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News-Gazette Photo/Marc Clery Osceola’s Nasir Alexander elevates for a shot against Celebration during a game earlier this season. The Kowboys play Riviera Beach Suncoast today at 8:30 p.m. in the opening round of the Great Florida Shootout.

Kowboys, Eagles seek crown

Posted on December 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Eight-team tournament gets underway with four games By Rick Pedone Sports Editor The 33rd edition of the Great Florida Shootout basketball tournament begins today at Osceola High. The host Kowboys and Osceola County’s second representative, Poinciana, are among te favorites to win the championship of the eight-team tourney. Poinciana (12-2) meets Apopka at 7:30 p.m., and the Kowboys (8-0) play Riviera Beach Suncoast at 8:30 p.m. The tournament begins at

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  • Florida gets another star from Horns softball team

    Posted on December 19, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    News-Gazette Photo/Rick Pedone 
Harmony’s Lily Mann, seated second from left, celebrated her softball scholarship to the University of Florida with her family and Horns Coach Jeff Fiorelli (standing) recently at the high school’s theater.

    By Rick Pedone Sports Editor Lily Mann was born to be a Gator. Both parents, dad Kevin and mom Debbie, were UF graduates and Lily was raised Orange and Blue. Rooting for the Gators is one thing; playing for them is quite another. Very few high school athletes receive scholarship offers from the Southeastern Conference softball powerhouse and the 2014 national champion. But Mann, an integral part of Harmony High’s

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  • Harmony appeals football district

    Posted on December 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    By Rick Pedone Sports Editor The Florida High School Athletic Association released its much-anticipated football classifications for the 2015-18 seasons Monday and Osceola County’s seven football programs are making rapid adjustments to the new districts. At least one county program, Harmony, isn’t happy with its new district at all, while the others accepted their new assignments. Harmony will appeal to move out of its new district, 6A-10, Athletic Director Chuck

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Sports Columns

Playoff field should be 16 teams

Posted on December 19, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Rick Pedone Sports Editor If you are determined to find college football entertainment on your TV today, your choices vary from the near absurd (Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette at the New Orleans Bowl, anyone?) to the eminently ignorable (UTEP-Utah State, the New Mexico Bowl). Yes, the holiday bowl season, all 147 games (just a slight exaggeration), is upon us. For the next two weeks we will observe/endure an amazing number of

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  • Coaches say no thanks to bowl format

    Posted on December 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Rick Pedone Sports Editor The Florida High School Athletic Association is optimistic about its inaugural Burger King State Champions Bowl Series Dec. 27 at Florida Atlantic University. The Bowl Series pits three Florida prep football champions against champions from other states. Outside of the FHSAA and the Home of the Whopper, though, there doesn’t seem to be a tidal wave of enthusiasm for the event, including Class 7A state championship

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  • It’s like Oscar time for bowl committee

    Posted on December 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Rick Pedone Sports Editor There was a time when the end of the college football regular season would climax with larger-than-life showdowns between Oklahoma-Nebraska, Ohio State-Michigan, Texas-Arkansas and USC-UCLA. The winners of those games went to the major bowls, and then the fun began. Who was No. 1? Sometimes it was obvious, but often the best teams couldn’t play one another because of bowl allegiances. The SEC champ always went

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This big one got away… honest

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 3:26 pm

J. Daniel Pearson Under the Bobber Odds and Ends from trolling around the lake…. The Big One That Got Away I know every fisherman has a similar story about the one that got away and like most of you, I take them with a grain a salt. Still, recently, I wanted to cry.  I have lived on Fish Lake (Emerald Lake on some maps) for more than 20 years and

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  • Snook are thrilling to catch

    Posted on September 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Under the Bobber J. Daniel Pearson For the Gazette Legendary outdoors writer Frank Sargeant once said, “There is nothing common about the common snook.  The snook is a backstreet fighter, without match. The linesider hits harder than any inshore gamefish, pulls like a bonito and jumps like a tarpon.” I share Sargeant’s admiration for the common snook.  Taking deep sea fishing out of the equation, you would be hard-pressed to

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  • Finding bass in hot water

    Posted on August 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    J. Daniel Pearson Under the Bobber It’s been hot lately. Guess that’s not exactly a news flash to you. And when it gets hot, a lot bass fisherman take a pass on pursuing Florida’s most famous freshwater game fish. For those who decide it’s just too uncomfortable this time of year, I get it.  But for those who say they don’t like fishing in the heat of the summer because

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