Monday, December 31, 2012

Prep football: Calloway commits to Louisville

photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie
Manatee defensive lineman Derrick Calloway has committed to Louisville, according to Hurricanes defensive line coach Steve Gulash. Gulash said he received a text from Calloway on Sunday night from Texas, where Calloway is participating in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
Rivals ranks Calloway, a senior, as the nation's 18th-best defensive tackle.
Calloway had three sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, 68 tackles, two passes defended, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal this season for the Hurricanes. In three seasons at Manatee, two as a full-time starter, Calloway finished 13 sacks and 143 tackles and helped the Canes win three regional titles and the Class 7A state title in 2011.
He is the third Canes linemen to commit to a Division I program: Defensive end Blake Keller, a senior, chose UCF over the summer; tackle Demarcus Christmas, a junior, committed to Florida State during the season.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Prep football: FHSAA releases tentative districts

photo by John Lembo
The Florida High School Athletic Association has unveiled the tentative districts for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
The schools have until Jan. 18 to appeal their new classification and district.

Listed below are the new districts involving area teams.
The full list can be found here.

Manatee, Palm Harbor University, St. Petersburg, Sarasota Riverview.
Braden River, Lakewood Ranch, North Port, Sarasota.
Palmetto, Largo, St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins, Seminole Osceola, Venice.
Bayshore, Southeast, Arcadia DeSoto, Wauchula Hardee.
Cardinal Mooney, Saint Stephen's, Out-of-Door Academy, Community School of Naples, Fort Myers Bishop Verot, Moore Haven.
Bradenton Christian, Tampa Cambridge, Tampa Carrollwood, St. Petersburg Canterbury, Largo Indian Rocks Christian, St. Petersburg Keswick Christian.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Prep baseball: Manatee's Cord Sandberg now in baseball mode

photo by John Lembo
 Welcome back Cord Sandberg, baseball player.
After putting the wraps on his final season quarterbacking Manatee's football team, Sandberg, a senior, is now readying himself for baseball.
It's a big year - Sandberg is considered a top prospect and could be a high pick during summer's amateur baseball draft, and he has already earned an invite to work out for the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie during the first weekend in January.
During the football season, Sandberg said he worked out a few times at The Sandlot @ 5 Tools, a baseball facility in downtown Bradenton operated by Manatee baseball coach Dwayne Strong.
"The past couple of years, I didn't really do any baseball during the football season," Sandberg said. "But this year is a little different."
A centerfielder, Sandberg is trying to get his arm back in baseball shape after spending the last four months throwing a football.
"It's different arm motions," he said. "Football is a quick release. With baseball, I'm trying to get long and get some carry on the ball."
Sandberg had a meet-and-greet with the Tampa Bay Rays and has also had visits with the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks. It's nothling like college football recruiting, which the Mississippi State commit knows well.
"College football, the coaches are coming in and telling you what they have and trying to get you to go there," Sandberg said. "With this, I have no say where I'm going. It's going to be kind of exciting when draft day comes, not knowing where I'm going to be for the next couple of years.
"I'd be glad to be part of any major league organization."

Prep girls basketball: Southeast's schedule gets tougher

photo by Grant Jefferies
Southeast girls basketball coach John Harder considers Class 5A-District 12 the toughest in the state.
Consequently, he has scheduled some tough opponents in the hopes of steeling his girls for the postseason.
The Seminoles, who are 10-1 overall and 2-1 in the district following Tuesday's loss to St. Petersburg Lakewood, host undefeated Sarasota on Thursday and meet Lakeland Kathleen on Wednesday in the first round of their own Willie Clemons tournament.
Kathleen went to the second round of last year's Class 6A state tournament.
Southeast then heads to Fort Myers Dunbar for Tiger Classic on Jan. 4 and 5. The Seminoles play host Dunbar, the defending Class 4A state champion, Jan. 4.
"I built the schedule knowing I was in the toughest district in the state," Harder said. "It's not we've ever ducked anybody, it's about getting better. And that's my job - I've got to help them get better."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Prep basketball: Five boys teams in Riverview tournament

