The Sunshine Football Officials Association held eight-team controlled scrimmages at three Clearwater schools Saturday to provide training for officials. So every participating team got in extra spring work, running at least 24 plays on offense and 24 plays on defense. Here are our observations from each site:
1. River Ridge RG Hayden Krautner won't be fun for opponents to deal with. At 6-3, 300 pounds, he has 4.9-second speed in the 40, and Saturday he was nasty in the trenches. With RT Carlos Santamaria (6-5, 330) and TE Damion Hicks (6-2, 300), the Royal Knights could be a team to watch in Pasco County.
2. Each team tried three kicks, and Countryside's Ryan Pandy, one of Tampa Bay's best, elected to boot his from 51 yards. He made two of the three attempts.
3. Boca Ciega RB/DB Caleb McCullough was one of the most impressive players at the scrimmage, running for a long score and making a touchdown catch from the slot. "I'm looking to have a pretty good year," said the rising senior, who will share carries with Denzal Dillard and Fortune Gamble.
4. Countryside WR Marrieo Taylor was new QB Christian Strong's favorite target. Taylor caught five touchdown throws in all during the scrimmage, including a middle screen to end the day. Strong looked, well, strong.
5. Lakewood is still looking for a running game. WR Rodney Adams lined up in the backfield once or twice, but it was clear the offense still is best through the air, with Adams catching passes. LT Isaiah Wynn was dominant, throwing a few people around.
John C. Cotey, Times staff writer
At Calvary Christian
1. East Lake has weapons on offense and moved the ball methodically with QB Pete DiNovo mixing short screens with the occasional long ball to Artavis Scott. But the defense, which was inexperienced last season, showed how much it has improved by holding its own against Bradenton Manatee. East Lake forced three turnovers, including an interception by Tanner Harwood.
2. Dixie Hollins has the athletes to be a legitimate contender in the county. The Rebels moved the ball with ease against Calvary with RB Demondre Lambert running between the tackles and QB Drew Boylson throwing a pair of touchdowns each to Kabriel Jackson and Melvin Love.
3. Both Pasco County teams had good showings, as Anclote had little trouble scoring against Canterbury. WR Chris Gregory, RB Willie Barrett and QB John Forgione should all be twice as good this fall as they were last fall.
4. Dunedin's running backs will thrive no matter who is blocking in front of them. The Falcons were missing three starting offensive linemen in their scrimmage against Lakewood Ranch. Still, Dunedin's trio of Tramaine Batten, Shaquille Dixon and Stancio Howard ran through and around the Mustangs to the end zone.
5. Calvary Christian brothers Allen and Derek Barnes are two of the most versatile athletes in the county. The Warriors plan on getting them the ball as much as possible, and the brothers each ran on sweeps and had several receptions against Dixie Hollins.
Bob Putnam, Times staff writer
1. Largo QB/DB Juwan Brown is good. Good enough to get an offer from Ball State on Saturday morning. And likely good enough to get plenty more offers before the fall season is over. In fact, college scouts will be flocking to Largo. The Packers seem to have loads of talent and had lots of success against Clearwater Central Catholic on Saturday.
2. Tarpon Springs may have a quarterback for a while. The Spongers lost Louis Pappas to graduation, but rising sophomore Dalton Collins looked pretty good against St. Petersburg. Collins, who is 14, ran for a touchdown and threw for two more.
3. Palm Harbor University's offensive and defensive lines may not look like much getting off the bus, but they are better than expected. "I was very impressed with that group," PHU coach Matt LePain said. "You never know what's going to happen at game speed, but the defensive line got in the backfield on just about every play."
4. St. Petersburg TE Jeremy Kerr can dominate. He's one of the first players you notice when the Green Devils take the field. He caught a touchdown against Tarpon Springs. No wonder Miami already has made an offer. "Jeremy did what we thought he would today," coach Joe Fabrizio said.
5. Replacing QB Billy Pavlock at Palm Harbor U. will not be easy. Rising junior Tyler Kaminski got most of the touches Saturday. He's being pushed by rising sophomore Brevet Killet.
Rodney Page, Times staff writer