Run date: 11/19/12
ENGLEWOOD — Lemon Bay High School junior Sean Winterstein remembers what it was like two years ago playing for the Manta Rays boys soccer team.
Wins were hard to come by back then for a team that had talent that was yet to develop.
Now it has, and Winterstein demonstrated it when he delivered the only goal in a 1-0 victory against Charlotte on Monday that pushed the Manta Rays record to 5-0.
“We’ve got to keep working; we’ve got the thick of the season coming up,” a still hungry Winterstein said. “With more practice, hopefully we play a little better, move the ball around.”
The deciding goal came with about six minutes left in the first half as each team was clawing to be the first to put a mark on the scoreboard.
Winterstein gained possession in deep against the Tarpons defense and beat goalkeeper Austin Hartt to the left side.
It came as no surprise that Winterstein was the one who found the back of the net. Whenever the Manta Rays have needed a big goal in the early season, either he or senior teammate Corey Kern have usually been the one to provide it. Winterstein even admitted there was a friendly competition between them, although it doesn’t keep them from setting each other up.
“Our coaches are always telling us to work together, to play off each other,” Winterstein said. “Right now we’re playing well.”
For the record, they’re tied with goals apiece.
As good as the offensive pair has been for Lemon Bay, goalkeeper Joshua Kennedy may be even more impressive in the early going. The dual-sport athlete who just wrapped up the football season has yet to allow a goal so far, and it’s a welcome sign for Luzniak to have him back.
“He’s happy to be playing soccer again, and it’s showing,” head coach Zen Luzniak said.
But how do his skills as a kicker on the gridiron compare?
“As far as kicking field goals, I know he’s got a pretty decent foot, but I don’t know what his record was in football,” Luzniak said. “He’s definitely a better soccer player. I think soccer is his first sport and goalie is where he wants to be.”
Both teams came out of the gate strong, but goalkeeping on both ends was stellar until Winterstein was able to sneak his shot past Hartt.
But Hartt, who was supported by a solid defense, was able to keep his Tarpons in the game until the very end, denying numerous attempts from Kern to score as the last line of defense.
Run date: 11/25 in Charlotte Sun
CAPE CORAL — The Plantation American Heritage High School boys basketball team might want to consider trying out for the track team come spring.
After all, the Patriots proved they could run and jump Saturday night.
American Heritage used its high-tempo offense and tight defense to run away with an 87-49 victory over North Port High School on Day 2 of the Turkey Shootout at Island Coast High School.
Seven Patriots had at least eight points, led by sophomores Keshawn Evans and Josh Borders who had 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“We kind of ran into a buzz saw today,” North Port coach Curt Allen said. “We turned it over early, and once we showed any sign of weakness passing the ball,
the kind of went to a new level.”
Right from the start, American Heritage, a perennial contender for the state title, created fast break opportunities by getting into North Port’s passing lanes. The result was a 24-10 lead after the first.
The second quarter offered more of the same, and Jeremy Mullings capped the period with a half-court buzzer beater to extend the lead to 54-26. “We weren’t handling the ball well enough to play the way we wanted to play,” Allen said about the pace of the game. “… It forced us to make quick plays, and once we got into a track meet, that was one we were going to lose.”
At the start of the third quarter, North Port (3-1) attempted to control the tempo by slowing down the action, allowing the Bobcats to start picking away at the deficit.
After North Port sophomore Malek Barber picked up a pair of quick fouls — his third and fourth — to force him to the bench, American Heritage resumed forcing turnovers and converting them into fast break points.
“I told him after the game that he was a warrior all weekend but he made some silly fouls,” Allen said of Barber. “He’s going to have to learn.”
Freshman forward Brandon Gonzalez provided one bright spot for North Port. He led the team with 11 points, thanks to his ability to get to the line.
Allen said he thinks the team is right where it should be at this point in the season and has the potential to compete in the district, adding the Bobcats are more of a “hunter, not the hunted” this season.
“I like this group; I like where we can go,” Allen said. “There’s just some areas that we’ve got to definitely get better.”
Original run date: Nov. 17 in Charlotte Sun
PUNTA GORDA — The sight of Martin County High School driving down the field to go ahead with little time remaining on the scoreboard was all too familiar for the Charlotte High School football fans.
History repeated itself Friday night as the Tigers scored the go-ahead touchdown when running back Dan Fillhaber punched the ball from a yard out with2:13 left on the clock. For the second year in a row, the host Tarpons found themselves on the losing end because of it, this time in a 35-32 decision that ended their season.
Fillhaber had two touchdowns and 159 yards, but the real star ended up being Jermohn Queen, who torched the Charlotte defense for three scores and 341 yards on 32 carries.
“We didn’t have an answer for it,” Tarpons coach Binky Waldrop said of the consistent seal blocks that opened space for the two running backs. “We put 10 people up there against that, and we still couldn’t stop it. They just out-physicaled us all night.”
Neither Queen nor Tigers coach Chuck Kenyon said they could have even imagined the video game-like numbers Queen put up, especially considering that he usually makes his name on the basketball court as one of the better players in the state. But Kenyon said it just showed Queen’s athleticism.
“We knew that he was going to be our feature … but Queen’s just special,” Kenyon said. “We know that this is fun for him, he’s tough as nails.”
Though Charlotte’s defense didn’t fare well, the same couldn’t be said of the offense, led by Clyde Newton.
The senior running back ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns and caught another 12-yard score in the losing effort. Tarpons quarterback Brennan McGill threw for 257 yards on the night and a pair of touchdowns with a pick on 13-for-22 passing.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Martin County had seized the momentum thanks to Janarie Jones interception and three touchdowns in the third to lead 28-17. But Charlotte fought back at the start of the fourth thanks to an 80-yard drive that featured 30 yards rushing from Newton and a 12-yard touchdown reception.
The Tarpons converted a two-point conversion to bring it to within three but finally took a 32-28 lead when Newton was able to punch it in again from a yard out.
That’s when Fillhaber took over, rushing for 55 yards of an 80-yard drive to give Martin County the lead for good.
Charlotte received the ball with two minutes left and had a shot but a pair of false start penalties backed the Tarpons up enough to stall any chance at pulling out a win.