Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look at a football district a day. Today: Class 5A-6.
Listed in order of 2011 finish with overall/district record
1. Pasco (13-1, 7-0)
2. Fivay (7-4, 6-1)
3. Zephyrhills (7-3, 5-2)
4. Anclote (4-6, 4-3)
5. Wesley Chapel (6-4, 3-4)
6. Gulf (2-8, 2-5)
7. Ridgewood (1-9, 1-6)
8. Hudson (0-10, 0-7)
Did you know?
It’s hard to overstate how dominant Pasco was last fall, but consider this: In seven district games, the Pirates outscored their opponents 388-18. That’s an average margin of victory of 53 points.
Four things to expect this fall
Pasco will be on top: Again. The Pirates breezed through the district last season on their way to the Class 5A state semifinals. They’ll have to find a replacement for UF-bound QB Jacob Guy, but Pasco has the North Suncoast’s top two prospects — ATH Janarion Grant and DL Joey Ivie, a Gators commit — and the area’s most athletic roster. Expect another undefeated district season.
Three-way battle for second: Fivay took the runnerup spot last year and will battle again behind Tyler Degen, Eric Vitale and Willis Reeves. Reggie Roberts continues to build a more mature Zephyrhills team, and Anclote is a sleeper behind athletes like Terrell Martin and Dimitri Grivas.
Things look up at the bottom: Rosters have swelled at Hudson and Gulf — teams that combined for three victories last fall. New coaches for the Cobras (Mark Kantor) and at Ridgewood (Jay Fulmer) mean fresh starts for the players, while Tom Carter has had time to get Gulf acclimated to his style. All three programs should take steps toward rebuilding this season.
QB uncertainty: Ask eight coaches who the district’s top quarterback is, and you’ll likely get eight different answers. Will Fulmer (Ridgewood) has the size. Pasco’s Jajuan Henry has the speed. And don’t forget about wildcards like Ty Tanner (Wesley Chapel) and Chris Klyap (Gulf), who should both improve with more seasoning.
Players to watch
RB David Emmanuel, Pasco: The Pirates’ bowling ball has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and could be poised for a third. He has college offers from FAU and Rutgers.
WR Jordan Roberts, Zephyrhills: The 6-foot-2 track star broke out in the spring game with a 77-yard catch on the first play from scrimmage. Florida, Navy and Michigan have expressed interest in him.
TE Kevin Faulkner, Fivay: The 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior is a strong baseball player but has the size and talent to become a huge part of the Falcons’ offense.
RB Willie Barrett, Anclote: Sharks coaches and some D-I recruiters are high on Barrett, who had six touchdowns last fall as a sophomore. He’ll be even more important this year.
QB Will Fulmer, Ridgewood: A foot injury sidelined the 6-foot-2 passer at Hudson last year after two seasons at Gulf. How will he fare at his third school?
Mark your calendars
Fivay at Zephyrhills, Oct. 26: Fivay earned its first playoff appearance in school history last fall by erasing a nine-point deficit in the closing minutes to steal a 48-42 victory. Don’t be surprised if this game decides the runnerup spot in the district again.
Welcome, Weeki Wachee: Okay, so the Green Hornets aren’t in this district. Tampa Bay’s newest varsity team is actually in Class 4A-4 with out-of-area teams like Bushnell South Sumter and Starke Bradford. Fivay set a precedent by making the playoffs in its first all-varsity season, but a postseason run might be too much to expect for Mark Lee’s young team.
7. Wesley Chapel
Also in this series: