We’re breaking down a football district a day — from 2A to 8A. Today: Class 6A, District 7.
Listed in order of 2011 finish with overall/district record
1. Largo (8-2, 5-0)
2. Lakewood Ranch (5-4, 4-1)
3. Tarpon Springs (6-4, 2-3)
4. Osceola (4-6, 2-3)
5. Boca Ciega (4-6, 2-3)
6. Dixie Hollins (2-8, 0-5)
Did you know?
Largo is on a 26-game district win streak. Will it end this season? Odds are against it.
Four things to expect this fall
Largo is loaded: The Packers could cruise through this district. Not only do they have Juwan Brown, Derrick Doss, Harry Brown and Raheem Harvey, but running back Jarvis Stewart is back after he was lost due to injury and a spring semester at Pinellas Secondary School. Should be a fun team to watch.
Rebels with a cause: Expect Dixie Hollins to have a chip on its shoulder. The Rebels have a new coach, Shannon Brooks, after Mike Morey resigned in early July. And they want to prove they are better than last year’s 2-8 mark. Running backs Demondre Lambert and Kabriel Jackson make a formidable backfield.
Battle for second place: Dixie has plenty of skill players, but what about the offensive and defensive lines? Boca Ciega swears it’s better this season, but what about that 24-0 spring loss to Palm Harbor University? Tarpon Springs had trouble stopping offenses last season. Will that continue? And can Osceola open things up, even after the loss of receiver Kyle Brittain to Clearwater Central Catholic?
And last year’s runnerup? Lakewood Ranch lost its starting quarterback and running back as well three offensive linemen. This is a young team, so the only non-Pinellas squad in the district likely won’t be repeating as district runnerup.
Players to watch
QB Juwan Brown, Largo: Brown had an impressive spring and should carry that momentum into the fall. He has plenty of talent around him, and if the young offensive line doesn’t hold up, he’ll need to use his scrambling ability.
LB/RB Derrick Doss, Largo: Doss will take few plays off, playing both ways and likely returning kicks. He brings a physical presence to an offense chock full of talent.
WR Melvin Love, Dixie Hollins: Rebels’ leading receiver last year with nearly 40 catches will be a dependable target for a team still unsure of who will start at quarterback.
WR Kenyatta Merriex, Tarpon Springs: The versatile offensive threat had more than 1,000 yards receiving and averaged 42 yards on kickoff returns in 2011. He figures to have a bigger role this season with the graduation of Dondre Daley and Runaldo Wright.
WR/CB Caleb McCullough, Boca Ciega: One of the bright spots on an offense that struggled, McCullough can be used in a variety of ways and also will be a key contributor on defense.
Mark your calendars
Tarpon Springs at Dixie Hollins, Sept. 21: Largo is the clear favorite, so this game could decide which team makes the playoffs as a runnerup. Last year, the Spongers beat the Rebels convincingly. But that was when Tarpon Springs had an abundance of skill players. Now, Dixie Hollins holds the edge in that department.
“There is that central county power (Largo) that still looks exceptional and on paper is the favorite. After that, it’s pretty wide open. I wouldn’t be surprised if any team in this district made the playoffs.” — Tarpon Springs coach Ron Hawn
2. Dixie Hollins
3. Tarpon Springs
4. Lakewood Ranch
5. Boca Ciega
Also in this series:
Compiled by Rodney Page and Bob Putnam.