Coach: Bob Dare (sixth season, 26-24; 26th overall, 139-116)
Last season: 6-4
Colors: Navy and gold
Stadium: Skyway Park, 3901 George Road, Tampa
Playoff appearances: None
Aug. 29 vs. Calvary Christian, 7:30
Sept. 5 vs. Bradenton Christian, 7:30
Sept. 12 vs. Hawthorne Middle Senior, 7:30
Sept. 19 at Gateway, 7
Sept. 26 at Bishop McLaughlin, 7:30
Oct. 3 at Northside Christian, 7
Oct. 10 vs. Shorecrest, 7:30
Oct. 17 at Indian Rocks Christian, 7:30
Oct. 24 at Carrollwood Day (Skyway Park), 7
Oct. 30 at Canterbury School, 7
Mark your calendar
Cambridge Christian at Carrollwood Day, Oct. 24: The Lancers have never beaten district rival CDS in five meetings. But with added depth and 12 returning seniors, Cambridge should be more competitive than its 20-point home loss to the Patriots last season.
Record numbers: Cambridge has come a long way since coach Bob Dare’s first season, when he had only 20 players. This season, that number has more than doubled with 46 on the roster for the fall, a program record. The newfound depth also means players won’t have to play both ways as often.
Playoffs or bust? Three straight 6-4 seasons with third-place finishes in 2A-5 have the Lancers hungry to finally get over the hump and into the postseason for the first time. After summer workouts and success in 7-on-7 tournaments, Dare said expectations are high, and the team believes it can compete for a district title.
Experienced signal caller: Garrett Young, who has already set multiple passing records for the Lancers, returns for his third season starting under center and has plenty of targets. The senior has interest from several Division II programs, including Mercer, Stetson and Florida Tech.
Eliminating big plays: One of the biggest issues last season, according to Dare, was the amount of momentum-killing plays allowed by the defense in critical moments. He expects that to decrease dramatically this year with players able to substitute out of the game for the first time, thanks to the increased turnout.
QB Garrett Young, Sr.: Young’s a dual threat under center. His skill and leadership will be heavily relied on if the Lancers make a playoff push.
WR/LB Nick Stein, Sr.: Stein will look to be the go-to-guy in filling the void left behind by the graduated Trevor Young. He should be up to the task. The 5-foot-11 playmaker had 491 receiving yards and six total TDs last season.
RB/LB Zack Stein, So.: The two-way standout — and Nick’s brother — looks to capitalize off a strong freshman campaign when he rushed for seven touchdowns as a starting running back.
LB/RB Josh Wolcott, Sr.: He proved to be one of the team’s top defensive players last season (49 tackles, seven sacks, two interceptions). And don’t sleep on his offensive skills.
RB/LB Andrew Cunningham, Fr.: Cunningham will have a big role in the rushing attack after appearing in eight games as an eighth-grader. He could be a solid option on defense, too.
OL/DL Richard Gouraige, Fr.: Already one of the tallest players on the roster at 6-foot-6, Dare complimented Gouraige’s footwork and hands and expects the new arrival to be one of the team’s centerpieces moving forward.
QB Caleb Young, Fr.: He could be ready to take the reins at starter from his older brother by season’s end.
“We have a number of younger guys who aren’t afraid to compete. I think that’s going to help everybody. A little bit of depth and a little bit of competition at this level really helps. The competition for us, now, is more than just on Friday nights. It’s also during the week for a chance for guys to play.” — Dare
Photo: Nick Stein