Saturday, January 29, 2011

Boys regional soccer pairings

The boys soccer regional playoffs begin Thursday, and listed below are the pairings.
Class 4A-Region 3
Lutz Steibrenner at Palmetto, 7 p.m.
Lakewood Ranch at Tampa Jesuit, 7 p.m.
Class 3A-Region 3
Cardinal Mooney at Fort Myers Gateway Charter, 7 p.m.
Fort Myers Bishop Verot at Southeast, 7 p.m.
Class 2A-Region 3
Spring Hill Bishop McLaughlin at Saint Stephen's, 4 p.m.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Canes, Bosco Prep reach agreement

The Manatee Hurricanes signed a two-year home-and-home agreement Friday to play football against New Jersy powerhouse Don Bosco Prep, according to Manatee assistant Chris Conboy.
The teams were supposed to play this past season, but Bosco pulled out of the game in March.
This year, the teams went through an intermediary - Halloy Boy Sports Marketing, which coordinated September's Rally at The Wolvarena, a four-game event in Pennsylvania where the Canes opened the 2010 regular season.
Under the agreement, the Ironmen head to Bradenton in 2011, and the Canes go to New Jersey in 2012.
Conboy also said Manatee agreed in principle to travel to Olney, Md., to play Our Lady of Good Counsel in the fall.
Similar to last year's trip to Pittsburgh, these games will be financed by the team and sponsors, and will not come out of the school district's budget.
Check out Saturday's edition of The Bradenton Herald for more on this story.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Girls regional semifinal pairings

Three girls soccer teams are still alive in a chase for a state championship, including Lakewood Ranch, which is looking for a second straight trip to the Class 4A final four.
The Mustangs, along with Cardinal Mooney and Saint Stephen's, won during Thursday's regional quarterfinals and advanced to Tuesday's semifinals.
Check out Friday's edition of The Bradenton Herald for Thursday's quarterfinal results and scores.
The semifinal pairings are listed below.
Class 4A-Region 3 semifinal
Lutz Steinbrenner at Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m.
Class 3A-Region 3 semifinal
Cardinal Mooney at Fort Myers Bishop Verot, 7 p.m.
Class 2A-Region 3 semifinal
Tampa Prep at Saint Stephen's, 4 p.m.
Winners advance to the regional finals, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 4.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wrestling: Canes reclaim county title

Manatee's wrestling team reclaimed the county championship during Wednesday's tournament at Southeast.
The Hurricanes, whose run of 13 straight championships was snapped last year by Palmetto, went 5-0.
Lakewood Ranch was second, followed by Palmetto, Braden River, Southeast and Bayshore.
For more on this story, check out Thursday's edition of The Bradenton Herald.
Listed below are the county champions for each weight class.

103 pounds - Ronny Whitt, Manatee
112 - Donnie Jankowski, Manatee
119 - Blake Riley-Hawkins, Lakewood Ranch
125 - Ryan Leverenz, Lakewood Ranch
130 - Marshall Stewart, Manatee
135 - Travis Fulk, Manatee
140 - Alex Doran, Manatee
145 - Brett Barber, Manatee
152 - Cooper Chrisman, Braden River
160 - Tyler Williford, Palmetto
171 - Kaleeb Deedrick, Braden River
189 - Kyle Riley-Hawkins, Lakewood Ranch
215 - Shedarius Smith, Palmetto
285 - Quinn Tibbetts, Manatee

Coach Mike Kelly Memorial Most Oustanding Wrestler - Kyle Riley-Hawkins, 189, Lakewood Ranch.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday's prep events postponed

(Logo from

All of tonight's prep sporting events have been called off because a severe weather and tornado watch, according to a release issued by the School District of Manatee County.
The district cancelled all of its after-school events, including Open House nights and a financial forum at Palmetto, as well as the sporting events.
Today's boys district soccer games involving Bayshore, Bradenton Chrisian, Braden River and Palmetto have been pushed to Wednesday.
The Manatee County wrestling tournament will be wrestled Wednesday at Southeast. The tournament was slated to begin tonight.
For more information, check out Wednesday's edition of The Bradenton Herald.

