MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Times' all-North Suncoast football team
Offensive player of the year
RB Alvin Delaine
Delaine’s season began in obscurity as the Leopards struggled. There was a resounding loss to Pasco in the preseason followed by a two-day overtime loss to Springstead. Meanwhile, Delaine personified the heart of the Leopards’ offense with his desire, speed and fight.
Height/weight: 5-9, 175
Significant statistics: Delaine carried the ball just 182 times in 10 games. He averaged a whopping 9.1 yards per carry for 1,659 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns. His biggest game was a 257-yard, four-touchdown rushing performance in a 35-14 win against Crystal River. Despite a loss to Dunnellon the following week, it was the Crystal River game that let the North Suncoast know Hernando and Delaine were a force. Delaine also proved to be a potent receiver with 268 yards and four touchdowns.
Favorite moment: Delaine shined most in a 22-20 loss to rival Nature Coast. In a bid for a playoff berth, Delaine scored all three touchdowns and gave the Leopards’ their best shot at winning. He rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns, then had a season-high 86 yards receiving and another touchdown. The only lingering question was why Delaine didn’t get the ball on a pair of missed two-point conversions.
What’s next: Delaine returns to a program many believe will become the team to beat in Hernando County, and certainly one of the top teams on the North Suncoast. His size is deceptive and will likely play a factor in his college recruitment. But based on all he has to offer as an athlete, it’s a good bet Delaine will land at a prominent collegiate football program.
Did you know? Helping Delaine improve is his cousin and former Hernando star John Capel. The pair work on Delaine’s speed, strength and vision. Capel has said he believes Delaine could play at a Division I-A program. Capel starred at the University of Florida and is a former Olympian.
Defensive Player of the year
LB Jamie Byrd
Byrd became the pulse of the defensive unit, intense and fiery like his father was for the 1992 Class 3A state champions. He had a tremendous junior season with four games of 10 or more tackles, including a season-high 17 against Anclote. His most significant effort was arguably 14 solo tackles in a 28-16 win against Land O’Lakes, a victory that would ultimately help the Pirates to their third consecutive district title.
Height/weight: 6-0, 180
Significant statistics: Byrd finished with a team-best 129 tackles and registered six sacks. He caused three fumbles and recovered four. He also was utilized on offense at running back, scoring four touchdowns.
Favorite moment: The first defensive play of Byrd’s junior season was a forced fumble, his helmet smacking the football from a Hernando players grasp. The 48-0 win against the Leopards in a preseason game helped set the tone for Pasco and Byrd.
What’s next: Byrd has one more season in which many expect him only to improve. With a solid academic background and parents committed to guiding him in life, Byrd hopes to play for a Division I-A school and achieve some of the dreams his father has told him he personally missed out on.
Did you know? Wearing No. 2 is a family tradition. Byrd’s father and uncle wore No. 2, and both were classified as vicious hitters.
Coach of the Year
Brian Wachtel, Mitchell
In his first season, Wachtel guided the Mustangs to the program’s first 8-0 start. Mitchell lost its final two games and missed the postseason, but standout running back Ricky Trinidad was missing from one of the games with an injury and certainly not 100 percent in the finale. That said, Wachtel has the program in position to compete for a district title in 2010. He should enjoy many more seasons as Mitchell’s coach.
QB: Stevie Weatherford, Jr., Land O’Lakes
Blue-chip recruit guided the Gators with 2,052 yards, 27 touchdowns and just five interceptions, completing 62 percent of his passes.
RB: Alvin Delaine, Jr., Hernando
Turned in one of the North Suncoast’s top-10 single-season rushing performances of all time with 1,659 yards and 24 touchdowns.
RB: Tevin Drake, Sr., Nature Coast
Capped a stellar career with 1,529 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2009. Leaves school as the North Suncoast’s second-leading rusher of all time.
RB: Ricky Trinidad, Jr., Mitchell
Phenomenal runner amassed 1,389 yards and 16 touchdowns in nine games, helping the Mustangs to the program’s first 8-0 start.
WR: James Tello, Sr., Hudson
The Land O’Lakes transfer led the North Suncoast in receiving with 984 yards and eight touchdowns.
WR: Alex Robinson, Sr., Land O’Lakes
Weatherford’s top target collected 785 yards and 10 touchdowns, plus an additional 222 yards on 109 kickoff returns.
OL: Patrick Kronk, Sr., Land O’Lakes
This 6-foot-5, 315-pounder anchored the offensive line.
OL: Jamall Carter, Sr., Pasco
The 6-foot, 270-pound guard helped the Pirates become one of the most versatile offensive attacks.
OL: R.J. Nixon, Sr., Wesley Chapel
Give credit to this 6-foot-4, 296-pounder for helping the Wildcats’ wing-T to 1,842 yards of rushing offense.
OL: Joe Crews, Sr., Mitchell
One of the guys pitching in on the Mustangs’ explosive offense; this 6-foot-4, 215-pounder was a key element.
OL: Cory Emerson, Sr., Nature Coast
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder helped pound out holes for rushers and protect in the pass. Good size and ability.
