Flag football season moves to playoffs
|White defensive-back Max Moneuse breaks up a pass intended for Josh Schmidt during junior division flag football action. Islander Photos: Kevin Cassidy
The Anna Maria Island Community Center's inaugural foray into flag football has been deemed a "huge success" by the organizers, with more than 60 players in three divisions playing football.
Feb. 23-24 started off the league's "Superbowl" tournament, where each team in each division plays one another, with the resulting top two teams set to meet in the Flag Football Superbowl on March 3.
On Feb. 24, Yellow blasted White 30-13 in junior division play behind a huge day from quarterback/defensive back Christian Hightower. Hightower opened the scoring with an interception that he took to the house from 40 yards out to give Yellow an early 6-0 lead.
After stopping White defensively, Yellow got the ball back and struck again. This time Hightower found Josh Schmidt behind the White defense for a 25-yard touchdown pass and a 12-0 lead.
Yellow got another defensive stop, but White answered with one of its own when Blaine Jenefsky intercepted Hightower to give the ball back to White. White then drove down the field and scored when quarterback Max Moneuse found Lexi Moore for a seven-yard touchdown pass. Moneuse then connected with Jenefsky on the extra point pass to pull to 12-7.
Yellow answered right back with a drive that ended when Hightower again found Schmidt and he made 28-yard catch and run for an 18-7 lead.
Yellow put the game away when Hightower opened the second half with an electrifying 70-yard TD run that gave Yellow a 24-7 lead.
White fought hard in an attempt to get back in the game, but things looked dark after Schmidt intercepted a pass and returned it to the White 20-yard line. The White defense held and got the ball back. Unsuccessful plays on first, second and third downs did nothing to the White team's confidence as Chris Galati took the ball on a sweep on fourth down and scored on a scintillating 70-yard run to pull the White to 24-13 with time winding down.
Unfortunately for White, a 40-yard run by Hightower that would have been a touchdown - if not for the great flag grab by Moneuse - was followed by a 25-yard TD pass from Hightower to Hunter Parrish. Hightower then drove the nail into the White coffin when he connected with Mikey Ellsworth for the extra point to close the game out with Yellow on top by a 30-13 score.
Basketball dishes up season awards
The Anna Maria Island Community Center held its awards party on Feb. 23 and handed out trophies in four categories: sportsmanship, most valuable female and male players and defensive MVP.
Zach Schield won the sportsmanship award in the Premier Division. Premier defensive MVP was Jordan Pritchard, while David Tyson and Nash Thompson won the male and female MVP awards respectively.
Molly McDonough captured the Division I sportsmanship award, while Tommy Price grabbed the defensive MVP award. Blake Wilson won the male MVP award, while Kelly Guerin and Emma Barlow shared female MVP honors.
Division II sportsmanship winner was Zach Guerin with Travis Belsito taking the defensive MVP award. Justin Garrett captured the male MVP, while Becca Butler and Stephanie Purnell shared female MVP honors.
Joselin Presswood earned the sportsmanship award in Division III, while Josh Zawistoski snagged the defensive MVP award. Male MVP was Neil Carper with Anna Maria Galati earning the female MVP award.
Last, but not least, Cailey Aspril was named as the most valuable cheerleader.
Playoff champions will be crowned on Feb. 28 in Division III, while March 1 looms large for Premier teams and Division I. Division II's championship game isn't until March 6.
Good luck to all of the remaining teams.
Islanders Stephen Thomas, who plays for the U15 IMG soccer team and Christina Papazian, Erin Mulrine, Ally Titsworth and Martine Miller of the U14 Manatee Magic girl's soccer team all had good showings in recent tournaments.
Thomas and his IMG mates captured the Disney Classic Tournament held Feb. 17-19 at the Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. The Disney Classic fielded soccer teams from all over the United States. IMG defeated West Pasco United 5-2 in its opening game and followed that with a 1-0 win over IUS Elite. They dropped a 1-0 decision in their third pool-play game but advanced to the semifinals. There they captured a 3-2 win over E United of Connecticut before winning the tournament with a 2-1 overtime victory over FSA Lightning.
