Thursday, September 27, 2012

Prep football: Manatee, Southeast again part of Rivalry Series

photo by John Lembo
Manatee and Southeast's game Friday will again be featured in the Great American Rivalry Series presented by the United States Marine Corps.
The 2007 game was also a part of the series.
The winning team will receive the Series championship trophy, and a MVP award will be presnted on a player after the game.
The Series will also award a scholarship to the most deserving student-athlete from each school.
This isn't the first time this season the Hurricanes have had an involvement with the military - Manatee's Week 1 game against Miramar went to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which is why the Hurricanes wore a sticker pictured above.
Friday's game is schedued for 7:30 p.m. Friday at John Kiker Memorial Stadium.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Prep football: Palmetto's Cory Crawford out for Friday's game

photo by Tim Wolfrum
Palmetto will try to keep its perfect season intact Friday without its best offensive player.
Cory Crawford, who paces the area in rushing, will not play against county rival Lakewood Ranch, coach Dave Marino told Herald sports writer Jason Dill following Tuesday's practice.
A wide receiver, Crawford became the team's top running back after Josh Hicks sustained an ankle injury Week 1 against Riverview. Crawford played the position so well Marino decided to keep Crawford in the backfield and moved Hicks, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last year, to defensive back.
Hicks will see some time at running back Friday, Marino said, but Quincy Washington is expected to get a brunt of the carries.
Crawford rushed for 68 yards on 20 attempts during last week's 9-7 win over Arcadia DeSoto. He has totaled 604 yards on the ground, averaging 11 yards per carry, and has scored four touchdowns.
Palmetto is 4-0 and ranked first in the state in Class 5A.
Lakewood Ranch is 3-1.

Prep football: Week off helps Manatee hop a spot in RivalsHigh 100

photo by John Lembo
Cord Sandberg and the Canes head to Southeast on Friday
Manatee is now the second-best team in the nation, according to the latest RivalsHigh100, which was released this morning.
The Hurricanes were idle last week but hopped from No. 3 to No.2.  River Ridge Louisiana's John Curtis held firm to the poll's top spot.
That means Manatee is ranked no lower than second in four major polls - MaxPreps and USA Today, which rank the Canes first, and ESPN and Rivals, which has them second.
The Hurricanes (3-0) are at Southeast on Friday for the 31st edition of the their rivalry. Manatee hasn't lost to a county team since losing to the Seminoles during the first week of the 2006 season.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Prep football: Blake Keller good to go for Friday

photo by Tom O'Neill
Manatee's bye week came at a good time for Blake Keller.
The senior defensive end suffered bruised ribs after taking hit while playing special teams during Manatee's 44-34 win over Miami Central on Sept. 14.
Keller is back to contact this week and will play Friday when the Hurricanes head to Southeast.
"The bye week, I didn't do anything," he said. "And it just got better with time."
Keller sustained the hit during the third quarter against the Rockets. He left the game and was brought to Blake Medical Center for precautionary reasons.
Keller, who has committed to UCF, leads the team in sacks (2 1/2) and is tied for first in quarterback hurries (three). He also has 16 tackles, second on the team.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Prep football: Manatee, Palmetto still top AP polls

photo by Tiffany Tompkns-Condie
Chris Tuten and the Palmetto Tigers remained undefeated Friday thanks to a 9-7 win over Arcadia DeSoto.

They remained the top-ranked team in Class 5A, too.

Palmetto owns the No.1 spot for the third consecutive week after garnering 16 of a possible 17 first-place votes. Wakulla, ranked third, received the other.

The Tigers are 4-0 and 1-0 in Class 5A-Distrct 10 play. They head to East Manatee county Friday for a non-district game with Lakewood Ranch.

Southeast received seven votes but did not crack the top 10 in 5A.

Manatee, which was idle, is still the top team in Class 7A. The Hurricanes have been on top since beating Jacksonville First Coast last season for the state title.

The Hurricanes were first on 15 ballots. Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, which  lost to Manatee last year in a state semifinal, received two first-place votes.