photo by Paul Videla
Raleigh Alexander and the Seminoles will be in action during next week's Suncoast Holiday Tournament at Riverview
 Southeast and Palmetto face off in the first round of the Suncoast Holiday Tournament at Riverview High in Sarasota.
The tournament begins Wednesday, Dec. 26 and wraps Saturday with the championship game, slated for 7:30 p.m.
Listed below are Wednesday's first-round pairings with local teams in bold.

Southeast vs. Palmetto, 3 p.m.
Cardinal Mooney vs. Carol City, 4:30 p.m.
Booker vs. Braden River, 6 p.m.
Manatee vs. Sarasota Christian, 7:30 p.m.

Riverview, Fort Myers, South Fort Myers and Tampa Sickles all received first-round byes.

Prep football: Manatee's Dawsey, Miller picked for FACA All-Star Game

photo by Grant Jefferies
 Manatee defensive tackle Marquis Dawsey and offensive lineman Thor Miller have been selected for the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Classic, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Firemen's Field in Sebring.
It's the 58th edition of the game.
Dawsey and Miller will be suiting up for the South team, which will be coached by Lake Wales' Rod Shafer.
Dawsey had 89 tackles, 14 1/2 sacks, two fumble recoveries, five caused fumbles and 22 hurries for Manatee. He also lined up at fullback and scored four touchdowns.
Miller is a two-year starter and the only senior on Manatee's line this year.

Prep baseball: Manatee alum Lance Carter named USF pitching coach

Manatee alum and Bradenton resident Lance Carter is back with another area baseball team.
USF announced on its website,, the school has hired Carter as the school's new pitching coach.
Carter also pitched at Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida) and spent six seasons in the big leagues after he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1994.
Carter spent four seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now the Rays) and was an All-Star in 2003 when he was seventh in the American League in saves (26) and fifth in games finished (55).
Carter, who also joins in on the radio broadcast for Manatee's football games, spent last season as the pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies' New York-Penn League team in Williamsport, Pa.

Prep sports: Lakewood Ranch leads Sunshine Cup after fall season

photo by Paul Videla
Cross country star Kristin Zarrella
Lakewood Ranch is first overall in Class 6A for the the 2012-13 FHSAA Floyd E. Lay Sunshine Cup All-Sports Awards Point Standings.
The Mustangs have totaled 379 points, well ahead of second place Fort Myers (298).
Points are awarded based on how each school did in each sports' state series. The top 16 places, and teams are given a five-point bonus for district and regional titles.
The Mustangs' volleyball team won its district and region en route to the final four, and the girls cross country team placed fifth in the Class 3A state team meet.
Lakewood Ranch's girls lead 6A with 201 points and the boys are third with 178.
The only other area school in the running is Manatee. The Hurricanes boys, lead by the football's team march to the Class 7A state final four, are tied for fifth in 7A with 93 points.

Prep basketball: Smoothie King Classic pairings

photo by Paul Videla
Bradenton Christian's gym hosts the Smoothie King Classic from Dec. 27-29
Six area teams will be in action for Bradenton Christian's Smoothie King Classic girls and boys basketball tournament, which gets underway Thursday, Dec. 27 and wraps Saturday, Dec. 29.
The girls championship game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday and the boys final is 8 p.m. Saturday.
Thursday's first-round pairings are listed below with local teams in bold.

Cape Coral vs. Brandon, 11 a.m.
Bayshore vs. Lennard, 2 p.m.
East Jackson, Ga. vs. East Bay, 5 p.m.
Bradenton Christian vs. Imagine School of North Port, 8 p.m.

