Florida

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club breaks ground at site of new soccer stadium

The Orlando City Soccer Club and its supporters continue to ride the momentum of minor league championships toward Major League Soccer, right into the heart of one of the poorest neighborhoods in town.

On Thursday thousands of fans gathered in downtown Orlando and marched down Church Street to the site of the new soccer-specific stadium in Parramore for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The club pulled out every bell and whistle to ensure the occasion went off in a larger-than-life manner, and it worked with what appeared to be ease.

Orlando City is slated to open its new stadium in 2016. They’ll open their first season in MLS at the Florida Citrus Bowl in March 2015.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on the groundbreaking for Major League Soccer – )

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BYU Cougars quarterback Christian Stewart begins lofty task of replacing Taysom Hill

Life without Taysom Hill, at least for the rest of this season, officially got underway for the BYU Cougars on Thursday night in Orlando. It didn’t start well for Hill’s replacement, a former walk-on making his first career start, and ended no better for all involved in overtime.

Senior Christian Stewart was granted a scholarship over the summer. On Thursday he took his lumps before showing some promise in the second half despite eventually falling short against UCF 31-24.

Stewart had trouble moving the chains throughout much of the first half, going 10 of 15 passing for 58 yards. He was intercepted in the end zone by Jacoby Glenn early in the second quarter and appeared on pace to duplicate his dismal performance while in relief a week ago when he went 10 of 29 with three interceptions and no touchdowns.

But he came to life in the second half, putting the Cougars (4-2) in front 24-10 with nine minutes left in the third quarter and showing the potential he possesses for the long haul as BYU’s quarterback for the remainder of the season.

But the good times were short-lived.

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Interview with Charlie Bernstein of Football Insiders

On Saturday I spent some time talking to Charlie Bernstein of Football Insiders about a number of topics from around the National Football League. Bernstein shared his thoughts on the state of NFL teams in Florida, gave his opinion on how Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater may fare as they make their first professional starts on Sunday, and provided insight on the current unbeaten teams in the league.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. interview Charlie Bernstein of Football Insiders – )

Carnahan Chronicles College Football Rankings (Week 4)

Not a lot of movement in the Carnahan Chronicles College Football Rankings as just one team from last week fell short in Week 4. Consider this a Top 10 dedicated to momentum each week based off level of upsets and voting by the Associated Press:

#1 (1) Florida State (3-0) – Won 23-17 (OT) vs No. 22 Clemson
#2 (2) Auburn (3-0) – Won 20-14 at No. 20 Kansas State
#3 (3) Texas A&M (4-0) – Won 58-6 at SMU
#4 (4) Oregon (4-0) – Won 38-31 at Washington State
#5 (6) Oklahoma (4-0) – Won 45-33 at West Virginia
#6 (7) Alabama (4-0) – Won 42-21 vs Florida
#7 (–) Mississippi State (4-0) – Won 34-29 at No. 8 LSU
#8 (8) South Carolina (3-1) – Won 48-34 at Vanderbilt
#9 (9) East Carolina (3-1) – Won 70-41 vs North Carolina
#10 (–) Michigan State (2-1) – Won 73-14 vs Eastern Michigan

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Carnahan Coverage: Aftermath of Orlando City Soccer Club Playoff Loss

The Orlando City Soccer Club is now entirely focused on a move to Major League Soccer in 2015 after suffering an upset loss in the opening round of the USL-PRO postseason Saturday.

Despite the impressive run over the past four years for the club, the way it all ended won’t soon be forgotten.

On Tuesday Orlando City released all but three players from the 2014 USL Pro roster. The Lions are currently in negotiations to retain defender Luke Boden, Adama Mbengue and Harrison Heath.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Kevin Molino reacting to loss for Orlando Sentinel – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Adrian Heath reacting to loss for Major League Soccer – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Orlando City’s 2015 roster for Major League Soccer – )

Carnahan Coverage: Orlando City Soccer Club Falls Short in Final USL Pro Postseason Run

On Saturday the Orlando City Soccer Club suffered its first home loss in 20 matches at the worst possible time.