Manatee meets host Southeast Friday in the 31st edition of their rivalry.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Prep football: Changes aplenty at Palmetto

photo by John Lembo
Leading the area in rushing after three games, Cory Crawford will remain Palmetto's top tailback.
But that isn't the only change the Tigers have made heading into tonight's district opener against Arcadia DeSoto.
With Crawford at running back, Josh Hicks moves to cornerback. Hicks rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, but has been out since twisting an ankle Week 1 against Riverview.
Crawford, a wide receiver, has rushed for 518 yards in his absence.
"(Hicks) actually brought it to my attention first," coach Dave Marino said of the switch. "He's a great kid, he's an unselfish kid.. I was willing to just have more firepower, but he realizes what it's going to take because it's what I teach them - defense wins championships."
The Tigers lost eight starters on defense from last year's team and moved Stevon Saunders from wide receiver to defensive back prior to the start of this season. They are now doing the same thing with the athletic Hicks.
"Our defense is getting better," Marino said. "And it just got a lot better with him there."
This week also makes the return of backup running back Leon Gilbert, who has been out all year with a hamstring injury, giving Palmetto another weapon on offense.
Marino also said that Chris Tuten has become the team's starting quarterback and Spencer Atkins, who won the job over Tuten over the summer, will move to linebacker.
"He wants to help the team, and we're hurting at linebacker now," Marino said of Atkins. "Spencer said, 'Coach, I've played linebacker before.' So he made the move, so he got all the reps this week at linebacker."
DeSoto runs a Wing-T offense, so Atkins won't start tonight, but he will play, Marino said.
"It's just a tough situation to be in this week, but he'll be on all our special teams and he will play at linebacker (tonight)," Marino said.
Atkins suffered a shoulder injury in Week 1 and Tuten, a sophomore, has started ever since. Atkins came back last week against Braden River, but the job is now Tuten's, Marino said.
"It was tight competition in the spring. Spencer had an edge because he was a senior, he was just an older kid," Marino said. "But Chris has been in our system, so as the composure came, as the experience came when the bullets were flying, he matured very quickly."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Prep baseball: How some of the area's draft picks fared in 2012

photo by Grant Jefferies
ZACK LARSON (Minnesota Twins) - The Lakewood Ranch alum played 15 games with the Twins' Gulf Coast League team in Fort Myers after signing with organization just before the deadline. He hit .250 with two RBIs and three steals and played 11 games in left field, two in right and one in center.

CORRELLE PRIME (Colorado Rockies) - After choosing the Rockies over State College of Florida, Prime was sent to the team's Pioneer League team in Grand Junction, Colo, where he batted .283 in 36 games. Prime, who graduated from Manatee in May, drove in 11 runs, homered once and had an on-base percentage of .377. The ace of the rotation during his days at Manatee, Prime stuck to first base (26 games) and designated hitter (10 games).

J.R. MURPHY (New York Yankees) – The IMG product and Bradenton native hit .231 in 43 games after he was promoted to the Yankees’ Double-A team in Trenton, N.J. Despite his struggles offensively, Murphy showed improvement behind the plate, throwing out 10 of 26 runners (38 percent) at the Double-A level. Murphy, pictured above during a spring training game at McKechnie Field, began the year in Single-A Tampa and hit .257 in 67 games.

SEAN MCADAMS (Baltimore Orioles) – McAdams didn’t venture too far from home while pitching for the Orioles’ GCL team in Sarasota. The Cardinal Mooney grad went 3-0 with a 6.27 ERA in 13 games while striking out 20 and walking 12 in 18 2/3 innings. All of McAdams’ work came in relief.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Prep football: Manatee still No.1 in USA Today Super 25

photo by Tom O'Neill
Blake Keller and Canes have plenty to smile about - they are ranked No.1 in USA Today's Super 25 for the second straight week.

