Thursday, October 28, 2010

Haynes fighting for point guard spot at USF

Shedrick Haynes is in a fierce battle to win the starting point guard spot for the University of South Florida.

The Palmetto resident is competing for the starting job against Anthony Crater, who played half the season last year following his transfer from Ohio State.

The six-foot Haynes, who has two years of eligibility remaining, transferred from Lackawanna where he averaged 18.5 points per game and drained 98 treys in shooting 42percent from three-point land.

USF head coach Stan Heath said both players have been inconsistent and he has not made a decision. The point guard position is extremely important to any basketball team, but even more so at USF because its two leading scorers back from last year (Gus Gilchrist and Jarrid Famous) are post players and Heath needs someone to get them the ball.

Last year, Gilchrist averaged 13.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while Famous was at 10.4 points and 7.5 rebounds. The 6-1 Crater averaged 3.1 points and shot 18 percent on 3-pointers connecting on only 9 of 49 attempts.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hart continues to impress

Chris Hart continues to be one of the most versatile players In the Colonial Conference and arguably the best duel threat quarterback in the league.

The Towson University junior ranks seventh in the conference in total offense (65th nationally in I-AA), averaging 175.3 yards per game.

The former Southeast High standout is first among quarterbacks and eighth in the league overall in rushing, averaging 59.7 yards per game with 412 yards on 95 carries (4.4 avg).

He is also eighth in the league in passing yardage with 809. Hart has completed 63 of 133 passes for eight touchdowns. He has thrown six interceptions, but has not been picked off in three straight games.

Hart’s best game running came last week in a 28-6 loss to Richmond when he rushed for 113 yards, but had a net 82 counting sacks. He also had a 154 yards passing in that game, which

Daniels wins Big East's top weekly honor

Besides winning Big East Conference Offensive Player of The Week honors, USF quarterback B.J. Daniels moved up the league statistics after being near the bottom in many categories.

The redshirt sophomore is now sixth in the league in total offense, averaging 187.7 yards per game. His passing efficiency rose to 123.60 after completing 13 of 16 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulls 38-30 victory over Cincinnati last week. It ranks him 77th nationally though he is still 7th in the Big East.

On another positive note, USF is second in the Big East and 24th nationally in scoring defense allowing 18.6 points per game. West Virginia is first in the league and 6th nationally surrendering 13.3 points per game.

Axon turns in best game of season

Ben Axon turned in one of his best games of the season in the biggest junior college football game of the season last week leading No. 1 Butler Community College to a 28-0 victory over No. 2 Hutchinson.

The former Manatee High standout ran for a season high 141 yards on 33 carries and scored two touchdowns to spark the victory. He leads the Grizzlies on the season with 806 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

Butler finishes its regular season with a 9-0 record and is off this weekend and will be the top seed in the JUCO Region VI playoffs that begin Sunday November 7th.

Axon is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 89.6 rushing yards per game despite playing only half the game in many instances because his team is so far ahead.

He is on course to graduate this spring, which would make him eligible to play for an NCAA FBS team next season. The 6-2, 205 pound sophomore has been offered by Iowa State and been in contact with Western Kentucky, which is coached by Willie Taggart, another Manatee High standout.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Raymond gets Big East honor

The USF football team has been struggling, but one of the bright spots on the team is senior defensive back Mistral Raymond.

The Palmetto High has been a stalwart in the secondary and his play has not gone unnoticed. The cornerback/safety was the named to Phil Steele’s All-Big East Mid-Season Second team for his efforts.

Raymond was listed as a cornerback. Also selected to the second team was Bulls safety Jon Lejiste. Chosen for the third team were defensive end Craig Marshall and linebacker Sam Barrington.

The only USF player chosen to the first team was sophomore kick returner Lindsey Lamar, who leads the conference in kickoff return yardage and brought one to the house against Syracuse.

On offense, center Sampson Genus was a second team choice and receiver Dontavia Bogan was named to the third team.

USF midnight madness kicks off at 7:30

The USF men's and women's basketball teams will hold their own version of midnight madness this Friday.

It will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.and include a mixture of Bulls hoops and football. Fans who attend will be able to will watch the Big East Conference football game between USF and Cincinnati and the women's and men's basketball teams on the court.

Entries 2 and 4 to the Sun Dome open at 7:30 p.m. and the hoops squads will be introduced prior to the 8:05 p.m. kickoff of the football game against Cincinnati.

While watching the football game on big screens, fans will have the opportunity to participate in contests against the basketball players. At halftime of the football game, the women's and men's basketball teams will play green and gold scrimmages.

Free pizza and ice cream will be available for all in attendance.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Taggart almost ends nation's longest losing streak

For Willie Taggart these are the times that test a man’s soul.

The Manatee High legend has known a lot of success, but he couldn’t have been feeling more disappointed than last weekend.