The Lions, the USL Pro regular season champions, lost 1-0 to eighth-seeded Harrisburg City in the first round of the playoffs at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. The setback ended a bid at capturing a third title in four years for the defending champs before moving up to Major League Soccer in 2015.

Defender Tommy Redding, just 17-years of age, played the entire 90 minutes. He compared the loss to how he felt when he and current teammate Tyler Turner played together on the U-17 National Team and became the first group to fail to qualify for the World Cup a year ago.

“It was tough, but because of that process it makes this a little bit easier, but not too much,” Redding said. “I’ve felt this pain, but not as high of a scale. I was brothers with the guys at Bradenton (home of the U-17 residency program) but wasn’t as close as all my teammates here in Orlando, so it’s really tough.”

( – Click here to read J.C.’s story on Tommy Redding and Tyler Turner for Major League Soccer – )

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George O’Leary and UCF Still Having Trouble Filling Out Schedules

UCF football’s announcement last week that they’d agreed to a home-and-home series with Stanford of the Pac-12 drew modest interest from college football fans. UCF coach George O’Leary didn’t appear to be too excited about it either at his weekly press conference earlier this week at Bright House Networks Stadium.

O’Leary was asked Monday if the new agreement, which sends UCF to California in 2015 and Stanford to Florida in 2019, might mean the Knights have plans to expand recruiting coverage to the West coast.

“No. I don’t see us recruiting more on the West,” he said with a tone that matched his disinterest in the topic. “It’s obviously a great opponent, [but] I’d much rather see us get opportunities to play teams that have some relative to recruiting for us. There’s a lot of teams from the Midwest, to the East, to the South that would be great opponents.”

But O’Leary’s never been blind to the fact that mid-major’s such as UCF are in no position to avoid these types of match-ups, even if they do make for a grueling road trip for both players and fan base.

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Carnahan Coverage: North Carolina A&T Dominates in Orlando’s MEAC/SWAC Challenge

James Spady coached under Rod Broadway at Grambling State from 2007-09. On Sunday they were on opposite sidelines as Spady opened the season for the first time as a head coach against his mentor in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in Orlando.

But Spady soon found out that he’s not at Grambling anymore.

Broadway and the MEAC’s North Carolina A&T Aggies proved to be much more equipped for the challenge as they throttled Spady’s Alabama A&M Bulldogs 47-13 in the 10th edition of the game at Bright House Networks Stadium.

Kwashaun Quick and Tarik Cohen led A&T by combining for four touchdowns in the first half. The Aggies defense recorded three sacks and recovered two fumbles in the win.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s recap for Orlando Sentinel of North Carolina A&T’s win – )

( – Click here to read J.C.’s advance for Orlando Sentinel about Spady and Broadway – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Interview with Jason Clary of StadiumJourney.com

On Saturday I was joined by Jason Clary of Stadium Journey to talk about some of the top-rated college and pro football stadiums around the state of Florida and across the country.

Homes to the Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles and UCF Knights make up the top three college football venues on the site, but only one is good enough to be amongst the best in the nation. As for the three pro teams in the state, Florida doesn’t fare so well compared to the rest of the National Football League.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. chat with Jason Clary about StadiumJourney.com – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Random Topics from Around Sports World & Start of 2014 College Football Season

On Saturday I chatted with Chris Vazquez about a number of topics from around the world of sports before touching on the opening of the upcoming college football season this week.

Among the topics to start the show were the high school football Kickoff Classics, Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 of preseason, the ArenaBowl between Cleveland Gladiators and Arizona Rattlers, Greg Carr of the Orlando Predators, and the Orlando City Soccer Club visiting Richmond Kickers in a key matchup.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris touch on a variety of sports on Saturday’s show – )

The college football season is slated to get underway this week with the UCF Knights, Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles in action Saturday. We discussed the new four-team playoff, the chances of FSU going unbeaten, and student-athletes getting caught cheating and whether they should be compensated for the money they help generate for universities.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris discuss the upcoming college football season – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: August 16, 2014 Edition

On Saturday I took to the AM 740 The Game airwaves to talk about a number of topics for the past week alongside producer Chris Vazquez. Check out each segment listed below.

