Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sorry for the absence...

but the fever bug struck last week.. I was lucky to be able to get out of bed Friday and do the show.

Ah, but never the less, we had shake-down week... and what a week it was.

St. Thomas Aquinas proved to the world that they belong among the national elite programs with a dismantling of Camden County, 45-28. Once again the Raiders gave up a late score to make the margin of victory seem manageable, but this one was all STA.

Armwood used its defense and its power rushing attack to keep the Plant Panthers offense off the field and handed Plant a 17-0 shutout. Plant may have lost the services of senior phenom James Wilder Jr. with a possible knee injury.

Miami Northwestern took the first step of the gauntlet with an nail-biting 26-25 win over Booker T. Washington. Last year the Bulls fell to BTW and then upended Central. This year they once again face the Rockets just six days after winning over the Tornados. Up after this is Columbus, which is unbeaten. Things don't get any easier for the Bulls.

Cocoa faced the last team to beat them - Merritt Island - and handled the test very well, with a 24-0 victory over the Mustangs. Cocoa hasn't lost a game since 2008.

Lincoln and Pine Forest met in a battle of two teams desperately needing a win. Pine Forest gave the ball up six times, but Loucheiz Purifoy, who made two of those turnovers, took the game over in the fourth quarter... He had a block of a field goal - and returned it 67 yards for a score - and when the Trojans tied it at 21, he busted loose for a 78 yard run to put the game away. The score would have been 35-21 but Purifoy fumbled through the end zone on the previous drive. Of course, Trebian Suggs added 191 yards rushing as Pine Forest appears to have righted the ship.

A couple of teams bounced out of the Top 25 - Niceville was beaten by Pace 31-17 and dropped out as well as Plant, Miramar (a 30-28 loser to Hallandale) and Tampa Robinson (a 29-28 loser to Jesuit).

Madison County continues to roll over opponents, regardless of classification... and how about Trinity's impressive 40-0 win over Nease. Don't you think Fletcher would love to have that opener against Nease back?

Is there a team that has played a tougher schedule in northeast Florida than First Coast? Four playoff teams including one state finalist dot the Buccaneer schedule through the first five weeks and the Bucs are 5-0 without the services of Eric Beverly.

A couple of teams to keep an eye on....

Venice (4-1) their only loss is to Lakeland and they manhandled Southeast... Big game with Manatee forthcoming.

St. Petersburg (5-0) The Green Devils are rolling and some say are the best in Pinellas.

Kathleen (4-1) - the Red Devils only loss came to Jesuit.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rumors, gossip and innuendo

Rumor has it (and it may be true by the time we post) that John Maronto will end his coaching career at Mainland High School this week.

The embattled coach has been under fire since being arrested and charged with solicitation two weeks ago. Mainland, which was picked by many to represent the north in 6A, started the season 0-2 and Maronto didn't want to be a distraction to the team.

So many times we fail to allow those who are in the spotlight to live their lives in anonymity and are very quick to make light of those who fall from grace. One has to wonder when it comes 'our time' to stand in that spotlight if we will expect the grace we so often fail to extend to those less fortunate.

I am by no means condoning the behavior of coach, but remind us all that in this country, a man is innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, that's not the case for most - who have already pre-judged and issued their verdict as well as their punishment.

St. Thomas Aquinas remains our #1 team in the Beef 'O' Brady's Top 25, although Cocoa will do something Friday they haven't done all year - play a Florida opponent. Many have asked how Cocoa cannot be the #1 team in the poll. And yes, I will state it here - there is a bias towards the smaller schools. Many voters believe that - while Cocoa, Bolles, Madison County and Pensacola (just to name a few) are dominant programs, how would they stack up against the upper level of the big classifications. Say what you will about Abilene, the Tigers didn't face Abilene at full strength. I'm not slighting Cocoa in the least, but Herschel Sims is a baller and makes a difference in any game he plays in.

Palatka broke a 16 game losing streak Friday night and gave Kyle Rice his first win at Palatka. ... Middleburg is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since Alan Hall was at quarterback... Don't look now, but Naples is quietly sneaking up on people... and what about coach Rod Schafer and the Lake Wales Highlanders, off to a 3-0 start.

