Over the next two weeks, we’ll pose and answer a question a day about the upcoming football season. Have a topic you think needs to be addressed? E-mail us at email@example.com.
Who will be runnerup in Class 5A, District 6?
Because of its talent, tradition and coaching, Pasco is the clear favorite to win. But the runnerup spot is up for grabs now that Sunlake, Mitchell and Land O’Lakes are up a class. Anclote, Gulf and Wesley Chapel have been hit hard by transfers. Fivay is in its first year of a full varsity schedule, and Ridgewood, Hudson and Zephyrhills won a combined six games last fall. That parity should make for an exciting push to the playoffs.
What they’re saying
Anclote coach Matt Wicks: “It’s leveled the playing field for all of us. We’ve still got to win football games and play the games, but on paper it kind of levels the playing field between us and Gulf and Ridgewood and Fivay. I’m super optimistic about this year. We’ve still got an uphill road to get ready. All of the kids understand that (the playoffs) are a very attainable goal.
“For us to compete, we’ve got to have defense. We started nine freshmen my first year. Those kids are now juniors. Those kids have that experience under their belt. They’ve had that taste of getting it handed to them a couple years in a row. Now they’re a little bit bigger, a bit stronger, a lot more mature, a lot more mentally tough. They’re ready to step up and put some shutouts on the board and really try to hold people.”
What we’re saying
John C. Cotey: Anclote would have been the easy choice, but the loss of Dondre Daley (transferred to Tarpon Springs) stings. Step back for a minute, though, and you know what? Maybe it is just a sting.
John Forgione is still one of the top quarterbacks in the district. The Sharks will still enter the season with a potential breakout running back in Alonzo Pettiford, the offensive line is a strength, leading tackler Terrell Martin returns and Ryan Patterson showed enough this summer that I think he could replace Daley’s production.
Gulf may be able to make a run at the Sharks, though the Buccaneers have lost a good bit of talent as well, and with apologies to Hudson, may have the thinnest roster in the district. I don’t see it.
Fivay is still a year or two away from contender’s status. Ridgewood isn’t ready for the postseason yet and if I had to pick a sleeper, it would be Zephyrhills.
But I’m sticking with my original pick — the Sharks will make their postseason debut in 2011.
Matt Baker: I think it comes down to Anclote and Wesley Chapel. The Sharks can contend for all of the reasons you listed.
The Wildcats lost their starting quarterback, but Keegan Tanner adds a new wrinkle with his athleticism — some Ivy League schools are looking at him as an athlete. Coaches think very highly of receiver Sasha Mentor, who will make things easier for Tanner.
Defensive end Angel LoCicero is finally healthy and is an explosive player that can anchor the defense. Wesley Chapel also returns leading rusher Devin Piper.
Gulf has some talent, sure, but you’re right — it lost too many players. I think the winner of the Oct. 28 showdown between Wesley Chapel and Anclote could decide who makes the playoffs.
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