Cardinal Mooney
vs. Clearwater Central Catholic, 9:30 a.m.
Bayshore vs. St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins, 12:30 p.m.
Manatee vs. Englewood Lemon Bay, 3:30 p.m.
Bradenton Christian vs. Tampa Alonso, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Prep football: Sandberg 3rd, Kinnan 6th in final voting

photo by Grant Jefferies
Manatee quarterback Cord Sandberg placed third in the balloting for Mr. Football and coach Joe Kinnan took sixth in the final Coach of the Year voting, according to results announced Monday by the Florida Dairy Farmers.
Named the Class 7A state player of the year for the second straight season, Sandberg earned three first-place votes for Mr. Football and tallied 104 points.
The winner was Yulee's Travis Henry, who earned 18 first-place votes and 221 points.
Glades Day's Kelvin Taylor was second (139 points).
The Alabama-bound Henry set single-season state records for rushing yards (4,261), carries (462) and touchdowns (55). He set the all-time national career rushing record this year with 12,212 yards, breaking the 59-year-old mark set by Ken Hall, who ran for 11,232 while playing for Sugar Land, Texas from 1950-53.
The last local player to be named Mr. Football was Southeast's Adrian McPherson in 2000. Manatee's Shevin Wiggins took home the honor in 1993.
Kinnan tallied one first-place vote and 63 points in the Coach of the Year running after winning the honors in Class 7A.
The overall winner was Tim Harris of Miami's Booker T. Washington. This year's Class 4A coach of the year, Harris led the Tornadoes to a 14-1 record and a state championship.
Harris piloted Booker T. Washington to its other state title in '07 before he spent three years as an assistant at Miami. He returned to the Tornadoes last year.
Southeast's Paul Maechtle (1993) is the only area coach to win the award.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Prep wrestling: Palmetto's Christmas Clash scheduled for Saturday

photo by John Lembo
Palmetto's Tyler Williford will be in action during Saturday's Palmetto High Christmas Clash
Palmetto is hosting its first Palmetto High Christmas Clash on Saturday, a dual wrestling tournament featuring eight teams.
The field includes the host Tigers, Lakewood Ranch, Southeast, Booker, Sarasota, Sarasota Riverview, Sebring and Crystal River.
Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and is scheduled to wrap up at about 2 p.m., said Palmetto coach Bryan Wilkes.
It will be a busy winter for the Tigers, who host the Palmetto Duals on Jan. 12, a dual meet with Clearwater Central Catholic on Jan. 17 and the JV and varsity county championships Jan. 23 and 24.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Prep football: Manatee's newest rankings

photo by John Lembo
Ranked No.1 nationally by MaxPreps, ESPN and USA Today for much of the season, Manatee expectedly tumbled in those polls following Friday's loss at Fort Lauerdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
Here are the latest:

ESPN - The Canes dipped to No. 23 in the ESPN Super 25, with Bellevue (Wash.) taking over to the top spot. Previously unranked Aquinas hopped to No. 20 heading into Friday's Class 7A state final.
MaxPreps - The site put Manatee atop its Xcellent 25 over the summer dropped to the Hurricanes to No. 23 and put Texas' DeSoto in the top spot. The Raiders entered the poll at No. 20.
Rivals - Manatee was No.3 in the RivalsHigh 100 but plummeted to No. 27 in the latest poll. The Raiders? No. 26.
USA Today - The Canes dropped to No. 17 in the Super 25 as Louisiana's John Curtis took hold of the top spot. Aquinas No. 11.

