Most North Suncoast teams were heavily dependent on a strong rushing attack led by one workhorse in 2010. But with several of the area’s top backs graduating, like Anclote’s Travis Hendrix, Hernando’s Alvin Delaine, Mitchell’s Ricky Trinidad and Ridgewood’s Cameron Rodriguez, there are some new names ready to step in. Consider these players the future of the North Suncoast ground game.
Alonzo Pettiford, Sr., Anclote
Size: 5-foot-9, 160 pounds
At a glance: Pettiford, who played mainly slot receiver last season but rushed for 53 yards on eight carries in a loss to Berkeley Prep, makes the full-time transition to tailback in 2011.
Coach’s comment: “He’s real shifty and good with handling the ball, and he’s one of the top runners in the county in the 100-meter dash.” — Matt Wicks
Demarcus Maner, Sr., Hernando
Size: 5-8, 175
At a glance: He doesn’t have the nickname Scooter for nothing. The quick-footed scatback will be the feature back in a run-heavy offense. Some believe Maner could be better than Delaine.
Coach’s comment: “He’s probably a bit faster straight ahead than Alvin was. He definitely showed a little bit of what he could do at running back this past season when he stepped in.” — John Palmer
Freddie Jones, Sr., Mitchell
Size: 5-6, 150
At a glance: What Jones lacks in size, he makes up for in smarts and athleticism. He’ll start at fullback in the wing-T attack.
Coach’s comment: “We think Freddie will step into the role of the wing-T fullback just fine. He’s doing a great job so far.” — Scott Schmitz
Bryce Sessler, Jr., Tyler Vito, Jr. and Dave Bosland, Jr.; Ridgewood
Size: Sessler, 5-9, 190; Vito, 5-10, 165; Bosland, 5-9, 160
At a glance: It’s going to take three backs to fill the void left by the graduation of Rodriguez (1,213 yards in 2010), but coach Kent Reed likes all three of his junior replacements, who each have a different running style.
Coach’s comment: “There isn’t one standout back we’re going to use, so we’re going to use three to help replace Cameron.” — Reed.
“We took a lot of beatings last year, but, you know what, they’re ready to give a few. You can only be beat so much before you want to be the person that’s delivering the punch. I think now that our young kids are ready to play Bulldog football. I’m encouraged by their attitudes.” — Zephyrhills coach Reggie Roberts, entering his second season
Number of the day
4 Seniors with playing experience who return for an underclassman-heavy Zephyrhills team. The Bulldogs went 2-8 in 2010.
What they’re saying
Every day, we pose a question to our readers on our Facebook page. They’re keen to offer their two cents … and we’re printing the best response.
Friday’s question: Which area kicker/punter’s fantastic foot should be insured for a hefty sum?
• Codi Folsom, Mitchell. Not only can he punt the ball long (average around 40 yards, long 66) but he (is) deadly accurate when needed (12 inside the 20). He also …has an uncanny ability to recover a bad snap and still get the punt off. — Jason Amburgey
Next up: Who will shock the world in the upcoming spring games?
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Compiled by staff writer Bryan Burns and correspondent Andy Villamarzo.