County wrestling slated for today, Wednesday


Coach Andy Gugliemini, above, and his Manatee Hurricanes will look to reclaim the Manatee County wrestling crown during this year's tournament today and Wednesday at Southeast.
Wrestling begins at 4 p.m. today and resumes at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Canes' string of 13 straight county titles was snapped last year by Palmetto, the area's newest program. The Tigers began wrestling in 2005.
Aside from settling backyard rivalries, the county tournament is a good primer for the postseason, which gets underway Sat., Feb. 5 with the district meets.
Bayshore and Braden River will join host Palmetto at the Class 2A-District 11 meet, Manatee heads to North Port for the Class 3A-District 8 meet and Southeast will be off to Cape Coral Island Coast for the Class 1A-District 11 meet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Girls Regional soccer pairings

Four area girls soccer teams qualified for the Region 3 playoffs, which get underway Thursday.
The pairings are listed below. All games start at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Winners advance to the regional semifinals, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Class 4A-Region 3
Dover Strawberry Crest at Lakewood Ranch
Class 3A-Region 3
Fort Myers Gateway Charter at Cardinal Mooney
Southeast at Fort Myers Bishop Verot
Class 2A-Region 3
Spring Hill Bishop McLaughlin at Saint Stephen's, TBA

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Falcons: A winter of district domination

Saint Stephen's road to Friday's Class 2A-District 10 girls soccer final hasn't been littered with as much as a close district game.
In their seven regular-season league games, the Falcons outscored their opponents 48-1, and have won their first two postseason games by a combined score of 10-0.
Do the math: a 58-1 tally in district games this year.
And they haven't allowed a goal to a district foe since beating Tampa Cambridge 9-1 on Nov. 16.
Saint Stephen's has long been one of the area's most competitive teams. If the Falcons beat Shorecrest Prep in Friday's 2A-10 final, it will be their fourth straight district title and seventh overall, all of which have come since 2000.
This year, they are doing with a new coach, Eric Howell. Howell's daughter, Hannah, is a sophomore, so he had been familiar with the team before taking the reins over from Bill Unzicker.
Unzicker is now the U17 boys coach at The IMG Soccer Academy, and according to Eric Howell, has been supportive all season.
"He set the standard," coach Howell said.
It is a standard that becomes even higher if the Falcons can win Friday and further a jaw-dropping plow through district opponents.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Boys district soccer pairings

Manatee's reward for beating Naples Gulf Coast during the regular season?
A home game.
The Hurricanes earned the second seed for the Class 5A-District 10 soccer tournament and host the third-seeded Sharks 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26 in a semifinal. The other semifinal pits top-seeded Punta Gorda Charlotte against either Venice or Port Charlotte. The championship game is slated for 7 p.m. Friday, with the highest seed hosting.
What do the other brackets have in common? Local teams are own the No. 1 seed. Lakewood Ranch is the top team in Class 4A-District 10, as are Cardinal Mooney (Class 3A-District 11) and Saint Stephen's (Class 2A-District 10).
The pairings can be found below. Seeds are in parentheses.

Class 5A-District 10
Semifinal, Wednesday, Jan. 26

(3) Naples Gulf Coast at (2) Manatee, 7 p.m.
The winner advances to Friday's 7 p.m. championship game. Wednesday's other semifinal is between Punta Gorda Charlotte and either Venice or Port Charlotte.

Class 4A-District 10
Quarterfinals, Tuesday, Jan. 25
(5) Bayshore at (4) St. Petersburg Lakewoood, 7 p.m.
(6) Palmetto at (3) Seminole Osceola, 7 p.m.
(7) St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins at (2) Braden River, 7 p.m.
Semifinals, Wednesday, Jan. 26
Lakewood/Bayshore at (1) Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m.
Osceola/Palmetto vs. Braden River/Dixie Hollins, 7 p.m. at highest remaining seed
Championship, Friday, Jan. 28
7 p.m. at Manatee County school unless two Pinellas teams are playing

Class 3A-District 11 at Booker
Semifinals, Tuesday, Jan. 25
(3) Arcadia DeSoto vs. (2) Southeast, 6 p.m.
Hardee/Booker vs. (1) Cardinal Mooney, 8 p.m.
Championship, Friday, Jan. 28
7 p.m.