USA Today still considers Manatee the nation's No.1 team.
The Hurricanes' 44-34 win over Miami Central on Friday was enough to keep Manatee atop the latest Super 25 National Rankings, which were released today.
Miami Central earned USA Today's top ranking in the preseason but has fallen out of the top 25 after Friday's loss ran their record to 1-2. The Rockets do have one of the toughest schedules in the nation, opening the season with three powerhouses - Grayson (Ga.), Miami's Booker T. Washington and the Canes.
Speaking of Grayson, which routed Miami Central during the first week of the regular season, the Rams endured a major upset last week, losing to Parkview (Ga.) 22-7.
That loss dropped Grayson out of the Super 25, where they were ranked third entering the week, and to No. 20 in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings, where they were ranked first.
Manatee (3-0) is also ranked No. 1 by and MaxPreps, and is No.2 by ESPN.
Rivals ranked them fourth entering the Miami Central game and will unveil their updated rankings Wednesday.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Prep football: Manatee, Palmetto still No.1 in AP polls

photo by Tim Wolfrum
Still undefeated, still on top.

That’s the story for Manatee and Palmetto, both of which stayed atop of this week’s The Associated Press state football rankings that were released Monday.

The Hurricanes (3-0) ended last season No.1 in Class 7A after beating Jacksonville First Coast to win the state title and haven’t budged since, earning all 16 first-place votes this week.

The Tigers began the year ranked fifth and shot to No.1 last week. They continued their hold on the top this week, garnering 14 of a possible 16 first-place votes.

Pasco (No.2) and Wakulla (No.3) received on first-place vote apiece.

Prep football: Manatee stays atop MaxPreps' national poll

photo by John Lembo
 The Miami Central Rockets couldn't push Manatee into the loss column.
They also couldn't push them off the top of MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Football Rankings, which was unveiled Monday.
Manatee defeated Central 44-34 on Friday at Hawkins Stadium to stay No.1, which is where MaxPreps ranked the Hurricanes (3-0) heading into the season.
The win helped Manatee hop a spot in the latest ESPN 25 Power Rankings, where the Canes are ranked second behind California's Santa Margarita Catholic.
USA Today and Rivals will announce their updated rankings later in the week.
Central (1-2) is unranked by MaxPreps but has opened the season against three national powerhouses - Grayson (Ga.), Miami's Booker T. Washington and Manatee.
The Rockets began the year ranked tops in the nation by USA Today.
"That's probably as athletic of a team as we've ever played against," Manatee coach Joe Kinnan said Friday night. "They have some phenomenal atheltes...They weren't ranked No.1 in the nation at the beginning of the year by USA Today for nothing. They've still got the same players.
"I told (Central) coach (Telly) Lockette we were in the same spot exactly a year ago - we were 1-2, we lost to (Marlyand's Our Lady of )Good Counsel who ended up fourth in the nation and (New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep) who won it. (The Rockets) have lost to us and Grayson, who probably now one and two in the nation."
Manatee wound up winning the Class 7A state championship last year.
The Hurricanes are off Friday and head to Southeast next week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Prep football: Manatee drops a spot in RivalsHigh 100

photo by John Lembo
Manatee has slipped from No. 3 to No. 4 in the latest RivalsHigh 100 rankings, which were released Wednesday.

The Hurricanes did their part last week, throttling Riverview 49-7 to improve to 2-0 on the season.

But a few shake-ups up top played a role in Manatee’s modest descent.

Louisiana powerhouse John Curtis jumped from No. 6 to No.2 thanks to a 33-3 win over Tampa Plant last week. Plant entered the game ranked No. 13 but is now at No. 43.

Grayson High out of Loganville, Ga., was idle last week, but jumped to No.1 thanks mostly to Miami Central, which beat another Miami power, Booker T. Washington, last week.

Grayson beat Central 35-3 in Week 1, and the Rockets’ win over a top-10 team last week made Grayson’s season-opening win that much more impressive.

Booker T. slid to No. 40.

Miami Central, which visits Manatee this week, is at No. 39.

