Saturday, October 29, 2011

Prep basketball: Bradenton Christian names new interim coach



Scott Townsend, a 1995 alum of Bradenton Christian, has been named the school's interim boys basketball coach.

He replaces David Magley, who stepped down earlier this month after 11 seasons.

Townsend has been with the program for 10 years.

Allan Gerber, BCS' athletic director, said a search for a full-time coach will begin at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season. Until then, Townsend and his staff "have our full support," Gerber said.

Prep volleyball: Manatee County area regional pairings

(photo by Paul Videla)

Tori Biach and the Saint Stephen's Falcons fell short in their quest to win a second straight district volleyball title, but their season isn't over.

The Falcons are one of four area teams who advanced to regional play, which begins this week.

Listed below are the pairings.


TUESDAY

CLASS 5A-REGION 3 - Southeast at Tampa Robinson, 7 p.m.

CLASS 3A-REGION 3 - Saint Stephen's at Clearwater Central Catholic, 7 p.m.; Largo Indian Rocks Christian at Cardinal Mooney, 7 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

CLASS 6A-REGION 3 - Tampa King at Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m.


Winners advances to the regional semifinals, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Prep volleyball: Life left for four Manatee County area teams

(photo by Paul Videla)In her first year at Southeast, coach Nancy Cothron has led the Seminoles into the Class 5A-District 12 final. The Noles beat Bayshore 3-1 in Tuesday's semifinal and will head to top-seeded St. Petersburg Lakewood for Thursday's title match.
Listed below are Tuesday's results and Thursday's contests. The runner-up and champion from each district head to the regional playoffs, which begin next Tuesday and Wednesday.

TUESDAY'S RESULTS
CLASS 7A-DISTRICT 11
Punta Gorda Charlotte 3, Manatee 1
Venice 3, Braden River 1
CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 12
Lakewood Ranch 3, Largo 0
Seminole Osceola 3, Palmetto 0
CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 12
Southeast 3, Bayshore 1
CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 10
Saint Stephen's 3, Out-of-Door Academy 1
Cardinal Mooney 3, Bradenton Christian 0

THURSDAY'S FINALS
CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 12
Lakewood Ranch at Seminole Osceola, 7 p.m.
CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 12
Southeast at St. Petersburg Lakewood, 7 p.m.
CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 10
Saint Stephen's at Cardinal Mooney, 7 p.m.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Prep football: The playoff fates of the Manatee County area teams

(photo by Paul Videla)

Trent Miller and the Palmetto Tigers are staring opportunity right in the face.

Thanks to their thrilling 16-13 win over Wauchula Hardee on Friday, the Tigers are 7-0 and 3-0 in Class 5A-District 10, and on the cusp of a playoff berth and possibly a district championship.

Listed below is how the districts look following Friday's games.


CLASS 7A-DISTRICT 10: Manatee took care of business with a convincing 33-point win over Venice, but it was Braden River that really made the Canes' night. The Pirates' win over Sarasota, coupled with Manatee's win over the Indians, gave Manatee its second straight district title. It also keeps the Pirates in the playoff chase: Despite a 2-6 record and an onslaught of injuries, they host Venice on Nov. 4 for the district's final postseason berth.


CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 7: Lakewood Ranch recovered from a 14-point hole and rallied to beat St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins, giving the Mustangs a 3-0 district mark. That means Friday's game in Largo (3-0) will decide the district title. While the Mustangs would love to win the district for the first time under coach Shawn Trent, a playoff berth can be had as long as they win one of their last two district games.


CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 10: Palmetto is playing Manatee on Friday, but the Tigers should really be rooting for Southeast, which will be in Wauchula playing a huge district game with Hardee. A Seminoles' win clinches playoff berths for Southeast and Palmetto and turns their district finale Nov. 4 at John Kiker Memorial Stadium into the district championship game. A Hardee win means the Noles will have to beat Palmetto to forge a three-way tie, especially since Hardee meets struggling Arcadia DeSoto in its district finale Nov. 4.


CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 6: Despite a disappointing loss in Frostproof, Cardinal Mooney still controls its destiny. The Cougars (1-1 in district) are off this week, but head to Fort Meade (2-0) on Nov. 4 and can still win the district if they beat the Miners and Lakeland Christian (0-2) knocks off Frostproof (1-1). A Mooney win combined with a Frostproof win puts three teams at 2-1 and forces a three-way tiebreaker with Mooney, Fort Meade and Frostproof playing for the district title and second playoff berth. If the Cougars lose, they need Lakeland Christian to beat Frostproof to set up a three-way tie for the district's last playoff spot.


CLASS 2A URBAN-DISTRICT 6: Out-of-Door Academy isn't out of the race, but the Thunder need some help. They are 3-2 and in third place in the eight-team district, a game behind St. John Neumann (4-1). But Neumann defeated ODA earlier this seas season, meaning the Thunder need to win two and Neumann needs to lose two for the Thunder to get in. Evangelical Christian (6-0) has already locked up one playoff spot.


CLASS 2A URBAN-DISTRICT 5: Already saddled with four district losses, Bradenton Christian is playing for pride as the season winds down.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Prep basketball: David Magley stepping down at Bradenton Christian




David Magley announced Saturday he will step down as Bradenton Christian's boys basketball coach.


Magley has started his own business and was concerned he could not devote as much time to the program as he would have liked.


"I thought the boys deserved better," Magley said, "than I could give them."


Magley went 255-100 at BCS and lead the Panthers to four state final fours and eight straight trips to the elite eight.


For more on this story, head to bradenton.com Sunday or check out the print edition of The Brdenton Herald.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Prep football: MaxPreps picking Manatee over Venice



MaxPreps considers Manatee an overwhelming favorite to beat Venice on Friday in a game that will probably decide the Class 7A-District 10 title.

The site ranks the meeting as the nation's fifth-best game of the week, and all five of its writers believe the Hurricanes will win.

Here are the predictions:

Mitch Stephens: Manatee 35-21

Steve Montoya: Manatee 14-7

Stephen Spiewak: Manatee 35-21

Kevin Askeland: Manatee 28-14

Jamie DeMoney: Manatee 28-14


I will be Tweeting live from Hawkins Stadium on Friday, so follow me @JohnLembo1878 to see how the much-anticipated meeting between the Hurricanes and Indians shapes up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Prep football: Looking back at the last seven Manatee-Venice games

(photo by pagemoorephoto)



Quenton Bundrage and the Manatee Hurricanes went to Venice last season and rolled past the Indians en route to clinching their first district championship since 2006.

Bundrage is now at Iowa State, but Manatee and Venice are back it and will meet Friday night in Bradenton in a game that could decide the Class 7A-District 10 title.

Since Joe Kinnan returned to Manatee's sideline in 2005, the Canes and Indians have finished in the top two of their district every year but '05 and '08.

Listed below is a glance at the last seven matchups between the teams in a rivalry that grows stronger every year.




2005

Score: Manatee 28, Venice 14.

When and where: Sept. 30 at Hawkins Stadium

What happened: Bobby Spann returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown and rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown as the Canes recovered from a 14-0 deficit. It was Kinnan's first game against Venice since the Class 5A-Region 3 final in 2000, which marked Kinnan's final game before his five-year break from coaching.

The aftermath: Manatee went on to win the 5A-District 10 title en route to its first regional title in 11 years. The Indians also made the playoffs but lost to Largo in the second round.


2006

Score: Manatee 20, Venice 7.

When and where: Sept. 29 at Powell-Davis Stadium

What happened: Shawn Williams rushed for 144 yards and all-state linebacker Austin Jensen showed some offensive prowess by rushing for two touchdowns as the Canes cruised.

The aftermath: Manatee repeated as Region 3 champion and lost to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in double overtime during a Class 5A state semifinal. The Indians did not make the playoffs.




2007

Score: Venice 21, Manatee 7.

When and where: Oct. 26 at Hawkins Stadium

What happened: The Indians won in stunning fashion, limiting the Hurricanes to 171 total yards and no offensive touchdowns, with Manatee's lone points came on Johnny Enrisma's fumble recovery with less than four minutes left in the game. Manatee entered 8-0 before suffering its first district loss since 2004.

