Friday, May 25, 2012

Prep football: Odds and ends from Manatee's spring game

- Canes quarterback Cord Sandberg is in no danger of losing his job, but Manatee's coaches are high on his backup, freshman Josh Meyer. Meyer grew up in Bradenton and played Pop Warner football with the Manatee Wildcats before moving to Oklahoma and returning to the area this year.
He ran for a touchdown and threw for another during Manatee's 49-6 win over Gibbs on Friday and drew praise from Sandberg, voted the Class 7A Football Player of the Year in 2011.
"He's bigger than I was when I was a freshman," Sandberg said. "He's probably further ahead than I was. I expect him, when I leave, to not skip a beat."
- Rising senior Gregory Moss may have solidified his job as the Canes' placekicker Friday, when he converted all four extra-point attempts and had four kickoffs go for touchbacks.
"He does a good job," Kinnan said of Moss.
Moss' apparent backup, Austin Snowden, was 3-for-3 on point-after attempts Friday. Both are replacing Nick Tankersley, who had 53 extra points and 16 field goals last season, including a school-record 53-yarder against Sarasota. Tankersley is expected to play next year at Division II Carson-Newman in Tennessee.
Another part of kicking team that pleased Kinnan on Friday was Jon Carter, who took over long-snapping duties after not playing last year.  There's another new piece, too - holder and punter Jonathan Hernandez, who started in goal last winter for the school's soccer team.
He'll be a senior next year.
"We just wish we would've gotten him out sooner," Kinnan said. "He's left-footed, never kicked a football until this spring...And he's got great hands from being a goalie and he adjusts to the ball well."
- Following last year's game against New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep, Manatee decided to keep its defense on the field to block and return punts. It's a trend that continued Friday.
"Our kids, they can line up in anything if (the kicking team) runs a play," Kinnan said. "And it looks like our punt returner is going to be our free safety (Willie Smith) anyway, so we don't even need to take him out...(Defenisve linemen) (Derrick) Calloway, (Blake) Keller, (DeMarcus) Christmas, they all blocked punts last year. And if they fake and try a run or something, good. Come after us."

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