SPORTS

Bernard Morris morphing into Arena Football League Ironman

ORLANDO, Fla. – Bernard Morris is evolving into a throwback for the Arena Football League’s Orlando Predators.

In a league that once placed value on “Ironman” football – players who excelled offensively and defensively – the Jones High School product is willing to line up anywhere on the field.

The starting quarterback in Orlando last season, Morris won’t be behind center Saturday when the Predators (3-2) host the Cleveland Gladiators (3-2) at Amway Center at 7 p.m.

The Preds lost 56-46 at Cleveland in the American Conference title game in August, the outcome ultimately decided when Morris fumbled for the second time as Orlando trailed by nine points with nearly a minute left. It was his third-straight conference final loss after spending the previous two seasons with the Jacksonville Sharks.

(Click here to read revised story on Bernard Morris at Orlando Sentinel)

Morris will contribute in different ways in the rematch as former Tampa Bay Storm quarterback Randy Hippeard gets the starting nod again for the sixth time this season.

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Kenosha, Wis. is most interesting story in 1st round of NFL Draft

Something unique took place in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday that hasn’t happened since 1997.

When Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes was selected No. 11 overall by the Minnesota Vikings and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon was taken No. 15 by the San Diego Chargers, it marked just the fifth time since 1990 that high school teammates were drafted together in the opening round.

Waynes and Gordon starred on opposite sides of the ball at Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wis., home of Heisman Trophy winner Alan Ameche of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and former NBA All Star Nick Van Exel.

(Click here for a video feature on Waynes and Gordon via Big Ten Network)

The Big Ten rivals are the first set of high school teammates to earn such a distinction since Texas cornerback Bryant Westbrook was drafted No. 5 overall by the Detroit Lions and Nebraska cornerback Michael Booker went No. 11 overall to the Atlanta Falcons. Westbrook and Booker played together at El Camino High School in Oceanside, Calif.

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Apopka knocks off nation’s No. 1 high school baseball team

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – The No. 1 high school baseball team in the nation fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Friday as Orlando Olympia was crushed 8-4 by Apopka in the Class 8A, District 3 title game.

The loss means the Titans (25-1-1) go on the road in the opening round of the region playoffs. Apopka, which lost two games to Olympia each by 2-0 margins, starts the postseason at home with a potential rematch looming in the second round.

Olympia went 29-0 in 2012 before losing in the region championship game.

On Friday Apopka right-hander Nick Barber pieced together an impressive game on the mound until Olympia began rallying in the final inning while down 8-1. A double by Kirk Sidwell, single by Drenis Ozuna and 2-RBI triple by Juan Hillman was not enough though as Barber finished with eight strikeouts against six hits.

(Read more about Apopka’s 8-4 win over Olympia at Orlando Sentinel)

Barber yielded three singles in the fourth inning after working three up and three down over the first three innings. He also finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and RBI.

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National No. 1 Olympia High School turns in unbeaten regular season

ORLANDO, Fla. – A come-from-behind win on the final day of the regular season kept Orlando’s Olympia High School atop the MaxPreps national high school baseball rankings this week.

The No. 1 Titans became just the second team in Central Florida history to make it through the regular season without a blemish on its record. But it’s an elusive trip to the state final four that would be most satisfying as playoff qualifiers get underway this week.

The Titans face Ocoee on Wednesday in their Class 8A, District 3 opener, just four days after local rival Dr. Phillips had their backs against the wall late in the season finale.

Olympia scored seven runs in the final three innings to win 9-5 (in eight innings) and improve to 100-12-1 since 2012, which happens to be the last time Olympia went unbeaten before losing in the region title game to finish 29-1.

(Read more about Olympia’s win over Dr. Phillips at Orlando Sentinel)

“They just believe they’re going to win,” Olympia coach Chuck Schall said. “Even at the end there when we’re down, there’s not a guy on that bench that doesn’t think we’re going to come back.”