The aftermath: Venice clinched the Class 5A-District 10 title with the win, but Manatee defeated Lakewood Ranch the following week to make the playoffs. Both were done in by Cape Coral, however, which defeated the Indians in the Region 3 quarterfinals and Manatee in the semifinals.




2008

Score: Venice 31, Manatee 16

When and where: Oct. 31 at Powell-Davis Stadium

What happened: The Hurricanes led 10-3 at the half but ran just one offensive play during the third quarter, and Venice quarterback Trey Burton ran for 168 yards and threw for 205 in leading the Indians to a second straight district title.

The aftermath: Despite a 7-3 finish, Manatee failed to make the playoffs for the first time in four years. The Indians, who went undefeated during the regular season, beat Cape Coral in the Region 3 quarterfinals but lost to Charlotte in the semis.




2009

Score: Venice 43, Manatee 29

When and where: Oct. 30 at Hawkins Stadium

What happened: Manatee scored 16 points less than eight minutes into the second half to take a 29-28 lead, but the Indians, powered by Burton, roared back to win their third district title. The senior threw for 253 yards and rushed for 155 and three touchdowns, which earned high praise afterward from Kinnan, who called Burton "the best we've ever gone against."

The aftermath: Thanks to Riverview's win over North Port, Manatee clinched a playoff berth that night despite the loss, but a Venice-Manatee rematch never materialized: The Canes beat St. Petersburg Gibbs in the Region 3 quarterfinals while the Indians were upset by St. Petersburg. Manatee then got on a roll, winning the Region 3 title and knocking off St. Thomas Aquinas, ranked No.1 in the nation at the time, in a Class 5A state semifinal to reach a state championship game for the first time since 1993. The Canes lost to Tampa Plant, 21-14, in the final.


2010

Score: Manatee 24, Venice 7

When and where: Oct. 29 at Powell-Davis Stadium

What happened: Ankle injuries limited Manatee running back Mike Blakely to six carries, so Quenton Bundrage (seven catches, 145 yards), Cord Sandberg (two passing touchdowns, 68 rushing yards) and the defense (five sacks) helped carry the Canes to their first district title since '06.

The aftermath: Manatee wrapped its first undefeated regular season since 1990, and Venice made the playoffs as a runner-up, leading to...


2010, Part II

Score: Manatee 41, Venice 28

When and where: Nov. 27 at Hawkins Stadium, Class 5A-Region 3 semifinal

What happened: Manatee opened a 20-0 lead after a quarter, and despite a valiant effort, the Indians never caught up, falling to the Canes for the second time in less than a month. A healthy Blakely ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns, and Sandberg threw for 207 yards in the win.

The aftermath: The loss sent Venice home for the season, while Manatee defeated Palm Bay Bayside in the Region 3 title game for the second straight year. The Canes season came a to a halt the following week in Fort Lauderdale, where Aquinas cruised to a 31-7 win in a state semifinal.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Prep volleyball: District tournament brackets for Manatee County area

(photo by Paul Videla)

Allie Clements (No. 6) and Rebecca Butler will help lead Manatee's volleyball team into the Class 7A-District 11 tournament, which gets underway next week.

All the area teams begin postseason play next week, and a number of them are home.

Listed below are the playoff matchups for each district. The district champion and runner-up advance to the regional tournaments, which begin Tuesday Nov. 1 (Classes 1A, 3A, 5A, 7A) and Wednesday, Nov. 2 (2A, 4A, 6A, 8A).

All district games are at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Each team's seed is listed in parentheses.


CLASS 7A-DISTRICT 11

Monday, Oct. 24 - (5) Port Charlotte at (4) Braden River; (6) Sarasota at (3) Charlotte.

Tuesday, Oct. 25 - (1) Venice* at Port Charlotte/Braden River; Sarasota/Charlotte at (2) Manatee.

Thursday, Oct. 27 - Championship, 7 p.m., TBA

*- Venice cannot host any postseason matches as per the Florida High School Athletic Association.


CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 12

Monday, Oct. 24 - (5) St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins at (4) Largo

Tuesay, Oct. 25 - Dixie Hollins/Largo at (1) Lakewood Ranch; (3) Palmetto at (2) Seminole Osceola.

