Coach: Frank LaRosa (fourth season, 16-16)
Last season: 8-4
Colors: Gray and red
Stadium: E.G. Simmons Field, 7710 Big Bend Road
Playoff history: 1973, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2013
Last appearance: Beat Gaither 34-14; lost 27-0 to Sickles.
Aug. 29 vs. Lennard, 7:30
Sept. 5 vs. Riverview, 7:30
Sept. 12 at Alonso, 7:30
Sept. 19 at Spoto, 7:30
Sept. 26 vs. Wharton, 7:30
Oct. 2 at Plant City, 7
Oct. 10 at Bloomingdale, 7:30
Oct. 17 vs. Strawberry Crest, 7:30
Oct. 24 vs. Brandon, 7:30
Oct. 31 at Durant, 7:30
Mark your calendar
Lennard at East Bay, Aug. 29 and Riverview at East Bay, Sept. 5:Although neither are district games, both opponents are the Indians’ closest rivals — and East Bay would like to defeat both on its home turf for area bragging rights.
Great expectations: After winning the first district title since 1973 a year ago, coach Frank LaRosa feels there is a new mindset on campus. And despite losing 24 seniors, including eight offensive and six defensive starters, this group does not want to be the one that misses out on the postseason. “The guys are definitely confident,” LaRosa said. “We saw what it took, the grit and hard work it took to make the playoffs.”
No sweating tight game: Six of East Bay’s eight wins last season were by a touchdown or fewer, which LaRosa said lets the returners know what it takes to win the close games.
Terrors on D: Defense will be the heart and soul of this year’s team. Tennessee commit Marques Ford, a defensive end, linebacker Eric Latortue and defensive tackle Anthony Clayton are the leaders. They combined for 174 tackles and 20.5 sacks a year ago.
DE Marques Ford, Sr.: The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder, No. 16 in the HomeTeam 100, is expected to be a leader on and off the field.
LB Eric Latortue, Sr.: LaTortue, offered by James Madison with other offers to come, plays a vital role in the Indians’ defense and led the team in tackles for loss (22) in 2013.
DT Anthony Clayton, senior: While Ford and Latortue are highly thought of, LaRosa believes Clayton could emerge as the best of the trio.
OL Johnny Crews and Caleb Holley, Srs.: These key returners are vital to the offense’s ability to move the ball, especially with new starters at quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
QB Jordan Anderson, Jr.: He saw limited play spelling injured starter Chris Carpentier last season and now is entrusted to run the offense.
RB Diante Crutcher, Jr.: Up from the junior varsity, where he got extensive playing time.
Wide receiver Christian Ashford, senior: Time for him to come into his own and develop a relationship with Anderson.
DB K.J. Sails, Jr.: This returner is versatile enough to line up on the corner and at free safety.
“We had a fantastic season, a memorable one, but for us it’s really a brand new year. We’ve got a little bit of carryover from last fall, but it’s a crop of brand new kids.” — LaRosa