There was a milestone victory celebrated, the end of a coaching era honored, football awards and a debut event.
This week in high school sports saw plenty of highlights.
No. 100 for BCS coach
Starting at Bradenton Christian, boys basketball head coach Scott Townsend picked up his 100th career victory last week. On Monday, BCS honored Townsend for the achievement prior to the Panthers beating Sarasota 72-64 behind A.J. Schewe’s 32 points.
Townsend followed the success Dave Magley engineered at BCS. After Magley departed to become commissioner of a Canadian professional basketball league, Townsend kept the BCS basketball brand going strong.
The Panthers reached the Class 2A state championship in 2016, when they finished as the runner-up to Boca Raton Grandview Prep.
Cross country road ends
Lakewood Ranch boys cross country coach Bryan Thomas is retiring after 31 years. The Mustangs held their fall banquet for cross country this week to honor Thomas, who guided the boys team to a Class 4A state runner-up finish in 2016.
This past season, the Mustangs reached the region championship after a third-place finish in the district meet and one runner, Jonathan Reid, took 10th at the state meet.
Football award odds and ends
The high school football season is in the rearview mirror, but it’s just picking up for postseason awards.
Palmetto native and Inverness Citrus head coach Nate Varnadore got the ball rolling on Sunday when he was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers High School Coach of the Year.
That award – he beat out Palmetto head coach Dave Marino and Bayshore head coach John Biezuns, among others – was announced during halftime of the Bucs’ 24-21 loss to Detroit at Raymond James Stadium.
The perks for getting named coach of the year, which was done through a fan vote: Varnadore was given a check for $1,500 for Citrus’ football program and tickets to Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.
Meanwhile, individual class winners for the Florida Dairy Farmers player and coach of the year were announced this week. While Saint Stephen’s coach Tod Creneti was humble in capturing the independent school coach of the year honors, it was a shock not to find his quarterback, Fred Billy, as the independent player of the year.
Billy finished runner-up to Satellite’s Noah Mumme by a 60-point margin in the voting. Billy followed his monster junior season with a stellar senior campaign. He tallied 26 total touchdowns, surpassing 100 career touchdowns, and polished off the Falcons’ second straight Sunshine State Athletic Conference championship. Billy’s performance in that SSAC title game came in front of NFL legend Ray Lewis, who was impressed with Billy’s passion.
No other Manatee County player or coach won an individual class award. Creneti was also named a finalist for Florida’s overall coach of the year, which should get announced next week.
Palmetto High held its football banquet Tuesday and named offensive lineman Eriq Porter the offensive most valuable player. Linebackers Alonzo Houston and Andrew Duncan were named defensive co-MVPs.
New event generates buzz and hurdles
The new Florida High School Athletic Association wrestling dual championships kicked off locally for the first time with the Class 3A-District 8 meet this week. The south sub-district was held at Manatee High on Wednesday and the Hurricane faithful cheered like crazy with cheerleaders and music giving the atmosphere a distinct postseason feel.
There were stumbling blocks, though, with Sarasota High pulling out late and Sarasota Riverview only fielding a team of five. The north sub-district didn’t have any competition, with Palm Harbor University declared the de facto champ after the remaining Pinellas County schools didn’t bother participating.
Manatee fell Thursday to PHU, 64-9, with the only victories coming from two of Manatee’s best: Josh Booker and Brandon Dossey. The former earned a pin and kept the new pin stick, a wooden block modeled after the University of Miami’s turnover chain and given to the wrestler that secured the last pin in a match.
Booker got it Wednesday with a pin to close out North Port, while retaining it with his pin Thursday. Now the Canes must go on the road for a region dual bout on Jan. 11 against a to-be-determined opponent.
High school score reports
To submit score reports, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. A local roundup will be posted to Bradenton.com/sports each night between 11 p.m. and midnight. Include final score, where the game was played, standout performers and their key stats, team records and information for your next game.