Thursday, Oct. 27 - Championship, 7 p.m., TBA


CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 12

Monday, Oct. 24 - (5) Gulfport Boca Ciega at (4) Dunedin; (6) St. Petersburg Gibbs at (3) Southeast.

Tuesday, Oct. 25 - Boca Ciega/Dunedin at (1) St. Petersburg Lakewood; Gibbs/Southeast at (2) Bayshore.

Thursday, Oct. 27 - Championship, 7 p.m., TBA


CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 10 AT CARDINAL MOONEY

Tuesday, Oct. 25 - (1) Saint Stephen's vs. (4) Out-of-Door Academy, 5:30 p.m.; (3) Bradenton Christian vs. (2) Cardinal Mooney, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 27 - Championship, 7 p.m.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Prep football poll: Pick Manatee County's most promising game this week

(photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie)

Friday is shaping up to be a memorable night of football in Manatee County.

Cord Sandberg, above, and nationally-ranked Manatee host Venice in a game that could decided the Class 7A-District 10 championship, while Class 5A-District 10 foes and longtime rivals Palmetto and Wauchula Hardee clash at Harllee Stadium in a battle between undefeated teams.

In the other 5A-10 game, Southeast, currently in a three-way tie with Palmetto and Hardee atop the district, heads to Bayshore against a Bruins team looking to play spoiler.

Over in East Manatee county, Braden River hosts Sarasota in another key 7A-10 game: Both teams are 0-1 in the district and the loser is out of the playoff race.

And Lakewood Ranch, currently 2-0 in Class 6A-District 7, will look to continue its surge against visiting district rival St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins.

So which game are you most looking forward to?

Head to the right and cast your vote.

Prep football: Manatee Hurricanes on the rise nationally



Winning three straight games by a combined 126 points tends to open some eyes.

Just ask Manatee. The Hurricanes, riding a winning streak where they have outscored Southeast, Braden River and Weston Cypress Bay 132-6, took another leap in the RivalsHigh100 rankings.

Manatee jumped 11 spots to No. 39 following its 21-0 win over Cypress Bay on Friday. The Lightning began the week ranked eighth in the state in Class 8A in the Associated Press poll.

The Canes opened the year at No. 36 but plummeted following their sloppy win over Delray Beach American Heritage in the Kickoff Classic, and close losses to nationally-ranked Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) and Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.).

But the Hurricanes are 4-0 against Florida teams, outscoring them 180-12, and have vaulted back on the national radar.

Manatee hosts Venice on Friday in a game that could decide the Class 7A-District 10 champion.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Prep football: Week 7 Manatee County area matchups

(photo by Grant Jefferies)

Joe Kinnan hopes his Manatee Hurricanes keep rolling through Florida opponents Friday night when they face Weston Cypress Bay at Hawkins Stadium.

Games are at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Here are this week's matchups. As always, head to bradenton.com and Friday's print edition of The Bradenton Herald for detailed capsules into each game.


Bayshore (2-4) at Braden River (1-5)

The skinny: Neither the Bruins nor Pirates appear likely to make the playoffs this season, so a good consolation prize could be a win over a county rival. Both teams are pretty banged up and are coming off one-sided district defeats (Bruins lost 42-7 to Palmetto; Pirates lost 63-0 to Manatee), but a win for either side would cure some ills.


Weston Cypress Bay (3-2) at Manatee (3-2)

The skinny: The Lightning aren't your typical Homecoming opponent: They made the Class 6A state semifinals last season and their two losses this year have come to nationally-ranked Miramar and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. The Canes want to win, obviously, and further the momentum they have created with statement-making wins over Southeast and Braden River. But coach Joe Kinnan said the main objective is to come out of Friday night healthy, especially since Manatee hosts Venice next week in what could wind up being the Class 7A-District 10 championship game.


Southeast (5-1) at Riverview (1-4)

The skinny: The Seminoles rebounded from their loss to Manatee by winning their district opener last week against Arcadia DeSoto. And while this is a non-district affair, a win would be beneficial for a Southeast team that closes out the regular season with three consecutive Class 5A-District 10 opponents: Bayshore, Wauchula Hardee and Palmetto.