Off topic - as fast as my Atlanta Braves have tanked in the NL East, one has to wonder where the Braves would be in Pierson, FL native Chipper Jones was healthy.

This Friday we'll be staying close to home as the Beef 'O' Brady's Scoreboard show airs from Jacksonville. We'll be live at the Beef 'O' Brady's on Beach Blvd. at Kernan Road after the Sandalwood/First Coast game.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ponder(ing) thougths for this week

Last week it was controversy, this week it was lightning.

Lightning canceled, delayed or post-poned at least 100 games last Friday night including our rivalry game between South Lake and East Ridge. Most were made up either Saturday or Monday, but it wreaked havoc on the schedules.

For Florida, playing Texas teams seems to be easy. Florida's Glades Central Miami Central and Cocoa got big wins this weekend on the road to the Lone Star State but Miramar gambled and lost - missing on a two-point conversion that would have won the game against DeSoto.

Plant, the #1 ranked team last week in the Top 25 - looked average against Hillsborough, but keep in mind Plant is still not healthy. All of those Panther-haters will see if the Panthers are legit over the next two-three weeks as they face Abilene and Armwood.

Is there a more road weary team than Cocoa? The Tigers traveled to Daytona Beach, Pennsylvania and Abilene, Texas in successive weeks - and came out 3-0. Yet despite receiving five first place votes in the Beef 'O' Brady's Top 25, the Tigers are still ranked seventh.

Manatee has its hands full this week with rival Southeast at Kiker Field. The Seminoles are 2-0 and ready to spring the upset. Last year Southeast led in the fourth quarter before Manatee pulled away. I'm picking the upset.

Lincoln gave Valdosta all it could handle Friday night, but the Trojans, still dealing with injuries, were unable to conquer the Wildcats. Leon, which also played in Lowndes County against the Vikings, didn't even come close - getting blown out 52-7.

My friend Larry Blustein says 'sleep on Pensacola all you want - they will be a top 5 team'... evidently the pollsters were listening as the Tigers are now #3 in the latest Top 25.

Dwyer decided to accept the punishment handed out to Nick O'Leary for giving the Ohio fans the one-fingered salute after a nationally-televised battle. O'Leary will sit out this week's game with Pahokee after sitting out last week's victory over Palm Beach Gardens. Pahokee, which most considered to be rebuilding this year, is off to a 2-0 start.

Who are your biggest surprises for 2010 so far? Two weeks in and who is disappointing? Remember very few districts have started play yet.

This week we're off to LaBelle for the Cowboys and the Vikings of Bishop Verot.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Week 1 - full of controversy

Now that week 1 of high school football is offically behind us - why are we not shocked that the season already is rife with controversy.

This weekend was not a good time for coaches (John Maronto) or teams (Dwyer) or players (Nick O'Leary).

Maronto found himself victim to the old adage of 'never screw up on a slow news day'. The 68 year-old head football coach for Mainland was arrested Saturday night for 'solicitation'. Remember that all parties in this country are innocent until proven guilty - unless you're dealing with the IRS or the other five-letter acronym for the management body of high school sports in the sunshine state.

Dwyer found itself scoring not once, not twice, but three times in the final four minutes of a classic game in Ohio - only to have the referees decide that they needed to go to Pearle Vision and get their lens' checked out. Now I'm not one for bashing officials - and usually will defend them... but this was borderline criminal what these guys did to Dwyer.

Nick O'Leary is a house-hold name. If he wasn't before the game with Glenville (OH) - he is now. The grandson of golf legend Jack Nicklaus is arguably the best tight end in the country. He's also the bullseye for the aftermath of the controversal calls in Columbus (Miami fans - get ready). After the heart-breaking loss, O'Leary was giving the 'one-fingered' salute to the fans and players of Glenville. Maybe he was just telling them that they were #1... then again - maybe not.

Even the event founder - Kirk Herbstreit - was upset by the outcome, telling Joe Rose of WQAM "it made me sick to my stomach".

As if to add insult to injury - the five-letter body in Gainesville handed down its decision... stone him! Ok - so they're not as radical as the Iranian government and they don't have nuclear weapons, but does the punishment fit the crime?

