Thursday, September 30, 2010

Former USF standout Nate Allen honored

Former USF standout defensive back Nate Allen has been named the NFL's Rookie of The Month for his perfomance in September.

During his first month of professional football, the Philadelphia Eagles safety picked off two passes, had three passes defended, 12 tackles and a sack in three games.

The Eagles took Allen in the second round of the NFL draft with a pick they acquired when they traded heralded quarterback Donovan McNabb to Washington. He is the first Eagle to have an interception in his first game since Eric Allen in 1988

Allen will be able to thank McNabb personally when the Eagles face the Redskins this Sunday. Allen, who was a quarterback a Cape Coral High, agreed to become a safety when he got to USF so he could get on the field quicker.

USF's Mitchell showing displays talent as punt returner

The only thing stopping USF's Terrence Mitchell from leading the country in punt returns is a shortage of opportunities.

The true freshman has returned three punts 95 yards for a 31.7 per return average, which is higher than any of the 75 players currently ranked by the NCAA in Division I-A (FBS).

The leader is Oregon's Cliff Harris, who is averaging 28.14 yards per game on seven returns. Ranked fourth is Miami's Travis Benjamin, who has one more carry than Mitchell and is averaging 24.50 yards per attempt.

McNeal still ranks among the leaders

Despite his struggles last week, Willie McNeal still ranks among the national leaders in All Purpose yardage.

The Western Kentucky freshman is ranked 19th nationally in the FBS (I-A) national rankings averaging 160.75 All-Purpose yards per game.

The Braden River High product still leads the country in kickoff return yardage with 508 yards. Last week in a 24-12 loss to USF, McNeal returned four kickoffs for a total of 80 yards and caught three passes for 55 yards.

Hart fighting to keep QB job

Chris Hart is in an intense battle to regain the starting quarterback job at Towson University.

The Southeast High graduate started the first three games at QB for the Tigers (1-3), but after committing what his coach said were too many turnovers, came off the bench in Towson’s 24-10 loss to Columbia last weekend.

A junior transfer, Hart completed nine of 14 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown with one interception against Columbia. Bart Blanchard, a transfer graduate student from The Citadel with one year of eligibility left, started the game and completed 13 of 20 passes for 89 yards with an interception.

Towson head coach Rob Ambrose said he did not want to rotate quarterbacks, but no quarterback can play for him if he keeps turning the ball over.

Hart leads the Tigers in rushing and passing, but has thrown six interceptions with seven touchdown passes. He has gained 269 yards on 52 carries for a team high 4.7 rushing average and completed 42 of 82 passes for 494 yards.

Blanchard has completed 25 of 36 passes for 233 yards for 9.3 yards per completion. Hart is averaging 11.8 yards per completion.

This Saturday night Towson plays host to ninth ranked (I-AA) Massachusetts.

Taggart feels good about his WKU team

Willie Taggart's Western Kentucky team lost to USF last week, but the head coach and Manatee High legend sounded like a winner after the game.

It was the fourth straight loss for WKU and extended the nation's longest losing streak to 24 games, but his young team played its best game and started to show signs that it could turn the corner when Sun Belt Conference play begins next week for the Hilltoppers at FIU.

In his first year as WKU's head coach, Taggart hopes to bring the Hilltoppers back to the glory days they had when he was their quarterback and it was a I-AA program.

"I am upbeat. We felt like we could’ve played better, but as a team we did what we said we would do at the beginning of the season, which was to get better every single game," Taggart said. "All of our goals are still there. Our next goal is to win the Sun Belt Conference and that is right there for us.

"Defensively we are coming. It's not showing up in the wins and losses yet, but we are getting better. I told our defense I had a dream last night that they were going to play their best ball game and they came out here and did that."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

USF's Mitchell gets Big East Honors

USF true freshman Terrance Mitchell becAme the first player on the Bulls football team to win a Big East Conference Player of The Week award when he was named Special Teams Player of The Week for his performance last Saturday against Western Kentucky.

The Tampa Hillsborough High graduate had a 67 yard punt return that set up a touchdown and returned another punt 27 yards.

USF head coach Skip Holtz said Mitchell was the most electrifying punt returning in fall drills, but his tendency to drop punts scared the coaches from naming him the number one returner.

