ankle in the first quarter last week against Sarasota and was limited to two carries and two receptions - though he did score a touchdown in the Hurricanes' 45-10 win.
Kinnan's caution makes sense. While Manatee wants to keep its perfect season intact, the team also needs Blakely healthy for the next two weeks against Class 5A-District 10 foes Riverview and Venice.
Manatee has not won a district title since 2006, but advanced to the state title game last year after clinching the district's No.2 seed.
In Blakely's absence last week, quarterback Cord Sandberg rushed for 89 yards, and Manatee also got 21 yards on seven carries from Antonio Agurs.
Kinnan said defensive back Clinton Heaven (jaw) and receiver Anthony Lauro (knee) are out this week, but junior strong safety Hershel Caywood, who had 10 tackles, a sack and recorded a safety in Manatee's first two games, practiced this week.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

District golf begins next week

The fall postseason is upon us, beginning Monday when the area's golf teams start swinging toward the state tournament.
On the boys side, Bayshore, Braden River, Lakewood Ranch, Manatee and Palmetto compete in the Class 2A-District 14 meet 9 a.m. Monday at Kinsgway Country Club in Charlotte County.
On Tuesday, Bradenton Christian, Cardinal Mooney, Out-of-Door Academy, Saint Stephen's and Southeast tee up 10 a.m. at River Wilderness in the Class 1A-District 16 championship.
All 10 girls teams play Monday. Bayshore, Braden River, Lakewood Ranch, Manatee and Palmetto meet up in the 2A-14 meet 8:30 a.m. at Deep Creek Country Club.
Cardinal Mooney, Out-of-Door Academy, Saint Stephen's and Southeast head to Placid Lakes Country Club for the 1A-16 meet, which tees off at 11 a.m.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New date for county swim meet

The date of the Manatee County swim meet has been switched to Tuesday, Oct. 19 and Wednesday, Oct. 20 at G.T. Bray.
Diving preliminaries will take place on the first day and competition begins 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Bayshore, Braden River, Bradenton Christian, Lakewood Ranch, Manatee, Saint Stephen's and Southeast will be competing.
The meet was originally scheduled for this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Monday, October 4, 2010

No Manatee shakeups in polls

Manatee's 34-7 win over Lakewood Ranch on Friday kept the Hurricanes just where they were in a pair of national polls.
The Hurricanes (4-0) are still ranked second by ESPN Rise and fifth by USA Today, and moved up one spot to No.32 on
Manatee opens Class 5A-District 10 action Friday when the Hurricanes host Sarasota, which is 1-0 in district play after blanking North Port two weeks ago.

Hall of Fame Darling

Manatee cross country coach Rae Ann Darling Reed has never had much trouble getting through to her runners.
She has even more credibility now.
Reed was in inducted into the Monson High School (Massachusettes) Athletic Hall of Fame over the weekend. A 1991 alum of the high school, Reed ran cross country and track and Monson.