Here's what I think should happen. O'Leary should go to coach Jack Daniels - who has stated he'd rather forfeit two games than play without O'Leary - and say, "Coach, I let my emotions get the best of me. I'd be honored to be in the stands cheering for you against Gardens (Saturday) and Pahokee" That would go a long way with 'restoring' the image of O'Leary - and show true sportsmanship and class.

Ok - back to reality.

From this past week's observations...

- I saw the Countryside Cougars Friday against Boca Ciega and coach Jared Davis has some weapons. So does Bogey.

- St. Thomas Aquinas is reloaded and I think is 'on a mission from God' to quote the Blues Brothers. The Raiders dismantled a very respected Dallas Skyline team. Too bad the Raiders couldn't have faced Euless Trinity instead of Skyline - now THAT would have been a game for the ages.

- Cocoa has very quietly gone 2-0 and still has one more out-of-state opponent left to play - Abeline. The Tigers look to be ready to defend their 2A crown.

- Miami Central played its heart out in a 45-42 loss to Camden Co. (GA).

- I'm taking a lot of flack for voting Plant #1 on my ballot. I usually stick with the team as my #1 until they lose. Plant had that honor prior to the non-counting kickoff classic against Manatee (which Manatee won last year - but that didn't matter either). I don't drop teams after a kickoff classic game no matter how bad they play.

- Eric Beverly may be able to make it back in time for the latter third of the season for the First Coast (Jacksonville) Buccaneers.

- Dwyer's record is really 1-0 ...

Our deepest condolences go out to the Wekiva family after the sudden death of one of their players.

This Friday we're at the Beef's in Clermont spotlighting the South Lake County war... East Ridge vs. South Lake. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they close Groveland (South Lake) and Clermont (East Ridge) High Schools and now - here they are - back again...

Here's the first week of the Beef 'O' Brady's Top 25

1 Tampa Plant(4) 5A 1-0 261
2 Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer(4) 4A 0-1 259
3 Pensacola 3A 1-0 258
4 Seffner Armwood 4A 1-0 249
5 Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas(1) 5A 1-0 246
6 Miami Central(1) 6A 0-1 232
7 Bradenton Manatee(1) 5A 1-0 227
8 Tampa Jefferson 3A 1-0 224
9 Miami Northwestern 6A 1-0 223
10 Orlando Dr. Phillips 6A 1-0 220
11 Cocoa 2A 2-0 197
12 Belle Glade Glades Central 2A 1-0 194
13 Lakeland 5A 1-0 167
14 Miami Washington 3A 1-0 135
15 Deland 6A 1-0 130
16 Apopka 6A 1-0 116
17 Miramar 6A 1-0 90
18 Jacksonville Bolles 2B 1-0 81
19 St. Augustine 3A 1-0 75
20 Tampa Robinson 2A 1-0 70
21 Pompano Beach Ely 5A 1-0 43
22 Hollywood Chaminade Prep 2B 0-1 34
23 Lakeland Kathleen 4A 0-1 21
25T Tallahassee Lincoln 4A 0-1 18
25T Jacksonville First Coast 5A 1-0 18

Others receiving votes:
North Marion (Citra) - 3A, 0-1, 17; Jax. Trinity Christian - 1A, 1-0, 13; Mainland - 6A, 0-1, 12; Charlotte (Punta Gorda) - 4A, 1-0, 11; South Fort Myers - 3A, 1-0, 11; Boyd Anderson(Lauderdale Lakes) 5A, 1-0, 10; Countryside (Clearwater) - 5A, 1-0, 9; Niceville - 4A, 1-0, 9; Lake Wales - 3A, 1-0, 4; Olympia (Orlando) - 6A, 1-0, 3; Palm Bay (Melbourne) - 4A, 1-0, 2; Belen Jesuit (Miami) - 2B, 1-0, 2; Immokalee - 2A, 1-0, 1; Madison Co. (Madison) - 2A,1-0, 1; Miami Jackson - 3A, 1-0, 1

Thursday, July 22, 2010

2010 schedule is released

Ok sports fans - we're hitting the road for our 20th season in syndication.

here's where we are heading:

