The Manatee County high school football season officially begins Friday Night, but if you look at the Western Illinois roster you might think it opens Thursday.
There will be five Manatee County residents on the Leathernecks roster when they kickoff their season Thursday night at home against Valparaiso.
Leading the way is senior receiver Todd Speight, who is Pre-Season All American Honorable Mention and pre-season first team All Missouri Valley Conference choice. He was an All-Conference Punt Returner last year when he ranked 15th in FCS (I-AA) and 73d in kickoff returns.
The 5-8, 165 pounder is the only player in WIU history to return a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns in the same game. He is the younger brother of Southeast quarterback Dyron Speight.
Three former Southeast players are on the team: Enock Presendieu, a junior offensive lineman and sophomores Charles Chestnut (WR) and Kieron James (DB).
The other Manatee County product is sophomore running back Marva Carley, from Palmetto High.