Class 2A-District 10 at St. Petersburg Shorecrest
Quarterfinals, Monday, Jan. 24
(2) Out-of-Door Academy vs. (7) St. Petersburg Keswick Christian, 5 p.m.
(1) Saint Stephen's vs. (8) Tampa Cambridge, 7 p.m.
Quarterfinals, Tuesday, Jan. 25
(4) Bradenton Christian vs. (5) St. Petersburg Northside Christian, 5 p.m.
Semifinals, Wednesday, Jan. 26
ODA/Keswick Christian vs. Shorecest/Admiral Farragut, 5 p.m.
Saint Stephen's/Cambridge vs. Bradenton Christian/Northside Christian, 7 p.m.
Championship, Friday, Jan. 28
7 p.m.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bundrage commits to Iowa State

(Photo from

Manatee receiver Quenton Bundrage said Monday that he has committed to Iowa State.
Bundrage finished his senior season with 70 catches for 1,225 and 15 touchdowns, helping Manatee reach the Class 5A state semifinals. He was a First-Team All-Area pick for a second straight year.
Louisville, Cincinnati, Bowling Green and UCF were other schools who made Bundrage offers.
The Cyclones went 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12 last season.
Check out Tuesday's edition of The Bradenton Herald for more on this story, including comments from Bundrage.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blakely to miss spring practice at UF

Manatee grad Mike Blakely has a shoulder injury and will miss spring practice at Florida, according to this report from
Blakely will undergo surgery Wednesday, according to the story.
The running back rushed for over 1,900 yards as a senior for Manatee, helping the Hurricanes reach the Class 5A state semifinals. He graduated high school early and enrolled at Florida on Jan. 10.
Blakely missed part of his sophomore season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, though it is unknown if the two injuries are related.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

De La Salle wins virtual national championship

(Photo from

De La Salle, out of Concordia, Calif., has won the high school national football championship.
Well, sort of.
The Spartans defeated South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) 24-10 in the finals of the Massey Virtual National Championship.
(I'm not a big fan of these things, as you can see here.)
De La Salle and South Panola were part of the 64-team field vying for the virtual national title in the tournament's first year.
On the field, the Spartans were impressive. They went 14-0 and throttled Servite, 48-8, to win the California Independent Federation state championship.
In a funny twist, the Spartans finished second in USA Today's Super 25 behind No. 1 South Panola, which went 15-0 and won Mississippi's Class 6A state title this year.
So what are the chances of the Spartans and Tigers playing an actual game next season?
"Our schedules are done pretty far in advance," De La Salle's athletic director, Leo Lopoz, told USA Today. "Obviously, our history shows we'll play anybody. But it's a matter of timing."
Lance Pogue, who doubles as South Panola's football coach and athletic director, echoed the sentiment, telling the newspaper they'd play a game if it fit in with the rest of the schedule.
"We will play anybody, but we never have had a lot of interest in playing outside of the South because there's so many good teams here," he said. "We might be in the market for one game on Sept. 16."

McKechnie to host Hurricanes' 'steakout'

Manatee baseball team's 12th annual Steakout has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4 at McKechnie Field.
The event is a fundraiser for the baseball team, and offers steak, rib or chicken dinners. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children, and to-go meals are also available.
The event runs until 9 p.m.
The Hurricanes have made the Class 5A-Region 3 playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

4A-10 playoffs: Mustangs team to beat. Again.

(photo from lakewoodranchatheltics)

Fresh off its first trip to the state semifinals, Lakewood Ranch's girls soccer team earned the top seed for next week's Class 4A-District 10 tournament and a bye to the district semifinals.
The Mustangs host either St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins or St. Petersburg Lakewood 7 p.m Friday.
Listed below are the tournament pairings. Each team's seed is in parentheses.

Thursday, Jan. 20
(6) Palmetto at (3) Braden River, 7 p.m.
(7) Bayshore at (2) Seminole Osceola, 7 p.m.
(5) St. Petersburg Lakewood at (4) St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins, 7 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 21
St. Petersburg Lakewood/Dixie Hollins winner at (1) Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m.
Palmetto/Bayshore winner vs. Bayshore/Osecola winner, 7 p.m. at the site of the highest seed.

