Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prep sports: FHSAA releases population report

The Florida High School Athletic Association released the population reports for its member schools Tuesday. The population report are the students enrolled in grades 9-12 as reported by the schools.

Listed below are the population numbers for the area schools, with the 2001 population numbers in parantheses.

BAYSHORE - 1,511 (1,716)

BRADEN RIVER - 1,973 (N/A)



LAKEWOOD RANCH - 1,896 (1,856)

MANATEE -2,261 (1,960)


PALMETTO - 1,762 (1,423)

SAINT STEPHEN'S - 244 (191)

SOUTHEAST - 1,342 (1,486)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Prep football: Getting to know Immokalee and Fort Pierce Central

(photo by tcpalm.com)

Josh Shaffer, above, and the Fort Pierce Central Cobras head to Bradenton on Friday to play Manatee for the Class 7A-Region 3 title, while Immokalee hosts Palmetto for the 5A-Region 3 championship.

Here is glance at the locals' opponents:


Mascot: Cobras

Coach: Josh Shaffer

Record: 9-1

Road to the regional final: Won the District 12 title; defeated Port Charlotte (56-7) in a regional quarterfinal and Stuart Martin County (31-7) in a regional semifinal.

Key players: QB Marcus Sigmon (1,435 passing yards, 19 TDs, 64.4 comp. percentage); RB Marcus Levy (1,337 rushing yards, 17 TDs); DB Joe Figueroa (68 tackles, 6 INT).

Notable: Shaffer was the team's offensive coordinator before being named the interim coach when Chris Hutchings stepped down in April. A first-time head coach, Shaffer lost the interim tag following the spring season...This is the Cobras' first appearance in a regional final since 1994...Their lone loss this season came to Vero Beach, which made the Class 8A playoffs this year.


Mascot: Indians

Coach: Jerrod Ackley

Record: 11-1

Road to the regional final: Won the District 12 title; defeated Lehigh Acres (19-16) in a regional quarterfinal and Cape Coral (54-7) in a regional semifinal.

Key players: QB Tshumbi Johnson (2,383 passing yards, 24 TDs, 863 rushing yards, 17 TDs); RB D'Ernest Johnson (791 rushing yards, 15 TDs).

Notable: Immokalee is the birthplace of former NFL running back Edgerrin James...The Indians won the Class 2A state title in 2004...Immokalee's only loss this season came to Lake Wales, which fell to Wauchula Hardee in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Prep football: Why Manatee is staying home and Palmetto is hitting the road

(photo by Grant Jefferies)

Trent Miller and the Palmetto Tigers have some traveling to do Friday.

The Manatee Hurricanes do not.

Both local teams are playing for regional championships Friday, but they'll be doing so roughly 130 miles apart. The Tigers head to Immokalee for the Class 5A-Region 3 title game while the Hurricanes host Fort Pierce Central for the Class 7A-Region 3 crown.


It's how the Florida High School Athletic Association set it up, that's why.

This year, the FHSAA ruled the team listed on the top line of each regional final bracket will host the championship game.

There are two exceptions. The first one is if the team on top is a district runner-up and the team on the bottom line is a district champion, the champion hosts. And the other wrinkle is if both finalists are district champs, and the team on the bottom was on the road for the regional semifinal and the team on top was not, the bottom team gets to hosts.

Such is the case for Palmetto. The Tigers hosted Auburndale in the first round and Wauchula Hardee in the second round, while Immokalee, a district champion, had to travel to Cape Coral for a regional semifinal.

Had Cape Coral won last week, the Tigers would be home.

As for the Canes, they knew they'd be at Hawkins Stadium on Friday regardless of who won the other semifinal. Fort Pierce Central is a district champ, but was home during the first two rounds. Fort Pierce's opponent last week, Stuart Martin County, was a district runner-up, and would have had to come to Manatee, which won its district, had Martin County won.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Prep cross country: Lakewood Ranch's Ortiz qualifies for national meet

(photo by Paul Videla)

Olivia Ortiz's fall keeps getting better and better.

One week after winning the Class 3A girls state cross country championship, the Lakewood Ranch junior finished fifth during Saturday's Foot Locker Cross Country Championships South Regional in North Carolina.

Ortiz finished with a time of 17 minutes, 13 seconds to clinch a berth in the Foot Locker Cross County Championships National Finals. That meet will take place Saturday, Dec. 10 at Balboa Park's Morley Field in San Diego.

