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East County Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 1 year ago

East County Athlete of the Week: Matt Manning

The Braden River senior talks football memories and pizza toppings.
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Editor

Matt Manning, a senior linebacker on the Braden River High football team, had nine tackles Nov. 13 in the team's 49-9 road playoff win against South Fork High. Manning is also a key member of the Pirates' special teams unit. 

When did you start playing football?

I started playing football when I was 6. I played flag football at first. A few of my friends played and I joined so I could play with them. It took a little bit of time to get good, just practicing the fundamentals. 

What is the appeal to you?

I just love being on that field with my teammates, my friends. It is a great feeling. There's nothing comparable to it. 

Do you play other sports?

I played baseball and soccer when I was younger, but I stopped when I got to high school so I could focus on football. 

What is your best skill?

I think my best skill is my speed and quickness. I worked on getting faster during the offseason and it is paying off. I think that helped me make more plays. 

What is your favorite memory?

Beating Palmetto High earlier this year was a great moment. That school is one of our rivals and to come back and beat them was a lot of fun. (Braden River trailed 20-7 before winning 34-20.) 

What has been your biggest challenge?

Playing at my size has been a challenge. (Manning is 5-foot-7.) There are a lot of players who are much taller than me. Having to go against them is tough. 

What is your favorite food?

I love pizza. Usually I get pepperoni. Sometimes if I'm feeling wild I'll get pineapple too. 

What is your favorite show?

I like to watch "All-American" on Netflix, it's a football show. 

Which superpower would you pick?

I think I would like [the power of] flying. It would make travel a lot easier. 

What is the best advice you have received?

It's simple, but the best advice is to never give up. I have always believed that if you work hard, good things will come your way. 

Finish this sentence: "Matt Manning is …"

… Not a quitter. 

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I’m the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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