Prep football: Kinnan, Sandberg earn 7A honors

photo by Grant Jefferies
 Cord Sandberg is once again the class of Class 7A.
Manatee's senior quarterback was named Player of the Year in Class 7A by the Florida Dairy Farmers and is a nominee for the Mr. Football Award for the second straight year.
Joe Kinnan was named the Class 7A Coach of the Year.
Sandberg for 2,672 yards, 35 touchdowns and an interception for Manatee, which went 13-1 and fell to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas during Friday's 7A state semifinal.
Sandberg earned 208 points, easily beating Boyd Anderson's Gregory Hankerson (85) and Kissimmee Osceola's Stafon McCray (66).
Sandberg and Yulee's Derek Henry (4A) are the only repeat winners.
Other Mr. Football nominees include Tampa Wharton's Vernon Hargreaves III (8A), Columbia Laremy Tunsil (6A), Lake Nona's Tucker Isreal (Class 5A), Henry (4A), University School's Mike White (3A), Belle Glade Glades Day's Kelvin Taylor (2A) and Trenton's Cedric Stokes (1A).
Kinnan's competiton for Coach of the Year are Orlando Dr. Phillips' Rodney Wells (8A), Gainesville's James Thomson (Class 6A), Tampa Robinson's Mike DePue (5A), Booker T. Washington's Tim Harris (4A), University School's Roger Harriot (Class 3A), Dade Christian's Mike Sonneborn (2A), Trenton's Andrew Thomas (1A).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Prep football: Manatee's Kinnan a coach of the year finalist

photo by John Lembo

Manatee coach Joe Kinnan is one of six finalaists for the 2013 Xenith National Coach of the Year award.
Kinnan's Hurricanes are 13-0 and ranked No.1 in the nation by ESPN, MaxPreps and USA Today heading into Friday's Class 7A state semifinal against Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
Kinnan is the only Florida coach among the six finalists. Other nominees are Claude Mathis, DeSoto (Texas); J.T. Curtis, Curtis (Lousiana); Butch Goncharoff, Bellevue (Washington); Brian Hales, Butler (N.C.); and Mike Jinks, Steele (Texas).
The winner will be announced Friday, Jan. 4 at the U.S. Army All-American Awards dinner in San Antonio.
Manatee has won five state titles under Kinnan, who took over the program in 1981.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Prep football: PAL Bowl rosters

Herald file photo
The 21st Brad Price Memorial PAL Bowl will be played Friday, Dec. 21 at Southeast High.
Seminoles' coach Paul Maechtle will coach Manatee County while former Southeast standout and current Out-of-Door Academy coach Brett Timmons will lead Sarasota County.
The series is tied 10-10.
Listed below are the rosters for Manatee County and players from ODA and Cardinal Mooney.

BAYSHORE - Calvin Williams, RB; Jonathan Lewis, QB/WR; Erick Ayvar, OL; Jonathon Ramirez, OL.
BRADEN RIVER - Eric Shoppacher, LB; Austin Rain, RB; Trevon Young, OL/DL.
LAKEWOOD RANCH - Ki-Jana Brown, DB; Andre Christiano, DB; Luke Sears, LB; Michael Farhat, OL; Cory Adams, OL; Michael Iacobelli, DL.
MANATEE - Willie Smith, DB; Darrian Mabrey, DB; Cord Sandberg, QB; Dentrell Muller, DB; Daren Ardis, DB; Malik Brooks, DB; Marquis Dawsey, DL; John McElfresh, LB; Blake Keller, DL; Jonathan Hernandez, P; Thor Miller, OL; Gregory Moss, K;  Ja Juan Pollock, WR; Anthony Lauro, WR.
PALMETTO - Stevon Saunders, DB; Cory Crawford, RB/WR; Austin Cavey, LB; Josh Layhew, DL; Joe Bundrage, OL/DL; Kelvin Stuckey, OL/DL; E.J. Burston, WR; Shaquille Harris, WR.
SAINT STEPHEN'S - Herman Israelsson, RB.
SOUTHEAST - Jordan Grabski, DB; Eric Thompson, DB; Myles Braxton-Johnson, QB; James Barnes, LB/DB; Rakeem Williams, LB/DE; Terrence Houston, DL; Raleigh Alexander, OL; Jacob Sannon, WR; Jayson Collymore, DE.

