Thursday, August 29, 2013

Prep football: Allison is Palmetto's new QB, Tuten has left the team

Another year, another starting quarterback at Palmetto.
This time it is sophomore Jack Allison, who will be under center 7:30 p.m. Friday when the Tigers host Venice in their regular-season opener.
Allison beat out incumbent Chris Tuten for the job.
"He throws a catchable ball and is just a little bit more accurate," Tigers head coach Dave Marino said Thursday. "He's got composure in the pocket; he can move out of the pocket and still keep his eyes downfield. There's just intangibles, those quarterback skills. Tute had the experience, but the longer it progressed, Jack was getting a better understanding and a feel for our offense. And Tute was just sort of stagnant - he really hadn't improved much, he was still making similar mistakes he was making last season."
Allison is the third starting quarterback in as many seasons for the Tigers, beginning with Trenton Miller in 2011. A transplant from Buffalo, Miller helped lead Palmetto to its first state semifinal appearance in 25 years.
Spencer Atkins was supposed to take over the role last season, but the senior got hurt in Palmetto's season-opener against Riverview and gave way to Tuten, who steered Palmetto to a 9-3 record and a Class 5A playoff berth.
When Atkins was healthy, he switched to linebacker.
Now it's Allison's turn. And unlike Miller and Atkins, who were seniors, Allison will be with the team for two more seasons, injecting a dose of stability into one of the most important positions on the field.
"If you're going to be consistent, you're going to have to do it the same day in and day out," Marino said. "We felt like making this move now was the time...It will give him a few weeks before our district play starts. We just felt like we had to make a decision, we couldn't let this linger on any further."
With Allison now the starter, Tuten decided to leave the team, Marino said.
"It's disappointing," Marino said. "I thought he would have battled, because we told him - 'Hey, if Jack's not ready for varsity football, then we'll go with you because we know what you can do for us and your experience.' And he chose to back away from that challenge as opposed to accepting it. It was disappointing he reacted to the challenge that way."
Speaking of challenges, Palmetto's schedule offers plenty. The Tigers' first two opponents, Venice and St. Petersburg Lakewood, were a combined 18-6 last season. And their Week 3 opponent, Clearwater Countryside, was 4-6 - but forfeited six games for using an ineligible player.
"We're right out of the gates with three tough ones in a row, and it's going to be a test of our character," Marino said, "and how bad we want it and how passionate we are, and are we going to endure through this and grow with each experience."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Prep volleyball: District alignments

photo by Paul Videla

The 2013 volleyball season is underway, and with this being the first of new two-year cycle of district alignments, here are the districts involving area teams.
District tournaments begin the week of Oct. 21.

Palm Harbor University
Sarasota Riverview
St. Petersburg

Braden River
Lakewood Ranch
North Port

Gulfport Boca Ciega
St. Petersburg Gibbs
St. Petersburg Lakewood

Bradenton Christian
Cardinal Mooney
Out-of-Door Academy
Saint Stephen's
Imagine School of North Port

Monday, August 26, 2013

Prep football: Manatee's Walters commits to Missouri

photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie

Manatee running back Trevon Walters has committed to Missouri, according to Hurricanes assistant Chris Conboy.
The Alabama transplant rushed for 1,119 yards and 16 touchdowns last season and pulled in 29 catches for four scores.
Walters is the latest Manatee senior to commit to a Division I school,  joining offensive linemen Michael Galati (USF) and Jake Stickler (Georgia Tech), wide receiver Brodrick Yancy (Temple) and defensive lineman Demarcus Christiams (FSU).
For more on this story, check Tuesday's edition of The Bradenton Herald. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Prep football: Why it pays to be a state semifinalist

photo by Grant Jefferies

The partnership between quarterback Cord Sandberg and coach Joe Kinnan led to a state championship and three more trips to the state semifinals for the Manatee Hurricanes, who have made four straight final four appearances overall.
That also makes for a lot of money, which is key, considering Kinnan said no district funds went toward athletics last season.
Manatee has played 18 playoff games over the last four years, which according to Kinnan, brought in between an additional $150,000 and $160,000 to the school's athletic program after expenses.
"That is money that you don't really anticipate," Kinnan said. "That's money that's a bonus for your athletic program. Our surplus that was built up that the district borrowed was a direct result of our 18 playoff games.
"We're fortunate to have a good following."
Manatee hosted Fort Laurderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in a 2009 Class 5A state semifinal that resulted in a $50,000 gate. After covering expenses and giving Aquinas its share, Manatee made roughly $20,000 that night, Kinnan said.
Also the school's athletic director, Kinnan said the money football generates through gate receipts goes toward purchasing uniforms and equipment for Manatee's other athletic teams.
If a team wants to raise money for other things, such as travel shirts or pre-game meals, it can organize its own fundraiser.
As for the Hurricanes, they will play an out-of-state game for the third time in four years on Labor Day weekend when they head to the University of Maryland to face Gilman (Md.) on 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1.
The game is slated to broadcast live on FoxSports and is part of the 2013 UnderArmour Brothers In Arms Classic, a month-long series featuring 46 teams from around the state.
UnderArmous and SigningDayLLC are among the companies sponsoring the event, and Kinnan said no district money will be spent on the trip..