MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
We’re breaking down a football district a day — from 2A to 8A. Today: Class 7A, District 9.
Listed in order of 2011 finish with overall/district record
1. Countryside (10-1, 5-0)
2. Pinellas Park (7-4, 4-1)
3. St. Petersburg (7-3, 3-2)
4. Northeast (4-6, 2-3)
5. Clearwater (2-8, 1-4)
6. Seminole (0-10, 0-5)
Did you know?
Countryside coach Jared Davis has never lost a regular-season game (20-0) and has helped the Cougars maintain a 16-game district win streak that dates to 2009 when John Davis (now at Clearwater Central Catholic) was coach.
Five things to expect this fall
Cougars in control: It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Countryside does not go to the playoffs. The Cougars, who have won 25 straight regular-season games, have a veteran offensive line and return the bulk of their starters on a defense that allowed just 12 points per game.
New faces at QB: Northeast’s Ryan Davis and Seminole’s Noah Weller are the only returners at quarterback. The biggest battle will be at Countryside where Canadian transfer Christian Strong and Robby Hicks are competing. St. Petersburg’s Robert Tribolet and Corey D’Angelo also are vying for a starting job. Pinellas Park’s Taron Williams has experience after starting a few games at Northeast last year. The other newcomer is Clearwater’s Jordan Leston.
Super seniors: St. Petersburg tight end Jeremy Kerr already has committed to Miami. Countryside lineman Mike Love has more than 20 offers. Others who could commit to Division I schools include Northeast’s Auggie Sanchez and Pinellas Park’s Tyree Graves.
Kick start: This district is home to two of the best kickers in the state, Countryside’s Ryan Pandy and St. Petersburg’s Sean Covington. Pandy hit a 56-yard field goal against Tarpon Springs in the spring game. Covington has an offer from Auburn and is ranked the nation’s top kickoff specialist by prokicker.com.
An (almost) new era: Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer standout Donnie Abraham was named the coach-in-waiting at Clearwater and will take over for Tom Bostic next season. Abraham, who previously coached at Gibbs, inherits a team that struggled last year and is in need of a morale boost after getting trounced by Largo in the spring.
Players to watch
QB Ryan Davis, Northeast: The dual-threat Davis rushed and passed the Vikings to a tie vs. Dunedin in the spring and has been impressive in passing leagues this summer.
RB Maurice Hemingway, St. Petersburg: After rushing for a team-leading 921 yards last season, Hemingway is poised to have even bigger numbers with the loss of other backs.
DL Mike Love, Countryside: The Times’ 2011 defensive player of the year recorded 15 sacks and leads a defense that could one of the best in school history.
QB Taron Williams, Pinellas Park: The Northeast transfer was perfect (10-for-10) passing in a spring victory over Everglades and gives the Patriots the balance they need on offense.
RB/LB Ryan Yates, Countryside: A spark plug on both sides of the ball, Yates is the team’s second-leading returner in rushing yards (224) and third in tackles (39).
Mark your calendars
Countryside at St. Petersburg, Nov. 2: One of the fiercest rivalries in the county has intensified with both teams paired in the same district. This game could have huge playoff implications.
“On paper Countryside is probably the top returning team. We just have to avoid injuries. If we can do that we can be there and compete for the district title.” — St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio
2. St. Petersburg
3. Pinellas Park
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