CARDINAL MOONEY - Ryan Branch, SS/WR; Elijah Toussaint, WR; Anthony Caiazzo, RB; Nick Levanduski, WR.
OUT-OF-DOOR ACADEMY - Evan Wilson, QB; Brandon Place, WR/DB; Sean Kirshe, K; Wyatt Page, LB.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Prep football: Looking back at Manatee-Aquinas matchups

photo by Grant Jefferies
Joe Kinnan and Cord Sandberg are a win away from another state final
 Here we go again - Manatee vs. Fort Lauderdale with a spot in a state title game on the line.
This is the fifth time since 2005 the Hurricanes and Raiders have met in a state semifinal, and the second time they have done it in Class 7A.
Here is a look at the previous meetings:

2005: Raiders 45, Hurricanes 17 - Joe Kinnan's return to the sideline was a triumphant one, as the Hurricanes won their first regional title in 11 years after not making the playoffs in 2004. But Manatee's season was stopped cold by the Raiders, who cruised at Hawkins Stadium. Quarterback Wesley Carroll threw for four Aquinas touchdowns while Manatee lost its quarterback, Ryan Rubino, to a second-quarter knee injury. Manatee drew to within 24-17 in the third quarter, but the Raiders, ranked seventh in the nation at the time, scored the final three touchdowns. Aquinas lost to Lakeland the following week in the 5A state final.

2006: Raiders 36, Hurricanes 29 2 OT - The rematch was in Fort Lauderdale this time, but it was all Manatee early. The Hurricanes' stout defense was able to tee off on a Raiders team playing without an injured Carroll, and Manatee carried a 15-0 lead into halftime while not allowing Aquinas a first down. But a pair of huge third-quarter plays helped turn the tide. First, Jeremiah Harden's 82-yard punt return for a touchdown sliced Manatee's lead to 15-7. Then Major Wright returned an interception 74 yards to Manatee's 12, and the Raiders later tied the game at 15. Manatee squandered a pair of leads, including a 29-22 advantage in the first overtime period, and the Raiders landed in the state final for a third straight year. Interestingly enough, Aquinas lost to Lakeland in two overtimes the following week in the 5A championship game.

2009: Hurricanes 28, Raiders 20: Manatee had re-established itself as a state power prior to this, winning a pair of regional titles and making the playoffs in three of four seasons since Kinnan returned to the sideline. But Dec. 11, 2009, was the night the Hurricanes' began their ultimate revival, beating a Raiders team that had won 37 straight games back-to-back 5A state titles and the 2008 prep national title, and owned the No.1 ranking in the nation. Manatee led 10-7 at the half and stretched the lead to 21-7 when Darian Evans returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Raiders drew to within eight with 2:13 remaining, but Manatee senior Ace Sanders fell on the ensuing onside kick to clinch one of the biggest wins in team history. The Canes fell to Tampa Plant in the 5A final the following week, but the win put the them on the national radar. Manatee has been there ever since.

2010: Raiders 31, Hurricanes 7: With the previous year's upset fresh in their minds, the Raiders rolled in the rematch in Fort Lauderdale, routing a Manatee team fresh off its first undefeated season since 1990. Aquinas' defense limited Manatee to 11 first downs and 24 rushing yards while sacking quarterback Cord Sandberg three times. Aquinas defeated Tampa Plant the following week to clinch its sixth state title and third in four years. The Raiders were also named the prep national champion's by ESPN. Manatee, meanwhile, won the 7A state the following year and has not lost to a state school since.

Prep football: Bayshore's Gordon retires

photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie
Bayshore football coach Jean P. Gordon has retired, according to athletic director Chris Brady.
Gordon went 25-44 in seven seasons with the Bruins, and his best season was 2011, when he went 5-5.
Gordon sent a letter of resignation to principal David Underhill and notified his players Monday morning, Brady said.
For more on this story, check Tuesday's edition of The Bradenton Herald.