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East County Athlete of the Week: Matt Manning

The Braden River senior talks football memories and pizza toppings.

Matt Manning.
Matt Manning.
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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. 



Ryan Kohn

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

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