Saturday, April 27, 2013

Prep football: Ace Sanders' memorable moments at Manatee

Ace Sanders became a fourth-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars today following a successful three-year stint as a South Carolina Gamecock.
Before all that, however, Sanders was a Manatee Hurricane. A four-year starter, Sanders helped the Canes to three playoff appearances, two regional titles and a state title game while pulling in 138 catches during a career that stretched from 2006-09
Here are some of his more memorable moments in Canes colors:

Oct. 20, 2006: Sanders and another fine freshman, quarterback Brion Carnes, teamed for the game's only touchdown as the Hurricanes beat rival Riverview 7-0 at the Ram Bowl. It's the first career varsity touchdown for Sanders, and a harbinger of things to come.
Nov. 23, 2006: He doesn't get in the end zone, but Sanders pulled in a team-high three catches for 28 yards as Manatee defeats North Fort Myers 20-14 to win the Class 5A-Region 3 title and secure a second straight trip to the state final four.
Nov. 16, 2007: Sanders totals a game-high 105 receiving yards in Manatee's 31-28 win at Fort Myers in a Class 5A-Region 3 quarterfinal. Spurred on by Sanders, Manatee erases a 21-3 deficit in the first half to win their 10th game of the season and advance into the regional semifinals.
Sept. 26, 2008: This was the only year Sanders didn't make the playoffs at Manatee, but his performance in a 35-14 win over Port Charlotte shouldn't be forgotten. He threw for a touchdown, caught a pass for one and also scored on a 99-yard kickoff return. Sanders led the Canes in receptions (27) and was second in scoring (54 points) in '08.
Dec. 11, 2009: Sanders' final game inside Joe Kinnan Field at Hawkins Stadium was the best of all. The Hurricanes defeated the nation's top-ranked team, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, 28-20 in a Class 5A state semifinal, snapping the Raiders' 37-game winning streak. Sanders came up huge, scoring a pair of touchdowns and essentially sealing the victory when he fell on Aquinas' onsides kick. The win helped Manatee reach a state final for the first time since 1993 and helped put the program back on the national radar.

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