Bradenton Christian (2-3, 2-2 Class 2A Urban-District 5) at Tampa Carrollwood (3-3, 1-3), 4 p.m.

The skinny: Being one of five teams with two district losses, the Panthers are in the thick of the playoff chase despite a slow start. That said, they need some help, and most importantly, need to win out if they want to make a run at their first-ever postseason berth.


Cardinal Mooney (3-3) at St. Petersburg Catholic (1-5)

The skinny: Running back Anthony Caiazzo broke a school record by rushing for 366 yards last week, though the Cougars may not need such an effort Friday: The Crusaders have yielded 191 points this season.


Dade Christian School (4-1) at Out-of-Door Academy (3-2), 6 p.m.

The skinny: It's Homecoming for the Thunder, as well as a rare week when they don't have to play a district opponent. But seeing as how three of its last four games come against Class 2A Urban-District 6 foes, ODA needs to stay sharp in this one.


BYE WEEK: Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto, Saint Stephen's.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Prep football: The Manatee County Mid-Season Lemmy Awards

(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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Prep volleyball: 3A-10 bracket set

(photo by Paul Videla)

Thanks to Tuesday's dramatic 3-2 win over host Bradenton Christian, Tori Biach and the rest of Saint Stephen's volleyball team will take the No. 1 seed into the Class 3A-District 10 tournament, which begins in less than two weeks at Cardinal Mooney.

Rather than facing either second-seeded Mooney or third-seeded BCS, both of which have defeated them this season, the Falcons will play Out-of-Door Academy in the semifinals Tuesday, Oct. 25.

A win over the Thunder, who did not win a district game this season, sends Saint Stephen's into the district final as well as the Region 3 playoffs.

"I don't go in underestamating any team," said Falcons coach Shameka Walker. "According to (ODA's) seed, it does give us a smoother entry. Still, we're going to take that game very seriously...It does smooth out just a little bit, but still, we're going to take ODA very seriously."

The Cougars defeated the Falcons on Monday to finish 4-2 in district play and clinch the second seed. BCS, which was 3-3 in district play but did beat the Falcons during the semifinals of this year's county tournament, is the No. 3 seed.

Mooney and BCS will meet in the tournament's other semifinal.

The championship match will be played 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27. The top two finishers qualify for the Region 3 tournament, which gets underway Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Prep football: State rankings update

(photo by tiffany tompkins-condie)

Southeast and its stellar sophomore running back, Courtney Allen, are one of three area teams ranked in the state.

Here is a look at how each team is sitting:


MANATEE: The Hurricanes climbed two spots to No. 6 in the AP's Class 7A state poll following their 63-0 win over Braden River on Friday during each team's District 10 opener. Manatee, which is also ranked nationally by Rivals (50th) and ESPNRise (34th), remained at No. 16 in the flavarsity.com Top 25. The Canes host Weston Cypress Bay this week. The Lightning (3-2) are a Class 8A team that reached last year's Class 6A state final four.


PALMETTO: At 6-0, the Tigers are the area's lone undefeated team, and they remained at No. 6 in Class 5A on the AP poll. Palmetto, unranked by flavarsity.com, is off this week, but begins a huge three-game stretch Oct. 21 against visiting Wauchula Hardee.


SOUTHEAST: Despite their 42-point loss to rival Manatee, the Seminoles are in good shape at 5-1 overall and 1-0 in Class 5A-District 10 following Friday's win over Arcadia DeSoto. Southeast, however, dropped a spot to No. 9 in the AP's Class 5A poll. The Noles have dropped off the flavarsity.com's top 25, but are on the bubble after receiving one vote. Southeast meets Riverview on Friday in a non-district game between the longtime rivals.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Prep football: Canes crack Rivals' top 50



Manatee is doing some serious damage against Florida opponents. And Rivals has taken notice.

The Hurricanes are ranked 50th in the nation in the latest RivalsHigh 100, which was unveiled today, up 28 spots from last week.

It's the highest Rivals has ranked Manatee since it listed the Canes at No. 36 in its preseason poll.