Southeast grad Faron Hornes started the first game, but bobbled his first two punts, losing the second one on a fumble. His replacement also lost one and then Mitchell was given the opportunity and made the most of it.

Bulls running back Demetris Murray, who crashed the 100 yard barrier for the first time in his career with 115 yards rushing against WKU, was named to the Big East Honor Roll.

USF-Syracuse game set for noon kickoff

USF'S Big East Conference opener and homecoming game set for Saturday, October 9th at Raymond James Stadium will kickoff at 12 noon.

Syracuse is the only Big East Conference football team the Bulls have never lost to beating the Orange five straight times, including a 34-20 victory last season.

The games have been pretty one sided with the Bulls winning 27-0 in their first meeting in 2005. They won the next three games, 27-10, 41-10 and 45-13.

This year’s Syracuse team figures to be the best it has had in quite awhile. The Orange are 3-1 though their victories have come against Mid-American Conference Akron and I-AA Maine and Colgate with a 40-21 loss at Washington.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jenkins expected to play Sunday

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins returned to the practice field on Wednesday after being carted off the field last Sunday in the Cowboys 27-20 loss to Chicago.

The former Southeast High/USF standout injured his right knee against Chicago. Initially, it was thought to be serious with talk he might miss at a couple of weeks.

However, MRI tests on Monday revealed that the third year pro had a bruised knee and did not suffer any structural damage.

Jenkins wants to play real bad this Sunday when his winless Cowboys go against the surprising 2-0 Texans, who lead the NFL in total offense, averaging 440 yards per game.

They have one of the best receivers in the game in former University of Miami star Andre Johnson and quarterback Matt Schaub, who is fifth in the league in passing yards (604 yards) and has completed 47 of 69 passes for four touchdowns with two interceptions.

Johnson is fourth in the league with 191 receiving yards and has caught 15 passes (tied for 5th), including one for a touchdown.

Could Milledge be done in Pittsburgh

A strained oblique muscle appears to have shut Lastings Milledge down for the rest of the season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. But things could get even worse next year for the Lakewood Ranch High product and it would have nothing to do with an injury.

The Pirates have seemingly given up on Milledge during the last month of the season while using everybody but your grandmother in right field where he came into the season as a starter.

The 25 year-old has a respectable .277 batting average and is hitting over .300 with runners in scoring position, but with only four homers that is not enough, Pirates GM Neal Huntington says.

Huntington told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Milledge needs to hit for more power, become a better base runner and improve his defense in the outfield.

“Lastings has got to get the ability to drive the ball more consistently. The batting average is nice, but it’s also about how much he can get on base, how much can he drive the ball, how much power is there?” Huntington told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

Southeast moves up in rankings after loss to Manatee

Southeast's heartbreaking loss to nemesis Manatee last week wasn't for naught, at least if you believe in the theory Rome wasn't built in a day.

The Seminoles will never forget the 24-7 halftime lead they blew in a an eventual 31-24 defeat. They were hoping to get into those charmed national rankings where Manatee sits.

But Southeast did make some movement (if you want to call it that) moving up from 422 to 328 in the Max Preps National High School football rankings. In state, it fared better moving up from 34th to 28th.

Now, what head coach Paul Maechtle needs to do is find some depth at running back so he can give Brian Poole, who also plays cornerback, some rest. His replacement against Manatee fumbled twice and many believe it cost the Noles the game.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

McNeal top ranked in kickoff return yardage

Former Braden River standout and current Western Kentucky freshman Willie McNeal ranks 10th nationally in all purpose yardage after his electrifying 90 yard kickoff return for a touchdown last week against Kentucky.

McNeal is ranked first nationally among NCAA FBS (formerly Division I-A)kickoff returners with 336 yards on 13 returns.

McNeal racked up 132 yards of kickoff return yardage against Nebraska and followed it up last week with 204 kickoff return yardage on seven returns against Kentucky.
He also caught two passes for 36 yards.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Marauders season ends in 2-1 loss

After a two hour and 16 minute rain delay, the Bradenton Marauders and Charlotte Stone Crabs finally resumed play in the deciding game of their best of three Florida State League playoffs Thursday night at Port Charlotte.