1 Sept. 3 Plant at Tampa Bay Tech
2 Sept. 10 East Ridge at South Lake
3 Sept. 17 Fort Myers Verot at LaBelle
4 Sept. 24 First Coast (Jax) at Sandalwood (Jax)
5 Oct. 1 Pine Forest (Pensacola) at Lincoln (Tally)
6 Oct. 8 Nease at Bartram Trail
7 Oct. 15 St. Thomas Aquinas at Miramar
8 Oct. 22 Astronaut at Cocoa
9 Oct. 29 Raines (Jax) at Santa Fe (Alachua)
10 Nov. 5 Daytona Mainland at Deland
11 Nov. 12 Live Oak Suwannee at Columbia

Friday, December 4, 2009

Round 3 predictions

Well, if you want to get it right in 6A - just pick against me.

I was a pathetic 3-5 in 6A last week, and overall 31-17 for the week, 96-48 overall. Not one of my better years, but I did get 2B completely correct :-D

Here we go with round 3...(remember - pick against me!)

Deland over Winter Park
Apopka over Treasure Coast
Miramar over Dr. Krop
South Dade upsets Central

Lakeland over Fleming Island
Plant over Countryside
Manatee over Bayside
St. Thomas over Ely (but closer than most expect)

Niceville over Lincoln (don't make the same mistake twice with Niceville)
Edgewater over Tarpon Springs
Armwood over Charlotte (guess I just lost my fishing trip with Silver King)
Dwyer over New Smyrna

St. Augustine over Pensacola
North Marion over Jefferson
Lake Wales over Lehigh
Belen Jesuit over Westwood

Cocoa over Godby (7-6 with a missed extra point - no wait - that was last year)
Glades Central over Robinson

Bolles over Pensacola Catholic
Tampa Catholic over Chaminade Prep

Trinity Christian over Freeport
Fort Meade over American Heritage (Delray)

Warner Christian over Hawthorne
Glades Day over Out-of-Door

Well, that's it for me... our show comes to an end tonight... I (sadly) will not be attending this year's football championships.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Round two - after Turkey day

Last week was affectionately called 'turkey week' ... picks were less than edible.

However, we'll try again to help you make sense of the 2009 state playoffs. Trust me, a 65-31 record is not much to brag about.

Alas, we will try again with this week's picks:

6A - (10-6 last week)
Mainland over Deland
Seminole over Winter Park
Apopka over Dr. Phillips
Treasure Coast over Boca Raton
Miramar over Plantation
Carol City over Dr. Krop
Northwestern over Central
Southridge over South Dade

5A - (11-5 last week)
Fleming Island over Seabreeze
Lakeland over Osceola
Plant over Alonso
Tampa Bay Tech over Countryside
Manatee over St. Petersburg
Bayside over Melbourne
Ely over Boyd Anderson
St. Thomas over South Broward

4A - (Hey - I went 12-4 here!)
Fort Walton Beach over Niceville (upset special)
Columbia over Lincoln
Gainesville over Tarpon Springs
Lake Gibson over Edgewater
Armwood over Largo
Charlotte over Cape Coral
New Smyrna Beach over Palm Bay
Dwyer over Stranahan

3A - (9-7 - so take that with a grain of salt)
Jackson over Pensacola
St. Augustine over Clay
North Marion over Vanguard
Jefferson over Lakewood
Lake Wales over Braden River
South Fort Myers over Lehigh
Merrit Island over Westwood
Washington over Belen Jesuit

2A - (6-2 last week)
Baker County over Godby
Cocoa over Astronaut
Robinson over Hardee
Glades Central over American Heritage (Plantation)

2B - (5-3 last week)
Pensacola Catholic over Florida High
Bolles over Trinity Catholic
Tampa Catholic over Lake Highland Prep
Chaminade Prep over North Broward Prep

1A - (6-2 last week)
Liberty County over Freeport
Trinity Christian over Melbourne Central Catholic
Fort Meade over Dixie County
American Heritage (Delray) over Calvary Christian

1B - (6-2 last week)
Hawthorne over Jefferson Co.
Warner Christian over Florida Air
Evangelical Christian over Out-of-Door
Jupiter Christian over Glades Day

So we pick a few upsets to shake things up. If I'm right, I look like a guru... if I'm wrong - what was I thinking.

Blame it on the turkey!