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Let’s be honest, Lawrence Phillips never stood a chance

Lawrence Phillips with the St. Louis Rams and University of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Lawrence Phillips with the St. Louis Rams and University of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Take a quick glance back at the life of Lawrence Phillips and it’s not hard to imagine how he ended up residing in a California prison.

If it was uncontrollable rage that drove Phillips to succeed on the football field, it was fueled by an unsettling mixture of abuse, neglect and a lack of trust in others during his formative years.

When news broke this week accusing the former University of Nebraska, National Football League, NFL Europe, and Canadian Football League running back of murdering a cellmate, you’d have been hard-pressed to find anyone surprised at such allegations.

His rap sheet speaks for itself.

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Adrian Gonzalez off to monster MLB start with Los Angeles Dodgers

There’s one player that stands head and shoulders above the rest less than a week into the Major League Baseball season. On Wednesday, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez blasted three home runs in his first three at-bats to help the host Los Angeles Dodgers take two of three from the San Diego Padres.

Perhaps even more impressive is that Gonzalez has opened the season batting 10-for-13 with 5 homers, 7 RBI, 7 runs scored and 27 total bases. In just three games.

Gonzalez finished 4-for-4 Wednesday after going 3-for-4 on Tuesday and 3-for-5 on Monday.

Six different players have recorded six hits so far this week while five others have each connected on two home runs.

It’s to be noted that announcer Vin Scully mentions in the video above that the last player to start a Dodgers season with homers in his first three games was Jimmy Wynn, who played in L.A. from 1974-75.

Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders talks Alonzo Mourning and health of Chris Bosh & Larry Nance Jr.

Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders joined me Saturday to talk about recent stories he’s written about Alonzo Mourning’s thoughts on the game today, Chris Bosh recovering from blood clots, and Larry Nance Jr. hoping to play in NBA despite battling Crohn’s disease.

Kennedy got Mourning’s take on the state of the big man in the National Basketball Association and talked about how his own issues with blood clots and Crohn’s disease played a part in stories he wrote on both Bosh and Nance Jr.

( – Click here to listen to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders on Carnahan Chronicles – )

Adam Markowitz of ArenaFan talks Orlando Predators & bright future of Arena Football League

Adam Markowitz of ArenaFan joined me Saturday to talk about the resurgence of the Orlando Predators and Arena Football League, which recently opened its 28th season of operation with teams in 12 different cities.

Markowitz talked about the AFL record the Preds set on Friday on the road at Jacksonville and how former starting quarterback Bernard Morris played a key part. He also talked about how owner David Siegel has helped to revive the franchise in Orlando and how the AFL has plans in place to help the league continue to grow in the coming years.

( – Click here to listen to Adam Markowitz of ArenaFan on Carnahan Chronicles – )

Devon Jeffreys of Football Insiders talks Cowboys, Bills, Eagles, Buccaneers & Jaguars offseason

Devon Jeffreys of Football Insiders joined me Saturday to talk about recent stories he’s written about Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain, Rex Ryan taking over the Buffalo Bills, and Chip Kelly’s offseason gambles with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jeffreys also talked about what’s stood out to him as of late in regard to how close National Football League teams from the state of Florida are to making a return to the postseason.

( – Click here to listen to Devon Jeffreys of Football Insiders on Carnahan Chronicles – )

Orlando Sentinel prep editor talks rise of Montverde Academy basketball & No. 1 Olympia baseball

Buddy Collings of the Orlando Sentinel joined me Saturday to talk about the emergence of Montverde Academy as a national high school basketball powerhouse and the odds of Orlando’s Olympia High School, the No. 1 baseball team in the nation, at winning the state title this year.

Montverde Academy, led by LSU commit Ben Simmons, won its third national title in a row on Saturday. Collings also talked about how Simmons, named national player of the year by numerous organizations, lost out on the Mr. Basketball award in Florida to fellow LSU commit Antonio Blakeney of Orlando’s Oak Ridge High School.