K: Brennan Allen, Sr., Pasco
Whether it was field goals, kickoffs or punts, was capable of the challenge. His plus-50 yard field-goal range was clutch.
UTL: Janarion Grant, Fr., Pasco
If there were a rookie of the year it would go to Grant, who emerged as an explosive running back and talented receiver. He compiled 1,103 yards and 15 touchdowns.
QB: Zack Wynn, Sr., Hudson
RB: Josh Johnson, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch
RB: Cameron Rodriguez, Sr., Ridgewood
RB: Devean Huff, Jr., Springstead
WR: Will Irwin, Jr., Land O’Lakes
WR: David Ramirez, Sr., Gulf
OL: Jeff Kruse, So., Gulf
OL: Morgan Hendrix, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch
OL: Chris Seltman, Jr., Ridgewood
OL: R.J. Marshall, Sr., Hudson
OL: Donovan Berardi, Sr., River Ridge
K: Andres Pinzon, So., Hernando
UTL: Ja’Juan Story, Jr., Nature Coast
DL: John Carbone, Sr., Nature Coast
The 6-foot-1, 255 pound Carbone led the Sharks with 113 tackles. He also had two sacks.
DL: Spencer Michelson, Sr., Land O’Lakes
He had 78 tackles but his 10 sacks were more impressive.
DL: Mark Landry, Sr., Pasco
Landry ranked second for the Pirates with 73 tackles while contributing 10 sacks.
DL: Gary Myrick, Jr., Land O’Lakes
The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Nature Coast transfer had 81/2 sacks in nine games and one of the best punting averages at 42.8 yards.
LB: Dylan Lamb, Sr., Mitchell
Lamb was one of the most dominant players in the backfield, registering 121/2 sacks to go with 47 tackles.
LB: Darryl Cooper, Sr., Gulf
Had 103 tackles and three sacks for the Buccaneers.
LB: Chase Sellers, Sr., Pasco
This guy played at another level, from his speed to his intensity. Sellers had 60 tackles, 81/2 sacks and an interception.
LB: Justin Beetz, Sr., Nature Coast
Finished with 103 tackles and three sacks.
DB: Jamie Byrd, Jr., Pasco
Led the Pirates with 129 tackles and six sacks.
DB: Isaac Bailey, Jr., Nature Coast
His 46 tackles and three interceptions, including his play in a tiebreaker to reach the playoffs, were superb.
DB: Brenton Nuby, Sr., Nature Coast
He had 99 tackles and a team-high four interceptions.
DB: Austin Jackson, Jr., Gulf
Led the Buccaneers with 118 tackles and 10 sacks.
P: Codi Folsom, So., Mitchell
Folsom averaged 42.1 yards per punt and scored 46 points, second on team behind Trinidad.
KR: Andrew Moore, Sr., Land O’Lakes
Gators top returner was among the best returners on the North Suncoast.
UTL: Madison Burr, Sr., Gulf
Whether it was quarterback, running or on defense, Burr did it all and many times willed his team to wins. Among his numbers were 1,595 yards of offense, 18 touchdowns. Defensively, he had 54 tackles and four sacks. He also had a 38-yard punting average.
DL: Kasey Hess, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch
DL: Will Burbridge, Sr., Gulf
DL: Kyle Anderson, Sr., Sunlake
DL: Matt Johnson, Sr., Hernando
LB: Anthony Viernes, Sr., Zephyrhills
LB: Alex Mathis, Sr., Land O’Lakes
LB: Chris Collins, Jr., Mitchell
LB: Justin Murray, Sr., Nature Coast
DB: Corey Thomas, Sr., Hernando
DB: Mike Clower, Jr., Pasco
DB: Trevor Hooker, Sr., River Ridge
DB: Nick Martino, Sr., Ridgewood
P: Adrian Krupka, Jr., Sunlake
KR: Jeremy Knight, Sr., Hernando Christian
UTL: Mitch Wozniak, Sr., Pasco
Anclote: Kris Aratchiysky; Bishop McLaughlin: Giovanni Perone, Mitch Ritter; Central: Steven Read, Zack Rice; Gulf: Grady Boddiford, Tom Polito; Hernando: Robert Huggins, Zach Pritz; Hudson: Eric Bickhardt, Jeff Bickhardt, Charles Collins, Dylan Luke, Mike Powers; Land O’Lakes: Jackson Cannon, Donnie Gonzalez, Anthony Kasperitis, Tyler Peak, Jason Tello, Chadd Williamson; Mitchell: Jordan Indermuehle, Freddy Jones, Hunter McIntosh, Matt Michaels, Anthony Moore; Nature Coast: C.J. Baker, Brandon Cullen, Braddie Ellison; Pasco: D.J. Clower, Chaise Dunn, Hakeeme Ishmar, Allen Wells; Ridgewood: Preston Dameron, Ralphy Dawkins; River Ridge: Stavros Arianas; Springstead: Brian Beeker, Cody Emmerman; Sunlake: Rashaud Daniels, Matt Sanders; Wesley Chapel: Jon Mahan; Wiregrass Ranch: Malik Moss; Zephyrhills: Ben Williams, Devin Wilson