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Lakewood Ranch High School coach Shawn Trent and ODA coach Brett Timmons led the Manatee and Sarasota teams in this year's PAL Bowl.
East County Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 8 years ago

HEAD TO HEAD

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by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — They run completely different offensive and defensive schemes.

Their players compete on entirely different levels. And their teams will never meet on the gridiron during the regular season.

But even with all of their differences, there is still one opinion Out-of-Door Academy football coach Brett Timmons and Lakewood Ranch coach Shawn Trent share: The PAL Bowl is all about giving the players one last opportunity to show off their talents to college scouts and the community.

“These guys are football players,” Timmons said. “They (want) the opportunity to compete and showcase their talents. They live for Friday Night Lights.

“It’s a great deal that the Sarasota PAL and Manatee PAL give these kids an opportunity to have one last shot at high school football,” he said. “Some of these young (guys) will be blessed to play in college, but for most of them this is the last time they’ll put on a helmet and shoulder pads.”

Trent agreed.

“The kids that are out here want to be out here,” he said. “(As a coach) I want to try to showcase the kids’ talents, so they (might) end up getting a chance to play in college.”

Timmons and Trent did just that during the 19th Annual Brad Price Memorial PAL Bowl Jan. 14 at Lakewood. The annual high school all-star games pits the top senior players in Manatee and Sarasota counties against one another one final time.

“I watched the PAL Bowl when I was younger and always wanted to play in the game,” Braden River senior kicker Kadin Kerns said. “I was very excited when I was picked to play. Each week during the season, we played against some of these great players. I never thought I would be on the same team though. It was a great experience.”

Timmons served as the head coach for Sarasota County for the first time, while Trent was named Manatee County’s head coach for the second time.

“It’s been a great experience to work with the best Sarasota has to offer; and to be able to work with kids that you don’t normally get to work with and to see what others in the county get to play and deal with,” Timmons said.

“It’s fun to get to know other kids,” Trent said. “There’s a reason why they are here.”

Both Timmons and Trent began practicing with their respective all-stars earlier this month. The two teams ran offensive and defensive schemes similar to those run by their coach’s teams; but with only a handful of practices, the two East County coaches admit there is only so much you can do.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible,” Trent said. “We only practiced four or five times, and the last thing you want is for a kid to look bad because he made a mental mistake.

“We don’t want the kids to look bad,” he said. “This is an opportunity for them to show off their talents.”

Timmons agreed.

“The biggest challenge is taking the terminology and verbiage, and making it one common language because there are so many different systems,” he said. “We just want to melt it all together, taking the good from each program and putting a final product on the field.”

This year, the PAL Bowl turned into a defensive and special teams battle. In the end, the Manatee County All-Stars walked away with a 10-9 victory.

Trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, Kerns kicked a 30-yard field goal to even the score. Manatee tacked on four more points on a pair of safeties. Venice’s Josh Boyle scored the game’s lone touchdown — a 14-yard reception from Booker’s Jermaine Leverette — giving Sarasota a 9-5 lead. But in the third quarter, Bradenton Christian’s Austin Dumas drilled a 49-yard field goal to push Manatee ahead.

“It was amazing playing with these guys,” Lakewood senior Anthony Asay said. “Everyone out there had a bunch of talent, and they’re all great football players. They all had great high school careers and deserved to be in this game.

“To be able to play in the PAL Bowl is one of the greatest honors of my football career,” he said. “I enjoyed being able to play on the same team as many of my rivals. It’s something I’ll always remember.”

Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].

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