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Dixie Hollins: 2014 football preview

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Wed. August 13, 2014 | Jacob Lynn

Dixie Hollins: 2014 football preview

Dixie Hollins 

Coach: Shannon Brooks (third season, 2-18)

Last season: 2-8

Class/district: 6A-7

Colors: Royal blue and white

Stadium: Rebel Stadium, 4940 62nd St. N., St. Petersburg

Playoff history: 1967, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2004, 2005

Last appearance: Beat Countryside 21-7; lost 27-7 to Bradenton Manatee

Season schedule 

Aug. 29 at Dunedin, 7:30

Sept. 5 vs. Northeast, 7:30

Sept. 12 at Seminole, 7:30

Sept. 26 vs. Pinellas Park, 7:30

Oct. 2 vs. Venice, 7:30

Oct. 10 at Gibbs, 7:30

Oct. 17 at Osceola, 7:30

Oct. 24 at St. Petersburg, 7:30

Oct. 31 vs. Largo, 7:30

Nov. 7 vs. Tarpon Springs, 7:30

Mark your calendar

Dixie Hollins at Osceola, Oct 17: With giants Venice and Largo in the district, this could be both teams’ chance to pick up a district win. That could be a tall order for the Rebels, as they come into this Week 8 matchup after difficult games vs. Venice and on the road at Gibbs. A win against Osceola, however, would show that the Rebels are back on the rise. 

Huddle highlights

RB wanted: After losing Kabriel Jackson to graduation, the Rebels will need to find a new force out of the backfield. Last season, Jackson led the team in rushing attempts (94), yards (545), and touchdowns (four). If the Rebels have any chance of contending, they’ll need to find someone to replace Jackson’s offensive output. 

Clear reception: If Jackson was the Rebels’ most potent offensive threat, Jacquez Hill was a close second. The senior was quarterback Tyrie Adams’ favorite target in 2013. Hill reeled in 51 catches for 882 yards, giving him an average of more than 17 yards per reception. He also led the team with 10 touchdown catches. Losing Hill won’t have as big of an impact on the Rebels as the loss of Jackson, however. No. 2 receiver Davontae Harrington put together an impressive junior season and should be ready to take over in his place. 

Tough district: The first area the Rebels will look to improve on is their play within the district. They lost all three games to Largo, Venice and Osceola by a combined 76 points, and frontrunners Largo and Venice aren’t looking any less daunting this season.

Getting defensive: A poor defense doomed any chance of a successful season last year. After allowing just under 20 points per game in the Rebels’ 2-1 start, the defense fell apart, allowing an average of 50 points in the seven-game skid to end the season. Coach Shannon Brooks thinks that a change in mindset, instead of a scheme adjustment, will do the trick for the Rebels. 

Known quantities

QB Tyrie Adams, Sr.: It’s no secret that the Rebels will live and die by the play of Adams. Aided by the weapons of Hill and Harrington, Adams completed more than 57 percent of his passes for 2477 yards and 25 touchdowns. Ball control was an issue for Adams, however. The 14 interceptions and five fumbles handicapped the Rebels’ offense at times. 

WR Davontae Harrington, Sr.: Harrington managed to shine in his junior season, despite playing behind Hill. Forty-six catches for 823 yards and nine touchdowns helped Harrington make a name for himself. With no one in front of him on the depth chart, Harrington could be set to put up monster numbers in 2014. 

DE Ali Chamander, Sr.: Returning for his senior season with the Rebels, Chamander will have the most experience on the defensive line. His 38 tackles last season ranked him fifth on the team. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, he has the agility to rush the quarterback and the size to help stop the run. 

Up-and-comers

WR/QB Dekovin Cann, So: Last season, Cann appeared in three games at quarterback as a backup to Adams. While he attempted only two passes, his only completion went for a 70-yard touchdown. This season, Cann will be expected to line up opposite of Harrington and start at wide receiver. His size and speed give the Rebels a unique threat out wide, while still giving the team assurance at quarterback. 

LB Emilio Martinez, Jr.: From his middle linebacker position, Martinez will be at the forefront of Brooks’ defensive mindset change. Expect to see him take on a leadership role for a defense that needs to improve. At 200 pounds, Martinez will be important in limiting the success of opposing running backs.

Coach’s corner

“With the kids we have here, I think we can play with anyone on our schedule. I think we can score points with anybody, but our goal is to just get a few extra stops on defense.” — Brooks

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