In his first year as head coach at Western Kentucky, Taggart inherited a program that had the longest losing streak in the country at 20 games.

It almost ended last Saturday at 25 when his Hilltoppers led 24-7 in the fourth quarter against Louisiana-Monroe. But then everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong.

ULM scored four touchdowns in the final period to secure a 35-30 victory. A 55-yard interception for a touchdown that pushed its leads to 35-24 was the dagger that sunk into WKU’s heart.

Ironically it was the only turnover for a WKU team that has had ball security problems all season, but it was enough to dash the hopes of Taggart, who wanted to get the victory in front of the WKU home fans.

"We just didn't finish. We were in uncharted waters, but just didn't close the deal," Taggart said after the game. "It's all part of the growing pains we are going through. We made some bad mistakes, but we are going to keep fighting. I told the guys that when you are up, you can't get too high, and you can't get too low when you down.

“We had a game that we were up in, and we didn't handle it well at all. That's part of a growing process for a football team that hasn't won in a while.

The Hilltoppers were able to put together one last drive, going 62 yards in just three plays before Braden River graduate Willie McNeal caught a 13 yard touchdown pass to cut WKU’s deficit to five points. A two-point conversion attempt failed. Then ULM recovered an onsides kick and ran out the clock

Poole's list of suitors continues to grow

The list of suitors seeking the services of Brian Poole continues to grow and there are now eight programs seriously interested in the Southeast High junior, including some big heavyweights.

It has not been determined whether the 5-11, 190 pounder will play defensive back or running back in college. But to most of the schools it doesn’t matter. They just want his services.

He is being pursued by schools from the SEC, Big 10, ACC, Big East and Notre Dame where he recently made an unofficial visit.

Florida and Georgia from the SEC have targeted Poole after he ran a sub 4.4 at the Gators Friday Night Lights camp last summer. Ohio State is also in there along with Notre Dame, South Carolina and Miami and South Florida.

In his first year as a fulltime running back, Poole is averaging nearly 7 yards per carry and has shown an elusiveness that could many didn’t know about until this season.

Poole says he would prefer to play defensive back in college because he believes that is his best path to the NFL. He points to former Manatee County standouts now playing defensive back in the NFL: Mike Jenkins (Dallas), Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie (Arizona) and Fabian Washington (Baltimore).

Pompey gets Penn State offer

Quinton Pompey continues to be among the state leaders in sacks after giving himself a nice boost last week when he recorder four against Braden River.

The Manatee High defensive lineman has 11 sacks in six games this season, which boosts his average from 1.4 to almost 2 per game.

The 6-3, 265 pound defensive lineman is second on the Canes with 24 solo tackles and has been credited with 11 of the team’s 30 sacks. He also has one forced fumble and a pass breakup,

The senior is rated a 3-star prospect by and has received offers from Louisville, Ohio and most recently Penn State. The Nittany Lions defensive line coach Larry Johnson is high on Pompey and working hard to get him to join Joe Paterno’s team.

Lakewood Ranch forcing turnovers

Lakewood Ranch continues to be one of the most opportunistic and resilient teams in Manatee County.

The Mustangs have withstood a barrage of injuries, particularly at quarterback where Zach Larson has taken the reigns following injuries to two other starters, including three year incumbent Reggie Lindsey.

Lakewood Ranch has 16 take-aways thanks to 10 fumble recoveries and six interceptions. On offense, the Mustangs continue to take advantage of their big offensive line that has done a nice job for workhorse running back Taryn Laws.

The senior leads Manatee County in rushing attempts and rushing yardage and should be able to crack the 1,000 yard barrier with three regular season games left.

Lakewood Ranch has its hands full this Friday going south to take on unbeaten Punta Gorda Charlotte and its heralded running back Mike Bellamy in a battle of the last two undefeated teams in Class 4A-District 11.

Bellamy is listed as the state leader in rushing by Max Preps with 1,544 yards on 120 carries (12.9 avg) and an incredible 29 touchdowns in only seven games.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Purvis happy with his changes for Braden River

Though his offense struggled Friday night against Manatee, Braden River head coach Don Purvis says he liked what he saw in moving Steve Ross into the quarterback slot and switching out former QB Ryan Fischer to safety.

Fischer had an interception off a tipped ball and Ross was able to give the Pirates anemic passing game some life, completing four of nine passes for 39 yards and breaking off a big run on his first rushing attempt.

The Pirates offense was outmatched against a Manatee defensive front four that is among the best in the state. But Ross threw some nice passes and was able to use his height to connect with some open receivers.

Purvis said he would use Fischer in many different ways, including using him as a slot receiver and running back. He filled for Ross at the end of the game when the junior signal caller had to leave the game because of bruised ribs.