Both teams changed pitchers as play picked up in the top of the second.

Bradenton is now going with righthander Matt McSwain (2-3 with 3.64 ERA) while Charlotte has switched to lefty Frank De Los Santos (10-9; 4.33 ERA).

The Marauders took a 1-0 lead in the top on an RBI double by Adam Davis scoring Erik Fryer, who reached on a walk.
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Charlotte came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Matt Hall drove in a run with a single and Chris Murrill walked with the bases loaded. The Stone Crabs had three hits and a walk in the inning.

The two runs by Charlotte ended the scoring for the night and the Stone Crabs hung on to post a 2-1 triumph and move into the FSL championship series against the Tampa Yankees.

Southeast players beat Maechtle's old school

A bunch of former Southeast High football players played key roles in leading Western Illinois to a 45-0 romp over Valparaiso, which happens to be the school current Noles head coach Paul Maechtle graduated from.

Todd Speight, whose brother Dyron is Southeast’s current quarterback, had 84 all purpose yards. The senior caught two passes for 38 yards, returned three punts for 29 and had a 17 yard kickoff return.
Defensive back Kieron James, another Southeast alumnus, had three tackles. Other former Noles who played were Enock Presendieu, who started at offensive tackle and Charles Chestnut, a sophomore receiver.

Marauders in rain delay

The Bradenton Mauraders playoff game at the Charlotte Stone Crabs is currently in a rain delay.
The Marauders starting pitcher is righty Nathan Adcock (11-7, 3.38 ERA). The Stone Crabs are going with right hander Alexander Colome, recently brought up from Low Class A Bowling Green where he was 6-6 with a 3.95 ERA.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

USF crushes Stony Brook in season opener

After a ragged start that saw USF trailing Stony Brook 14-7 in the first quarter, the Bulls scored 52 unanswered points in rolling to a 59-14 victory in their season opener, Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.

B.J. Daniels had a near perfect night completing 15 of 22 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns without getting sacked or throwing an interception.

Marcus Shaw, the DeSoto County High product, broke free for a 63-yard touchdown run to cap the Bulls scoring and led USF’s running attack with 86 yards on only four carries. Demetrius Murray had 55 yards on 10 carries.

Evan Landi, the Bulls converted quarterback, topped the receiving corps with six catches for 104 yards. Dontavia Bogan caught two passes for 74 yards, including a 59-yard TD catch on the Bulls first possession of the here for full story
Murray had a 25 yard TD reception.

USF Gamer: USF leads 31-14 at halftime

Joel Miller made a diving catch in the endzone for a 19 yard reception with six seconds left in the second quarter. It gave the Bulls a 31-14 lead at halftime.

USF increased its lead to 24-14 over Stony Brook when the Bulls blocked a punt attempt in the endzone and Chris Lane recovered it for a touchdown

USF finally got the lead back when Eric Schwartz booted a 37 yard field goal with 10:55 left before halftime to cap a 42 yard drive that was set up with an interception from middle linebacker Mike Lanaris.

Quarterback B.J. Daniels took the Bulls on an eight play, 70 yard drive that he capped off with a four yard TD run as USF tied the game at 14-14 with 1:31 left in the quarter. Scored tied at 14-14 after first quarter

USF Gamer: Hornes struggles; Bulls trail 14-7

Punt returner Faron Hornes got off to the worst possible start for USF.
The Southeast grad fumbled his first punt on a fair catch, but managed to recover the ball. On his next return, Hornes lost the ball on an attempted return. Stony Brook recovered on the Bulls 35 and three plays later scored to tie the game at 7-7.

On the Bulls next possession, officials ruled punter Just Brockhaus-Kann's knee touched the ground and Stony Brook was given the ball on USF's 27. The Seawolves then scored on a 27 yard TD pass to lead 14-7.

USF scores on first play from scrimmage

USF didn’t’ waste any time getting points on the board in its season opener. On the Bulls first play from scrimmage, quarterback B.J. Daniels hit Dontavian Bogan with a 59-yard touchdown pass. Bogan caught the ball near the line of scrimmage, beat one defender and then went untouched down the sidelines for a 7-0 lead with 12:01 on the clock.