(photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie)The 2011 prep football season is almost over? Really? Seems like this morning that I was scrambling to get all my work done for our prep football tab and booking my flight to Maryland for Manatee's season-opener against Our Lady of Good Counsel.
But he were are, on the doorstep of Week 7, with the playoffs (beginning Nov. 18) clearly in sight.
So here are the Mid-Season Lemmy Awards, voted on by me. Keep in mind these are just for fun and have no bearing on our All-Area Team, which is put together with input from the entire staff at The Bradenton Herald, as well as all the coaches in the area.
So here goes!
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Brian Poole, Southeast: Other guys have the numbers, but no one has meant more to his team than the Florida-bound Poole. He mans the defensive backfield, returns punts (sometimes for touchdowns), runs the ball, catches the ball and is now going to throw the ball some, too. Poole may be the best player in Manatee County - but there isn't any doubt he is the most valuable.
HONORABLE MENTION: Anthony Lauro, Manatee; Trent Miller, Palmetto; McKenzie Hathaway, Lakewood Ranch; Ryan Fischer, Braden River.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Marino, Palmetto: You know what I like about Marino, aside from the fact that he's lead the Tigers to a 6-0 record and a 10-game regular-season winning streak? He wants his Tigers to earn respect. You want to join the same echelon as the Manatees and Southeasts of the world? OK - go out there and win. His Tigers are a confident but not a cocky bunch, and they have destroyed everything in their way. But Marino is a realist, and well aware that Palmetto's hot start won't mean much should it stumble against 5A-10 foes Wauchula Hardee and Southeast. That said, Marino is 12-5 at Palmetto, which looks smarter by the day for hiring a coach so many others passed up on.
HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Kinnan, Manatee; Paul Maechtle, Southeast.
GAME OF THE YEAR: Don Bosco Prep 22, Manatee 16, Sept. 16: Want to know why the Hurricanes are 3-2 but ranked nationally by Rivals and ESPN? It's because they gave the New Jersey-based Ironmen a Garden State-sized scare, when they lead Bosco, the nation's No. 1 team, by one (10-9) with less than seven minutes to go in the game. Of course, things didn't end up going Manatee's way, but the Hurricanes are 2-0 since, outscoring opponents 111-6 in those two wins.
HONORABLE MENTION: Bayshore 26, Lakewood Ranch 20, Sept. 16 (Bruins end 14-game losing streak against county foes).
LEMMY SAYS: I'm envisioning Lakewood Ranch, Manatee, Palmetto and Southeast making the playoffs, with the Hurricanes winning Class 7A-District 10 and the Tigers edging past the Seminoles to take the 5A-10 title.
Keep logging on to Prep Rally to see how right - or wrong - I will be.