Right now, Braden River’s season comes down to its next two games after a bye this Friday. The Pirates play Sarasota Booker and Englewood Lemon Bay afterwards and if they can beat both it would likely put them into the playoffs as a district runner-up.

The highlight of an otherwise dismal night for Braden River was a 60 yard punt that Dakota Wilson got off. The linebacker/offensive lineman has been a stalwart for the Pirates, who appear to match up well with Booker and Lemon Bay.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hart shows improvement at Towson

Former Southeast High standout Chris Hart continues to lead Towson University in passing, rushing and total offense.

The junior quarterback ran for 83 yards on 14 carries, but struggled with his passing completing only 8 of 24 pass attempts in his team’s 17-13 loss to James Madison, the FCS (I-AA) team that upset Virginia Tech earlier this year.

It was Hart’s best running game since the season opener when he rushed for 125 yards on 16 carries against Indiana in a 51-17 loss. It also marked his second straight game without an interception.

Hart, who was in a battle to hold onto his quarterback job, played nearly the entire game against James Madison and did not turn the ball over. His tendency to commit turnovers earlier in the season put him a risk to lose his job.

Hart has rushed for a net 336 yards this season, which ranks first in the Colonial Athletic Association among quarterbacks. He ranks 8th in the league in total offense.

Ranch leads county in take-aways

A lot of people are thinking the best job of coaching so far this year might go to the staff at Lakewood Ranch.

After losing its first two quarterbacks because of injuries, the Mustangs have settled in with Zach Larson, who has won two of three since he became a starter.

Lakewood Ranch (4-2) has given up a fair amount of yardage (302 per game, but the Mustangs are the most opportunistic team in the area. They lead Manatee County with 14 take-aways that includes six interceptions.

Of course, the most productive guy has been workhorse Taryn Laws, who has 166 carries, which is 54 more than Bayshore's Dominic Everett, who is second with 106. Laws has 166 yards, which would be higher if he didn't have to play quarterback one game when the starter was knocked out.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Axon leads Butler to top JUCO ranking

The theme for Butler Community College has not changed all season: When it doubt go to big Ben.

That is Ben Axon not the other Ben from the NFL team called the Steelers.

Axon, the former Manatee High standout, had another solid Axon like game when he rushed for 119 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead Butler to a 35-12 victory over Garden City Community College last week.

The victory pushed Butler to number 1 in the National Junior College rankings replacing Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which lost its first game of the season last week, 30-27 to Pearl River Community College.

The 6-2, 200 pound Axon leads Butler with 490 yards on 102 carries (4.7 avg) and has registered five touchdowns. He has provided the spark for the Grizzlies, who are undefeated in six games and 4-0 in the Jayhawk Conference.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Raymond may switch to safety to help USF

The USF football coaches have said since the beginning of the season that Mistral Raymond’s versatility was the key to keeping the Bulls secondary cohesive if injuries or other issues come up.

That seems to be true this weekend. The Palmetto High graduate, who has done a solid job at cornerback all season, will most likely switch to safety this Saturday against Syracuse to fill in for Jerrell Young, who is nursing an ankle injury.

A 6-2, 192 pound senior, Raymond has started all four games this year at cornerback, but had four starts and a lot of playing time at safety last year. He leads all the USF defensive backs with 14 tackles and three pass breakups.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Daniels and Holtz reach an understanding

USF head football coach Skip Holtz has told quarterback B.J. Daniels have been going through a learning process with each getting to know the other a little better every day.

That relationship might have taken what could be called a significant step last week against FAU when Daniels called an audible on fourth down.

“I sent in a fourth down call and he check it (changed it) at the line of scrimmage,” Holtz said. “He came back and I said don’t ever check a fourth down call, coaches get fired over fourth down calls.

"He looked at me and said ‘coach I like you and I don’t want you to get fired and I won’t check anymore on fourth down.’”

Holtz said there are no hard feelings and it’s all part of the growth process that the coach and his most important pupil are going through.

“In the first four games we have gotten know BJ better as a player and he has gotten to know what our expectations of him are as a player,” Holtz said. “I think from a mental standpoint he is getting better and better every week. He is a very talented young man with a strong arm and great athletic ability and he has become a student of the game.”

Manatee focusing on ball security

Does Manatee need to practice a little extra ball security this week?

In their 5A-10 district opener this Friday, the Canes are heavy favorites to defeat Sarasota, which is being guided by first year coach Ed Volz.

Volz, who was the head coach at Braden River in 2009, has shown he knows how to create turnovers. Last season under his tutelage, the Pirates led the area with 17 fumble recoveries and won a couple of games because of their ability to force fumbles.

Volz has Sarasota leading the area in take-aways with a very impressive 18 in four games. The Sailors top Manatee/Sarasota County with 11 interceptions and are tied for second with seven fumble recoveries,behind Englewood Lemon Bay.