MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
The bulk of the county private school spring games are this week, including three Friday. Here are some things to look for in Friday’s games.
Indian Rocks Christian at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7:30
Defense! Defense! Both teams have playmakers on offense. The Golden Eagles are led by receiver Sean Culkin; the Barons’ go-to guy is running back Ryan Green. But the big concern for both teams will be on the other side of the ball.
Indian Rocks Christian gave up 20 points per game last season and has to shore up a linebacking unit that graduates Kyle Cleary, who led the team in tackles with 71, and Ryan Williams, the team’s leader in sacks with five.
There are bright spots with the return of defensive tackle Devonte’ West, a Division I-A recruit, and defensive back Vinny Capabianca, who had a team-leading six interceptions last season.
St. Petersburg Catholic struggled making tackles in the open field last season and allowed 40 points per game. But new coach Steve Dudley said he pleased with the defense, particularly the play of lineman Joe Mixa and Tommy Waechter.
In search of the signal caller: The Barons lost both quarterbacks from last season. Tim McKay graduated and Jaquel Cooper transferred to Lakewood. Dudley said he plans to alternate Toddren Macon and Jimmy Briggs at quarterback. The two will also see time at running back.
Calvary Christian vs. Seffner Christian at Brandon High, 7:30
Finding a home: Last year, Warriors running back Stephen Rice played a few snaps at receiver to take advantage of his versatility. But coach Dave Bonchi wants to use him strictly as a running back in the spring to shore up the ground game.
Numbers game: Calvary Christian has 23 players on its spring roster but Bonchi said that number should increase with an incoming freshman class expected to be around 90 students, including 15 who have expressed an interest in playing football. “We could be young next year, but we should have better numbers to boost our depth,” Bonchi said.
Sarasota Out-of-Door at Keswick Christian, 7
Til depth do us part: With quarterback Taylor Angell and running back Jayln Coleman both returning, the Crusaders have some nice pieces in place on offense. But they have to keep their two stars healthy along with everyone else. Depth is a concern with a roster of fewer than 25, and any injury would be a significant blow considering many play both ways out of necessity.
Number of the day
2,055 Combined yards Clearwater quarterback Ryan Hagen had last season (1,325 passing, 730 rushing). That is a big total considering Hagen, a first-team, all-county selection, is graduating. Hagen had more than half of the team’s total yards last season and scored 19 of the Tornadoes’ 27 touchdowns. Robert Yarbrough, Clearwater’s backup who filled in for Hagen in two games last season, will likely be the starter.
What they’re saying
Every day, we pose a question to our readers on our Facebook page and print the best responses.
Wednesday’s question: Which football player has the best nickname?
• Victor “Kamikaze Crackback” Tang (of St. Petersburg) — Victor Tang
• Derrick “Da Boss” Doss (of Largo) — John Waters
• Denzal “Don’t Stop” Dillard (of Bogie) — Bridget Anderson
Next up: What music is blaring in your iPod to get you pumped up for a game or practice?
What’s your call? Go here, become a fan and give us your thoughts.