Click here to listen to us talk about the sports movie Robin Williams appeared in and the dirt-track racing accident involving NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.

Click here to listen to us talk about Blake Bortles and pro football teams in Florida along with other NFL preseason topics.

- Click here to listen to us talk about the 2014-15 Orlando Magic schedule and the Team USA Basketball squad.

Click here to listen to us talk about the Orlando City Soccer Club, Major League Baseball and other odds and ends to close out the show.

Carnahan Coverage: Warren Sapp Remembers Apopka Upon Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction

Last year former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Warren Sapp took his place among the greats in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Like most former NFL players in Canton, Ohio the week of their induction, Sapp let his guard down while talking to reporters before his big weekend got underway. Below is the story I wrote for The Apopka Chief, Sapp’s hometown newspaper during his playing days at Apopka High School in Florida.

There was one piece of advice that stuck with Warren Sapp throughout much of his ascent from the dirt roads of Plymouth and the playing fields in Apopka to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“My grandmother said something to me a long time ago that I’ll never forget,” Sapp said at the onset of his enshrinement speech Saturday in Canton, Ohio. “She said, ‘boy, don’t you ever forget where you come from’.”

The late Rosie Lykes would be proud. Not only because her grandson was immortalized over the weekend among an elite group of 280 professional football players, but because he’s maintained a genuine compassion for those that helped him reach these heights along the way.

Sapp, who starred for Apopka High School before becoming a first round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the University of Miami in 1995, spent nearly 12 minutes recognizing family, friends, former coaches and teammates at the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary gathering.

It was a peak behind the rugged exterior of one of the fiercest defensive tackles in the history of the National Football League.

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Carnahan Coverage: U.S. Men’s National Team Finishes Preparation for World Cup in Jacksonville

If you’ve ever wondered what’s become of former Major League Baseball shortstop Rafael Furcal I’ve got some news to pass along to you.

I spent the past weekend in Jacksonville covering the U.S. Men’s National Team for Major League Soccer, where I wrote a number of stories over the course of Friday and Saturday. But I did other things while I was there as well, such as attending a Jacksonville Suns baseball game before walking across the street to EverBank Field for the soccer match.

Below are the links to all eight soccer stories about the USMNT from the weekend. The first story created quite a bit of buzz among soccer fans and media members alike, which makes interest in a Furcal comeback pale mightily in comparison. But while I was at the park…

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Carnahan Coverage: Wekiva Hosts Mount Dora in Spring Football

I made my debut behind a video camera Tuesday night for the Orlando Sentinel during a meaningless spring football game at Wekiva High School in Apopka, Florida. As I attempted to keep up with each run play or pass attempt, Wekiva managed to hold off Mount Dora for a 10-7 win.

The standout of the evening was Wekiva running back Jarvis Scott, who broke a couple big runs including a slo-mo worthy effort that went for a huge gain.

( – Click here to view my video highlights of the Wekiva-Mount Dora game – )

State of Florida Produces 9 Former Prep Players In NFL Draft

That brief moment of excitement I feel each year when preparing to watch the NFL Draft doesn’t linger for too long. I’m usually ready to channel surf or dip in and out of the room by the eighth pick. But this year I realized it’s all in the way you approach it.

I spent much of the draft last night in a recliner with a laptop, smartphone and remote control nearby. First thing I realized was that ESPN has been ruining this event for me for years. It wasn’t until I committed to the NFL Network’s broadcast that I no longer had the urge to throw my television through a wall due to the rabid jaw-flapping.

Then I got caught up in the information overload world of Twitter and Facebook, reading and responding to online posts about fan’s draft triumphs and despair, with plenty of doses of humor thrown in at each other’s expense.

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