National bids were awarded to the top 10 finishers in the South, Northeast, Midwest and West regions.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Prep football: Manatee continues to climb national polls

Great news, folks: I'm back. After a week of honeymooning in the Caribbean with my lovely new bride, I have returned just in time for the second week of the high school football playoffs.
But enough about me...
Surging Manatee is still opening eyes at the national level, jumping to No. 27 in the RivalsHigh 100 following Friday's 55-2 win over Largo Pinellas Park in a Class 7A-Region 3 opener.
The Canes were 39th heading into the playoffs.
The Hurricanes (9-2) have won eight straight and are undefeated against Florida schools. Their two losses have come to Maryland's Our Lady of Good Counsel (No. 8) and New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep (No.3), both of whom are ranked by Rivals and are a combined 21-0.
Manatee also made a modest leap on ESPN'S Powerade Fab 50, jumping two spots to No. 23.
The Canes host rival Venice in a Region 3 semifinal 7:30 p.m. Friday.
While Manatee is the lone area team receiving national love, another local squad made an impact on the polls. Lakewood Ranch nearly scored an upset during last week's Class 6A-Region 3 opener before falling 35-31 to Seffner Armwood.
The Hawks entered the game ranked second in the nation by Rivals, but plummeted to 10th following their meeting with the Mustangs.
ESPN kept them at No. 2, however, in its latest poll.
Lakewood Ranch finished the season at 5-6.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Off for a week

I will return to the paper - and my blog - a week from Monday.
Until then, check in with bradenton.com and the print editions of The Bradenton Herald for the latest news on local prep sports.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Prep football: Palmetto's game moved to Thursday

Palmetto's game at Ocala Trinity Catholic has been switched to Thursday because school will be closed Friday in observation of Veterans' Day.

The game will be played 7:30 at Celtic Stadium.

Both teams are coming off district-clinching wins - Palmetto (8-1) beat Southeast to win the 5A-10 title and Trinity Catholic (5-3) beat Fort White to take 3A-3.

It was the fourth straight district title for the Shamrocks, who won the Class 1A state title last season.

Prep football: Manatee County area playoff matchups

(photo by Paul Videla)

Cardinal Mooney fell short during Monday's Class 3A-District 6 tiebreaker Monday in Lakeland, so now the area playoff picture has been settled.

Three teams are moving on: Lakewood Ranch, Manatee and Palmetto. The playoffs begin Nov. 18.

Listed below are the matchups.


Largo Pinellas Park (7-2) at Manatee (7-2)

Winner faces: Either Countryside or Venice


Lakewood Ranch (5-4) at Seffner Armwood (10-0)

Winner faces: Either Tampa Hillsborough or Largo


Auburndale (2-7) at Palmetto (8-1)

Winner faces: Either Lake Wales or Wauchula Hardee

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Prep football: Manatee County area playoff scenarios

Joe Kinnan has reason to smile - his Manatee Hurricanes are the lone area team to lock up a playoff spot heading into Friday, which marks the final week of district play.

Here's what we know: Bayshore, Bradenton Christian, Out-of-Door Academy and Saint Stephen's are out; Manatee is in.

Everyone else?

Let's check it out.

BRADEN RIVER: Despite a slew of injuries and lopsided losses, the Pirates (2-6, 1-1) are still in play to make a fourth straight playoff appearance. They host Venice on Friday, with the winner claiming the runner-up spot from Class 7A-District 10.

CARDINAL MOONEY: The Cougars missed out on a chance to lock up a playoff spot two weeks ago with a loss in Frostproof, but can make up for it Friday in Fort Meade. A Mooney win plus a Frostproof loss against Lakeland Christian gives the Cougars (3-5, 1-1) a Class 3A-District 6 championship. If Mooney and Frostproof both win, the Cougars join Fort Meade (6-2, 2-0) and Frostproof (4-4, 1-1) in a three-way tiebreaker with two playoff berths on the line. A three-way tiebreaker for the runner-up spot will happen between Mooney, Frostproof and Lakeland Christian (3-5, 0-2) if Mooney and Frostproof both lose; but a Mooney loss coupled with a Frostproof win knocks the Cougars out of the playoff race.

LAKEWOOD RANCH: Last week's loss at Largo cost the Mustangs (4-4, 1-1) a chance to win a Class 6A-District 7 title, but their playoff hopes are very much alive. They head to Seminole Osceola (3-5, 2-2) this week, and with a win, return to the postseason for the second time in three years.

PALMETTO AND SOUTHEAST: The longtime county foes play their rivalry's biggest game Friday at John Kiker Memorial Stadium, where postseason berths and district titles hang on the line. The Tigers (7-1, 3-0 Class 5A-District 10) are a game up on Southeast (7-2, 2-1) and Wauchula Hardee (7-1, 2-1), and can lock up the district with a win. The Seminoles' loss last week in Wauchula turned this game into a must-win, though Southeast can still win the district by beating Palmetto and having Arcadia DeSoto (2-6, 0-3) upset Hardee. A Southeast win coupled with a Hardee win means Southeast, Palmetto and Hardee will meet for a three-way tiebreaker, with the district title and runner-up spot on the line. If the Seminoles lose, they are eliminated. The Tigers, meanwhile, can do no worse than reach a three-way tiebreaker, and regardless of how they do, clinch a playoff berth outright if Hardee loses.