This is Countryside quarterback Robby Hicks’ second year on varsity. The junior enters the spring atop the depth chart, but still has competition for the job. • Behind him is freshman Trent Chmelik, the Cougars’ junior varsity quarterback last year. • “Both of them will compete to be the starter,” coach Jared Davis said. “But Robby comes in as the front-runner because he has the most experience.”
Last year, Hicks lost out as starter to Canadian transplant Christian Strong. But Hicks took over in the final four games after Strong was declared ineligible for the season. Hicks won all four games, throwing for 668 yards and six touchdowns.
Hicks answers questions about the latest competition the same way he did the year before: politely, without complaint.
“It’s a friendly competition,” Hicks said. “We’re out there to help each other and make each other better.”
Davis said if Chmelik loses out, he may have him stay on junior varsity.
“It’s something that we’ll definitely think about,” Davis said. “I like for guys to be on the field and get as much playing experience as possible, whether it’s varsity or junior varsity.”
Whoever emerges as the starter could get more opportunities to throw, especially with a revamped backfield that no longer has Ryan Yates or Mike Jerrido, both of whom are graduating.
“We want to take advantage of what we have,” Hicks said. “Last year, we had a lot more size with our backs and we could just pound the ball whenever we wanted. We have a lot more agile, speedy guys this year, and we’ll try to use them the best we can.
“For me, I feel lot more comfortable being in the offense another year and having a deeper knowledge of the passing game. I’m excited.”
Making the grade
Northeast receiver/linebacker Charlie Krasuski was selected for the NFL-Wharton Prep Leadership Program, Vikings coach Mike Jalazo said.
Krasuski is one of 36 high school athletes (18 boys, 18 girls) nationwide selected. The three-day program, now in its second year, starts in June at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in Philadelphia and offers leadership training and development programming from Wharton professors and NFL executives.
Students were selected based on academic transcripts, athletic experience, leadership activities, coach and teacher recommendations, and personal essays. All costs other than travel are covered by Wharton.
Krasuski is the second player from Pinellas County picked. Last year, St. Petersburg’s Ryan Mockabee was part of the inaugural program.
On Sunday, Lakewood offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn picked up an offer from North Carolina State, his 25th overall. Another lineman, Countryside’s Giovanni Negron, was offered by Connecticut recently.