The U14 Magic girls finished in second place at the Gator Classic soccer tournament Feb. 17-19 in Gainesville. They lost to Sunrise, the second ranked team in Florida by a 2-0 score.
The Magic girls advanced to the finals by defeating a team from Georgia 1-0. They defeated Jacksonville 3-0, Palm Beach 2-0 and tied Naples 1-1 in other games that weekend.
Papazian was solid in net over the weekend as were her defenders, Jordan Ponto, Nicole Dixon, Shelby Rae and Mary Isminger. Miller, Erin Mulrine, Madison Bradley and Ashley Nelson notched goals for the Magic, which also received strong performances from midfielders Titsworth, Katherine Byrne and Corey Nolan.
Both teams now turn their focus to Florida State Cup and Region C Cup finals.
Key Royale golf news
There was another full week of golf action at the Key Royale Club in Holmes Beach starting Feb. 19 when the men teed it up for a nine-hole individual-low-net competition.
Matt Behan lapped the field, firing a 4-under-par 28 to capture a three-shot victory over Tom Warda and Dough Maynard, who each shot 31 to tie for second. Gino DiClementi, Jim Yates, Fred Meyer and Bob Dickinson each managed an even-par 32 to tie for third place.
Jean Holmes and Cindy Miller both fired 1-over-par 33s to tie for first in flight AA during ladies' golf action on Feb. 20 at the club. Penny Williams was a shot back in third place with a 34.
Grace Sayles and Mary Selby both shot one-under 31 to tie for first place in flight A, which had Meredith Slavin alone in third place with a 33.
Flight B winner was Sue Christianson, who fired an even-par 32 to finish one shot ahead of Barb Mason and two shots in front of Frankie Smith-Williams.
The ladies also had a side game called "best two-ball tournament" that was won by the team of Cindy Miller, Cindi Mansour, Mary Selby and Penny Williams. Sara Falk, Kathy Geeraerts, Grace Sayles and Nancy King finished in second place.
Tootie Wagner chipped in to birdie hole one, and Joyce Reith had a birdie on hole six. Dolores Jorgensen had two chip-ins on the day while Norma Shearer, Terry Westby, Penny Williams and Barb Harrold each managed one chip-in.
The men were back to hack their way twice around the Key Royale track in a low-net-of-partner's game. The team of Earl Ritchie and Bill Melvin managed a combined one-under 127 to capture the day's bragging rights, one shot ahead of two teams. John Atkinson and Dick Grimme along with Tom Lewis and Dick Ware who both managed an even-par score to tie for second place.
The week that was in Key Royale ended on Feb. 23 with a weekly nine-hole coed tournament. The team of Teddy Morgan, Al Morgan, Jeanette Cashman and Gordon McKinna fired a 6-under-par 26 to win the best ball of foursome tournament. There was a two-way tie for second place with the team of Jane Winegarden, Joyce Brown, John Shey and Jim Finn matching the team of Dottie McKinna, Mary Selby, Jerry Brown and Fred Proxy with identical 27s.
More golf news
Tony Webb, a 10-year resident of Holmes Beach, won gold on Feb. 21 in the Gulf Coast Senior Games at Buffalo Creek Golf Course. Webb shot a 4-over-par 76 to take first place and the gold medal in the 65-69 age division. Webb's 76 was the second lowest score of the division. Only Ed Schied, who is the reigning Manatee County and National Senior Games champion managed to shoot a better score with a 75.
On Feb. 20, Webb warmed up for the golf tournament by competing in basketball free-throw shooting, hitting 23 of 30 shots to win the silver medal in that competition. On Feb. 23, Webb entered the tennis doubles competition and captured another medal, the bronze.
Ron Pepka teamed up with Rod Bussey to capture the Feb. 21 horseshoe competition at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. They emerged from a six-team playoff and defeated the team of Gene Bobeldyk and Hank Huyghe 23-12 in the finals.
Fourteen teams were whittled down to three after Feb. 17 pool-play action. Tom Skoloda and Fred Huyghe battled it out with the team of Al Norman and George McKay in the first playoff match, but fell 22-19 in an exciting game that saw several lead changes. Norman and McKay then battled their way past the team of John Johnson and Leo Hutton by a 22-18 score.
Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.