By PATRICK CASEY
Marianna, like most other schools that play high school football in the state of Florida, opened practice last week. The Bulldogs, who finished as the runner-up in Walton’s district last season, are working to replace all five offensive linemen from last season, as well as finding a new starting quarterback. Junior Fidel Montgomery enters the season as the likely starter with senior Dustin Larkin likely to get playing time as well. Marianna coach Rob Armstrong enters his second season as the team’s leader and spent time as the head coach at both Freeport and Walton earlier in his career. Marianna thumped Walton 34-7 last year to grab the runner-up spot behind Pensacola Catholic. The win earned Marianna a 41-6 thrashing at the hands of Madison County in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs last season. Madison County has thumped Marianna three times in the last five years in the playoffs, though Marianna did escape with a 28-21 overtime win in 2000 in a third round state playoff game in Class 2A. That year Marianna lost to Gulliver Prep in the Class 2A state championship game. The quarterback for Marianna in 2000 was Jeff Mathis, who is currently playing catcher for the Los Angeles Angels baseball club.
Quincy Munroe’s football team has dropped out of District 1, Class 1B to become an independent for the next two seasons. The school was barely able to complete its schedule of games last season as only 13 players comprised the roster of the team at points during the season and only 11 players were available for practice some days. The Bobcats went 2-7 last season and are trying to rebuild under coach Adam Reep, but have only 20 players as of the start of fall practice. East Gadsden, which was formed earlier this decade by combining Quincy Shanks and Havana, is trying to recover from a 1-8 season last year and a 6-13 mark under current coach Scott Anderson.
Former Chipley High School girls basketball player Shanida Thomas signed with Enterprise-Ozark Community College recently. Thomas lead her 2007-08 team as MVP.
Florida State’s Chief Osceola and horse Renegade will travel to Jacksonville for traditional pre-game ceremonies when the Seminoles face Colorado on September 27. Their last regular-season appearance away from Tallahassee was in 1994 when FSU met Notre Dame in Orlando.
Cortland Finnegan has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Tennessee Titans as part of a new four-year contract for the cornerback. The Milton High School graduate has made his mark with the Titans after replacing Adam “Pacman” Jones in the defensive backfield after Jones was suspended by the NFL because of legal problems off the field. The former seventh-round pick out of Samford University finished 2007 with 95 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one interception. He has 134 tackles in his two-year career.
The Pittsburgh Steelers added depth to their defensive line as they signed veteran defensive end Orpheus Roye. Roye (6-4, 330) was originally drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round (200th overall) in the 1996 NFL Draft out of Florida State. He spent his first four seasons with Pittsburgh before signing with the Cleveland Browns in 2000. Roye played for the Browns through the 2007 season before being released earlier this year. Roye has posted 360 career tackles, including 18.5 sacks.
CBS Sports has reached a 15-year contract extension with the Southeastern Conference to broadcast its football and basketball games. In the new agreement, beginning with the 2009-10 season, CBS Sports continues to be the exclusive national network broadcaster of SEC home football games, including the SEC Championship Game. CBS Sports will showcase the top conference match-ups each week of the package with the “SEC Game of the Week.” The agreement also includes a prime time game and doubleheader opportunities. In addition, CBS Sports continues its coverage of SEC regular-season basketball. In addition to the broadcast rights on CBS Sports, this comprehensive long-team deal includes certain digital, internet, wireless, video-on-demand, data and enhanced highlight rights across all CBS platforms, including CBS College Sports Network and CBSSports.com. Also, simulcasts of CBS Sports games will be available for distribution by the CBS College Sports Network.
Contact Patrick Casey at The DeFuniak Herald with your local sports notes at: firstname.lastname@example.org.