We’re breaking down a football district a day. Today: Class 3A, District 5.
Clearwater Central Catholic
St. Petersburg Catholic
Must-see game: Oct. 4, St. Petersburg Catholic at Clearwater Central Catholic: The Marauders are the clear favorite in this district, but the Barons could shake things up with a win here. Last year’s game was no contest; CCC won 56-0. SPC’s running attack should be much better and the Barons’ offensive line is good enough to make this year’s game much closer. Of course, CCC has talent on both sides of the ball and could be rolling at this point in the season.
Three story lines
The battle for second: If Clearwater Central Catholic doesn’t win the district it will be a major surprise. The Marauders made it to the Class 3A state semifinal last season and are loaded again. There are several returners, including quarterback Blake Gomez, and transfers like Justus Reed, Connor Dorris and Demetri Royer make CCC even stronger. The second playoff spot is certainly up for grabs.
Admiral Farragut’s rocky offseason: Popular Blue Jackets coach Chris Miller resigned after the season. AFA then hires Buster Davis, who resigns after the spring game. Former USF player Ryan Hearn is hired to replace Davis just more than a week ago and has little time to get his players on board and ready for the fall.
Welcome back to district play, Shorecrest: After a four-year hiatus as an independent, Shorecrest returns to a district — a tough district at that. The Chargers lack depth, so much so that a couple of injuries forced them to cancel their spring game. Shorecrest went 7-3 last season. Anything close to that this season would be considered good.
Players to watch
Diquan Walker, RB, Clearwater Central Catholic: Walker gained 1,161 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior. If things go as planned, he will have every chance to surpass those numbers this season.
Tony Jones, RB, St. Petersburg Catholic: When FSU commit Ryan Green was injured after the first game last season, Jones got the bulk of the carries, gaining 783 yards and scoring seven touchdowns. In the spring, Jones gained 100 yards against Indian Rocks Christian. And he won’t have to carry the load. Jacquan Fuller is also a quality back.
Jeremy Wood, QB, Calvary Christian: The junior split time at quarterback last season but was the starter this spring. He accounted for more than 1,000 total yards last season and also played on defense. With big receiving targets in Gage Plentovich and Wes Vollmer, Wood could have a good year.
Cortavious Givens, RB/LB, Admiral Farragut: Givens is a serious Division I talent who spent most of his time on defense last season. With Todd Macon’s graduation, Givens should get more carries. Givens, 5-foot-11 and a solid 200 pounds, is most valuable on defense, where he will likely spend a lot of time in the opponent’s backfield.
1. Clearwater Central Catholic
2. St. Petersburg Catholic
3. Calvary Christian
4. Admiral Farragut
Photo: Clearwater Central Catholic's Diquan Walker