( – Click here to listen to Buddy Collings of Orlando Sentinel on Carnahan Chronicles – )

UCF Sports publisher talks Breshad Perriman, UCF football, baseball & UCF Athletics Hall of Fame

Brandon Helwig of UCF Sports joined me Saturday to talk about the rising draft stock of former UCF wide receiver Breshad Perriman, the holes UCF is looking to fill this spring in the secondary and at wide receiver, and the current state of the No. 6 UCF baseball program.

Helwig rounded up the segment by talking about the upcoming UCF Athletics Hall of Fame induction of former football player Asante Samuel, football and baseball player Dee Brown, softball player Stephanie Best and the 1978 UCF volleyball team.

( – Click here to listen to Brandon Helwig of UCF Sports on Carnahan Chronicles – )

Top high school baseball team in nation remains unbeaten

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – When you’re the No. 1 high school baseball team in the nation, in both the USA Today and MaxPreps rankings, each game feels like so much is on the line.

Olympia baseball

Olympia won the Florida League High School Invitational on Saturday to improve to 17-0-1.

Orlando’s Olympia High School improved to 17-0-1 on the season Saturday while defending its Florida League High School Invitational title with a 2-0 win over Pembroke Pines Charter at Lake Brantley High School.

The national attention will continue to follow the Titans as they near postseason play.

“We try not to focus on that,” Olympia coach Chuck Schall said. “The rankings and all that, it’s always there, but we try not to let those expectations dictate how we play.

“Every time we win these close ballgames it just makes us tougher.”

Olympia is winning close games thanks to a stable of quality pitchers and equally impressive efforts defensively.

(Read more about Olympia’s recent win at Orlando Sentinel and 740 The Game)

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Sam Gardner of FOX Sports talks 1985 Villanova championship team

Three of the four NCAA Tournament games played in Jacksonville in the Round of 64 were decided by three points or less, highlighted by a memorable upset of No. 3 Baylor by No. 14 Georgia State.

Arkansas, North Carolina and Xavier also advanced and Sam Gardner of FOX Sports was there to see it all play out.

Gardner joined the show Saturday to talk about the start of the tourney. He also shared details about recent interviews he conducted with players and coaches from the 1985 Villanova men’s basketball championship team for an anniversary story that was published earlier this week.

Read about the improbable journey for that Villanova squad at FOXSports.com and keep up with Gardner on Twitter for more out of Jacksonville.

Duke legend Christian Laettner featured in new ESPN 30 for 30 film

Like most people with any amount of good taste in the early 1990s I grew up rooting against Christian Laettner and those Duke Blue Devil basketball teams. Yet for some reason my interest was peaked when anticipating the new 30 for 30 installment I Hate Christian Laettner.

Maybe it was the 90210 sideburns and haircut he sported that turned me off. Or maybe it was all that winning that Duke did. Whatever it was, the road down memory lane Sunday was a reminder of all the animosity we once shared for a player and program that appeared in four-straight Final Fours and won two national titles.

It’s not one of the better 30 for 30’s, considering the subject matter and that it’s narrated by Rob Lowe, but it’s a worthy look at what made one of the greatest college basketball players so polarizing among fans.

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Interview with North Florida basketball’s Romelo Banks

The University of North Florida basketball team is likely to be one of the only programs in the state taking part in the NCAA Tournament when the games tip off this week.

Among the players that helped the Ospreys earn an automatic bid by way of claiming the Atlantic Sun title is 6-foot-11 sophomore Romelo Banks, who played at both Liberty and Celebration high schools while growing up in Kissimmee, Florida.

Banks joined me on the show Saturday to talk about advancing to the NCAA Tournament, the passing of his mother at a young age to cancer and how he’s used her memory as inspiration throughout his academic and athletic career.

North Florida joined the Division I ranks just a decade ago and will play in the NCAA postseason for the first time under head coach Matthew Driscoll.