Prep cross country: Plenty of locals running in Saturday's BRC Invitational

logo provided by Bradenton Runners Club
Seven area schools will compete in Saturday’s Bradenton Runners Club Invitational at G.T. Bray park.

The meet is hosted and coordinated by Manatee’s cross country team and sponsored by the BRC, and it is first prep meet to take place in Manatee County this year.

The girls varsity race kicks things off at 8 a.m., with the boys scheduled to race at 8:35. The girls JV race begins at 9 a.m. followed by the boys at 9:35 a.m., and awards will be handed out at 11:35 a.m.

Bayshore, Braden River, Cardinal Mooney, Out-of-Door Academy, Palmetto and Southeast will join Manatee, while Booker, Naples St. John Neumann, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, Riverview (Sarasota) and Sarasota Christian round out the field.

The Florida High School Athletic Association’s new rules state teams are allowed to run seven to 10 athletes in varsity races, with each meet’s host deciding on the amount. Manatee coach Rae Ann Darling Reed said teams will be allowed to run the maximum 10 on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Prep football: Manatee still No.1 in USA Today Super 25

photo by Tom O'Neill
As expected, Manatee maintained its top ranking in USA Today’s Super 25, which was released today.

The Hurricanes blitzed past Riverview 49-7 on Friday, improving to 2-0 on the season and remaining at No.1 for the second straight week.

Miami Central, Manatee’s opponent Friday at Hawkins Stadium, is at No. 23 following Friday’s win over Miami Booker T. Washington.

Central began the year at No.1 before losing its first game to Grayson (Ga.). Grayson is ranked third, behind No.2 De La Salle out of Concord, Calif.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Prep football: How Manatee dealt with its short week

photo by John Lembo
Joe Kinnan needed one word to sum up Manatee’s week.

“Short,” Manatee’s head coach said following Thursday’s practice inside Hawkins Stadium.

That it was. The Hurricanes opened the regular season Sunday with a 41-6 win over Miramar on national television, a win that helped Manatee vault to the No.1 ranking in USA Today’s Super 25.

Four days later, they return to action when the Canes head to the Ram Bowl tonight to face Riverview.

“(Thursday) was day 10, where we either practiced or played, in a row,” KInnan said. “(Today) will be day 11.”

Manatee went without pads during Monday’s 45-minute practice, and didn’t go in full pads Tuesday or Wednesday.

“We went less than two hours both days,” said Kinnan, adding Thursday’s practice went a little over an hour.

Most importantly, Kinnan said, Manatee heads to Sarasota tonight healthy.

The Hurricanes return home next week to host Miami Central, last year’s state runner-up in Class 6A that was ranked No.1 by USA Today before losing 35-3 to Grayson (Ga.) last week. Then they have a bye before heading to rival Southeast on Sept. 28.

“We had a Kickoff Classic then we had three games,” Kinnan said. “That’s a fine time to have a break.

“We did a good job, and we just need to continue on and play with great intensity and play like we’re capable of playing.”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Prep football: Manatee tops USA Today Super 25

photo by Tom O'Neill
 It didn’t take long for Manatee to shoot to the top of USA Today’s Top 25.

After beginning the season at No.3, the Hurricanes assumed the top spot in the paper’s latest poll, which was released today, thanks to their 41-6 win over Miramar on Sunday and Miami Central’s 35-3 loss to Grayson (Ga.).
Miami Central was the preseason No.1 before the loss, which sent the Rockets careening to No. 25. Grayson hopped from No. 6 to No. 3.

The Canes jumped a spot to No. 2 following their Kickoff Classic win over Seminole Osceola win, and Sunday’s resounding victory coupled with Central’s stunning loss, as them sitting at No. 1.

Miami Central visits Manatee on Sept. 14.

The Hurricanes head to Sarasota on Friday to face Riverview.

Manatee remained at No. 1in MaxPreps’ Xcellent Top 25, which was released Sunday.

RivalsHigh100 has the Canes at No.3 and will be unveiling an updated poll Wednesday.