Manatee is 3-2, but has outscored its Riverview, Southeast and Braden River 159-12. The Canes' two losses have come to New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep, which reclaimed the top spot this week, and Maryland's Our Lady of Good Counsel, ranked seventh by Rivals.

Both teams are undefeated.

Manatee hosts Weston Cyrpess Bay on Friday.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Prep volleyball: Big matches on tap this week

(photo by Paul Videla)

We may be in the thick of football season, but a handful of are volleyball teams are playing key matches in Manatee County this week, including Kayla Armer and Manatee, which hosts Venice on Thursday.

Here is a glance at some of the matches.


MONDAY - Cardinal Mooney at Saint Stephen's: The Falcons are 15-6 and 4-0 in Class 3A-District 10 and will clinch the top seed in the district tournament with a win over the Cougars. Cardinal Mooney, which hosts the district tournament beginning Tuesday, Oc. 25, is in the running with BCS for the No. 2 seed.

TUESDAY - Saint Stephen's at Bradenton Christian: Time will tell if BCS, which enters the week 3-2 in district play, will still be in contention for the top spot when the Panthers host their rivals Tuesday. But even if the postseason bracket is already set, this match should mean something - the Falcons handed BCS its first loss of the season late last month, but the Panthers knocked off Saint Stephen's in the semifinals of the Manatee County tournament on Oct 1. And these two teams will probably meet again in the district final, so Tuesday's winner will gain a key mental edge.

THURSDAY - Venice at Manatee: The math is simple: whomever wins tonight takes the No. 1 seed into the Class 7A-District 10 tournament, as both teams will enter 4-0 in district play. The great Manatee teams of the past could never get by Venice, be it in the regular season, district final or regional playoffs. A win Tuesday would convince this year's Hurricanes that they can.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prep football: Week 6 matchups

(photo by Paul Videla)

Shane Blair and Lakewood Ranch's massive offensive line may be 2-3, but the Mustangs are 1-0 in Class 6A-District 7, a mark the Mustangs look to improve Friday when they host district foe Tarpon Springs. In fact, all area teams in action Friday play district games, which is a first this season for Braden River, Cardinal Mooney, Manatee and Southeast.

Listed below are this week's games. As always, head to bradenton.com and The Bradenton Herald on Friday for detailed capsules on each game.


Bayshore (2-3, 0-1 5A-1o) at Palmetto (5-0, 1-0)

The skinny: You have to go back to a Week 2 win over Sarasota to find the last time the Tigers have given up a touchdown. Then again, their offense and special teams is humming along, too. Of course, this has trap game written all over it, as Palmetto is off next week before returning for a huge three-game stretch against Wauchula Hardee, Manatee and Southeast. Consequently, coach Dave Marino has been telling his kids all week to focus solely on the Bruins, who are averaging over 128 yards of rushing per week and always play the Tigers tough.


Braden River (1-4, 0-0 7A-10) at Manatee (2-2, 0-0)

The skinny: The Hurricanes made a heck of a statement last week when they beat rival Southeast by 42 points, the widest margin in the series' 30 games. Most importantly, they found a way to use RB Leon Allen: right through the tackles. Manatee has allowed 58 points this season, a number that could be lower had it not been for some special teams snafus against Don Bosco Prep. Braden River won its first game last week, but the Pirates' struggling offense needs to wake up in a hurry for them to be able to compete with Manatee.


Arcadia DeSoto (2-3, 0-1 5A-10) at Southeast (4-1, 0-0)

The skinny: Last week's lopsided loss to Manatee hurt, but the Seminoles can assuage some of that pain by getting the district schedule off to a solid start with a win this week over the Bulldogs. Lost in the final score was the work of RB Courtney Allen, who ran for 180 yards and leads the area in rushing (641). DeSoto, which has given up 101 points, was no match for Palmetto in its district opener two weeks ago.


Tarpon Springs (4-1, 1-0 6A-7) at Lakewood Ranch (2-3, 1-0)

The skinny: The Mustangs moved the ball during the first half last week against Palmetto before the Tigers' defense clamped down and secured its second shutout in a row. They should be able to get to the end zone against Tarpon Springs, which is given up 21 points a week. Then again, Lakewood Ranch better put some up numbers - Tarpon Springs has scored 174 points this season.