Saturday, Jan. 22
Championship - 1 p.m. The game will be played at the site of the Manatee County school unless two Pinellas County schools reach the finals.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Girls district soccer brackets

The winter postseason gets rolling next week with the girls district soccer tournaments.
A quick look at who is playing where:

Class 5A-District 10
Quarterfinal - (5) Port Charlotte at (4) Manatee, 1 p.m. Saturday.
The winner heads to top-seeded Naples Gulf Coast on Tuesday for a semifinal. Venice and Charlotte meet in the other semifinal.

Class 3A-District 11 at Cardinal Mooney.
Semifinals - (2) Southeast vs. (3) Arcadia Desoto, 6 p.m. Wedensday; (1) Cardinal Mooney vs. (4) Wauchula Hardee, 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Championship - 7 p.m. Friday

Class 2A-District 10 at St. Petersburg Shorecrest.
Quarterfinals - (1) Saint Stephen's vs. (8) St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut, 7 p.m. Tuesday.
(4) Tampa Cambridge vs. (5) Bradenton Christian, 5 p.m. Wednesday; (3) Out-of-Door Academy vs. (6) St. Petersburg Northside Christian, 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Semifinals - (2)St. Petersburg Shorecrest/(7)Keswick Christian winner vs. Tampa Cambridge/BCS winner, 5 p.m. Thursday; Saint Stephen's/Admiral Farragut winner vs. ODA/Northside Christian winner, 7 p.m. Thursday.
Championship - 7 p.m. Friday.

The seedings for the Class 4A-District 10 Tournament, which includes Bayshore, Braden River, Lakewood Ranch and Palmetto has not yet been released.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Blakey's East team wins All-American Bowl

The East beat the West 13-10 during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday that featured Manatee standout Mike Blakely.
Blakely didn't have any carries or receptions, but returned a kickoff 16 yards for the East team, which leads the series 6-5.
The game was played in front of a series-high crowd of 37,893 fans at the Alamodome.
Blakely graduated from Manatee in December and begins taking classes Monday at the University of Florida. He committed to the Gators in late October.
Tampa Plant's James Wilder Jr. put the East ahead to stay when he scored on a 3-yard run with 3:38 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A lasting image of a Hall-of-Famer

(Herald file photo)

Paul Maechtle, Southeast's head football coach, gets inducted into the Florida Athletic Coaches Association's Hall of Fame during a ceremony this weekend in Daytona Beach.
Maechtle's accomplishments are many - including 262 wins and two state championships - but there is one memory of Maechtle forever wedged in my mind.
And it happened far beyond the sidelines of John Kiker Memorial Stadium.
This was back when Southeast was still a Class 5A school. The volleyball program was in a rebuilding season, a few years removed from last fall's district championship squad, and entered the District 12 tournament with the eighth and final seed.
The Seminoles' first-round opponent? Perenially top-seeded Venice, which also doubled as the tournament's host.
It was a given Venice going to win the match. Probably sweep it, too.
All of a sudden, the doors to Venice's gym swung open, and in walked Maechtle, who also served and still serves as Southeast's athletic director. He ambled over to the bleachers, sat a few rows behind the Noles' bench and began dishing out encouragement.
He implored them to keep their heads up. He applauded their effort and refusal to quit. And when it was over, and Venice rolled to its expected win, Maecthle again offered up some kind words.
Keep in mind this was the fall, which meant Maechtle had spent the previous two hours running football practice. Keep in mind this was late in the fall, meaning his Noles were probably prepping for a key district game. And keep in mind the volleyball match was in Venice, roughly 30 miles from Southeast's campus.
But there he was, cheering on a volleyball team really had no chance of winning, but was giving everything it had. That was enough for Maechtle.
And that's what I will always think of when I think of Paul Maechtle.
He's a Hall-of-Fame coach, sure.
But most importantly, he is a Hall-of-Fame person.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mustangs to host first dual wrestling tournament

The First Annual Duals Wrestling At The Ranch has been scheduled for Saturday at...Lakewood Ranch, of course.
It is the first dual-meet tournament hosted by the East Manatee County school, and is slated to begin at 9:45 on four mats.
Clearwater Central Catholic, Sarasota, Pasco, Rockledge, East Lake, Dunellon and Cape Coral Mariner are expected to join the Mustangs on Saturday for five rounds of wrestling.
Keep reading and Prep Rally for more information on Manatee and Southeast, both of which host tournaments this weekend.