We’re breaking down a football district a day. Today: Class 2A, District 5.
Teams: Bradenton Christian, Cambridge Christian, Canterbury, Carrollwood Day, Indian Rocks Christian, Keswick Christian, Northside Christian
Must-see game: Sept. 6, Carrollwood Day at Indian Rocks Christian. The Patriots snagged their first playoff berth and thwarted the Golden Eagles’ district title hopes in a wild 28-22 win in October. CDS is rebuilding a bit this year; IRC, not so much. The Eagles possess the size and offensive sleekness to avenge that 2012 defeat and take command of the district race — if they can avoid the self-destructiveness of last year’s game (16 penalties).
Three story lines
Parity prevails: The way we see it, no fewer than six of the seven teams are capable of knocking off anyone in the district. Five won at least four games last season, and the 2012 bottom-feeders are better. Which leads us to …
Can Northside Christian contend? Spring games are always deceiving, but the Mustangs showed some talent in a spring win over Sarasota Out-of-Door Academy. Quarterback Ben Knox, running backs Jhon Williams, Aidan Anderson and Fiante Bell and tight end/linebacker Max Massengill have experience and talent. If the depth holds out, Northside could see a big turnaround from last year’s winless season.
A new day in Carrollwood: Carrollwood Day graduated its quarterback, top two rushers, top three receivers and the only center the program had ever known (Jarrod Smith). That said, if the Patriots miss a beat, we’ll be surprised. No county team benefited more from transfers than CDS. Six-foot-3 senior Taylor King, who arrived from Freedom, drew raves in the spring. Reinforcements at tailback and receiver also are on the way, coach Lane McLaughlin says.
Players to watch
Damian King, QB/DB, Indian Rocks Christian. After amassing nearly 900 all-purpose yards in 2012, IRC’s top all-around athlete replaces outgoing 1,200-yard passer Matt Kulaga at quarterback. At Carrollwood Day last year, King had 141 all-purpose yards, three TDs and a pick.
Taylor King, QB, Carrollwood Day. King, who threw for more than 700 yards at Freedom last season, possesses the best pure arm in CDS’ brief history. He generated a lot of college interest in the spring, and is making the camp circuit in the Northeast this week.
Sammy Faucette, RB/LB, Canterbury. Faucette will not leave the field for the Crusaders in the fall. He led the team as a junior with 145 total tackles, gained 599 yards as the secondary running back and had 179 yards receiving. Faucette also gained 273 yards as a kick returner.
Max Massengill, TE/LB, Northside Christian. If you wear No. 40 on a team coached by Mike Alstott, you’d better be good. Massengill should be a main target in the passing game and will roam the field at linebacker.
1. Indian Rocks Christian
2. Carrollwood Day
3. Bradenton Christian
5. Cambridge Christian
6. Northside Christian
7. Keswick Christian
Compiled by staff writers Joey Knight and Rodney Page.
Photo: Canterbury's Sammy Faucette