Lakeland Christian (3-2, 0-0 3A-6) at Cardinal Mooney (2-3, 0-0)

The skinny: Stopping Lakeland Christian means stopping its running back, T.J. Simmons, who has already racked up 806 yards of rushing. He has seven fumbles, though none since Week 2, so Simmons is prone to put the ball on the turf. This is the lone district home game for the Cougars, who have to travel to Fort Meade and Frostproof later this season.


Saint Stephen's (0-4, 0-3 Class 2A Urban-District 6) at Moore Haven (3-2, 1-2)

The skinny: The Falcons have a hard time against the run this season, which could be a detriment this week: Moore Haven's Markeis Hallback ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns last week against Southwest Florida Christian. Despite the poor record, the Falcons have a do-everything player in senior Adam Vining. Not only is he among the area leaders in receiving (20), but he has rushed for two touchdowns, booted six-extra points, and returned kickoffs.


BYE WEEK: Bradenton Christian, Out-of-Door Academy.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Prep football: Canes and Tigers climb, Noles fall in AP Poll



Dave Marino's Palmetto Tigers and the Manatee Hurricanes have moved up in the latest Associated Press state football poll.

Southeast has moved down.

The Tigers, the area's only undefeated team t 5-0, is ranked sixth in Class 5A after debuting last week at No. 8. Palmetto beat Lakewood Ranch 27-0 on Friday and has recorded two straight shutouts heading into this week's District 10 game against Bayshore.

Manatee's 48-6 win over Southeast last week has vaulted the Hurricanes into a tie at No. 6 in Class 7A with Palm Beach Dwyer and Boyd Anderson. The Hurricanes (2-2) were ninth last week. They host Braden River on Friday in each team's District 10 opener.

Friday's loss was the first of the season for the Seminoles (4-1), but it was enough to send them from No. 3 to No. 8 in Class 5A. Southeast opens District 10 play Friday against visiting Arcadia DeSoto.



Prep Football: Week 6 Poll

(photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie)

Derrick Calloway and the Manatee Hurricanes had plenty of reason to smile following Friday's 48-6 win over rival Southeast.

But was the win enough to win your vote?

Southeast has been the people's choice the last two weeks: the Seminoles earned the most votes during last week's poll, and 53 percent of you picked them to beat Manatee.

So is Manatee the new No. 1? Maybe. But don't forget about Palmetto, which is 5-0 and hasn't had so much as a close game.

The Tigers, who blanked Lakewood Ranch 27-0 on Friday, have allowed three points in the last three weeks.

So look to the right and cast your vote.

Prep football: Canes rise in ESPN, Rivals rankings

In the wake of Friday's 48-6 win over rival and previously undefeated Southeast, Manatee has jumped some spots in ESPNRISE's Powerade Fab 50 and the RivalsHigh 100.
The Canes moved from No. 37 to No. 35 on ESPN's list and hopped 11 spots to No. 78 on the Rivals rankings.
It helps that both of Manatee's losses have come to Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) and Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.). Bosco is ranked No. 1 by ESPN and No. 5 by Rivals, while Good Counsel is No. 8 on ESPN's poll and ranked 14th by Rivals.
Manatee lost to both by a combined 13 points.
The 2-2 Hurricanes open Class 7A-District 10 play Friday when they host Braden River.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Prep volleyball: BCS wins county tournament



Bradenton Christian won the Manatee County volleyball Saturday afternoon, defeating host Manatee 2-1 (25-22, 22-25, 15-10) in the finals.

It is the seventh county championship in 13 years for the Panthers, who improved to 14-3 overall and landed two players - Chynna Ratner and Abi Van Ostenbridge - on the all-tournament team.

Hurricanes setter Kayla Armer was named the tournament's most valuable player after totaling 70 assists. Manatee is now 13-3 on the season.

Here are the final standings:

1. Bradenton Christian

2. Manatee

3. Saint Stephen's

4. Braden River

5. Lakewood Ranch

6. Southeast

7. Palmetto

8. Bayshore

For more on the tournament, including the entire all-tournament team, head to bradenton.com later tonight or check out Sunday's print edition of The Bradenton Herald.