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District deconstruction: Class 8A-7

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Fri. July 26, 2013 | Bob Putnam | Email

District deconstruction: Class 8A-7

Our summer series wraps up with Class 8A, District 7.

Teams
Bradenton Manatee
Palm Harbor University
Sarasota Riverview
St. Petersburg

Must-see game
Oct. 4, Palm Harbor University at St. Petersburg:
Manatee likely will win the district, so this game will have huge implications on determining the runnerup. The Hurricanes won the past two regular-season meetings, but the Green Devils might have the stronger team based on the number of returning starters.

Three story lines
Big-time addition:
Manatee moves up a classification. The Hurricanes were state champions in 2011 and have administered thrashings to Pinellas County teams in the playoffs. In five games against county opponents in the past four seasons, Manatee has won by an average score of 45-7.  
St. Petersburg moves up: St. Petersburg is bumped up to the highest classification in the state for the first time. The Green Devils missed the playoffs the past two seasons, but return the bulk of their offensive backfield, which is critical to make their wing-T offense successful.
Team in transition: Palm Harbor University, a mainstay in the district, made the playoffs as a runnerup in Matt LePain’s first two seasons as head coach. But several players transferred out, stripping away much of the Hurricanes’ depth at the skill positions.  

Players to watch
Dominic Bonelli, WR, PHU:
After catching 19 passes for 291 yards last season, Bonelli should post bigger numbers as the ’Canes’ top returning receiver. He also is one of the best punters in the county, averaging 37 yards per kick last season.
Demarcus Christmas, DL, Manatee: The FSU recruit, ranked the 23rd best player in the state by 247Sports, is a versatile lineman who can stop the run or rush the passer. He leads a veteran defense that is among the state’s best.
Tyler Kaminski, QB, PHU: Last season, Kaminski took over as the starter and threw for 1,027 yards, rushed for 256 and accounted for 20 touchdowns.
Deangelo Reaves, RB, St. Petersburg: In an offense that focuses on the run, Reaves put up good numbers, rushing for 752 yards and four touchdowns in 2012. He has the potential to be a 1,000-yard back this fall.
Rob Tribolet, QB, St. Petersburg: The junior will get his chance to start after being the No. 2 last year. The Green Devils love to run, but Tribolet has a big arm and may offer a second threat for the St. Petersburg offense.

Projected finish
1. Manatee
2. St. Petersburg
3. Palm Harbor University
4. Sarasota Riverview

More in this series:
Class 8A-6
Class 7A-9
Class 7A-8
Class 7A-7
Class 6A-8
Class 6A-7
Class 6A-6
Class 5A-9
Class 5A-8
Class 5A-7
Class 5A-6
Class 3A-5
Class 3A-4
Class 2A-5

Photo: Palm Harbor U.'s Dominic Bonelli

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