CLEARWATER — No family has infiltrated Countryside the way the Chmeliks have the past decade.
There was Jimbo, who quarterbacked the Cougars from 2007-09 and set the school record for career touchdown passes with 37. Cody followed and started as a defensive back from 2010-11. Both went on to play at Quincy, though Cody is transferring to play somewhere in Florida with Jimbo graduating.
Now, it’s Trent Chmelik’s turn to continue the family legacy at Countryside. The 6-foot-1, 172-pound rising junior takes over as a full-time starter at quarterback.
As a backup last season, Trent Chmelik threw for 588 yards and four touchdowns.
“I’m more comfortable with the offense now, and I think we’re going to do big things,” Trent said. “It should be exciting.”
Eric Schmitz, the team’s former offensive coordinator, takes over at coach. The spread offense is still in place, and most of the skill players return, including running back Dante Satcher and receivers Chris Ryan and Slyvester Kimbrough.
“We’ve been working together a lot in the offseason, and we feel real confident,” Trent Chmelik said. “I think we’re going to put some big numbers this season.”
He will need some lofty stats, including plenty of touchdown passes the next two years, to surpass his older brother’s numbers and supplant himself as the top quarterback in the family.
I want to try to get where Jimbo was at,” Trent Chmelik said. “That’s just the way it is in this family. We’re close, but we’re competitive in everything.”
He also is trying to make the playoffs, something Countryside has not done during his two seasons. The Cougars were 6-4 last season, finishing behind East Lake and Pinellas Park in Class 7A, District 9.
“My brothers both made the playoffs here, and I’m motivated to get there, too,” Trent Chmelik said. “We want to get back to playing championship football. Our motto is restore the roar.”
The Chmelik legacy doesn’t end once Trent graduates. His cousin, Hunter, is playing for the Junior Cougars and will be a freshman at Countryside in four years.
Speaking of bloodlines …
Dillan Gibbons is only 14 years old, but is already attracting major college attention.
The St. Petersburg Catholic freshman, who won’t be 15 until August, picked up an Ohio State offer Wednesday, a day after his first offer came from Cincinnati.
The Baron prospect may be young, but he will attract attention due to his size and his bloodlines. The younger brother of Reilly Gibbons, one of the top left tackle recruits last year and a Stanford signee, Dillan Gibbons is already 6 feet 5, 274 pounds with a meaner streak than his older brother.
Reilly Gibbons, for comparison’s sake, weighed in at 178 pounds during his freshman year at Seminole before developing into a 6-6, 300-pound all-county standout for SPC.
Dillan Gibbons started every game on the line for SPC last year, alternating between left guard and right tackle, helping block for a rushing attack that produced a pair of 1,000-yard rushers.
Pasco always has athletes that catch the eye, and despite the graduation in recent years of big-time stars like Janarion Grant, Joey Ivie and Trey Dudley-Giles, there’s still a few — like 6-4 wide receiver Sherwin Emmanuel, Miami commitment Bowman Archibald and defensive stopper Andrew Ivie — who make you say whoa.
Farr is something of a project for the Pirate coaches, who lament that they don’t have more time to work with the giant guard. Though a rising senior, this is Farr’s first time through spring football. He was on the roster last season, but didn’t come out for the team until August.
“I just sat around and played video games,’’ Farr said.
He weighed 370 and didn’t move well, but at 330 has improved significantly. He said he ran the 40 in 5.7 seconds when he was timed.
Farr said he regrets waiting to come out for football until his junior year. But he hopes he will play beyond high school. With college recruiters making Dade City a regular stop to see Archibald, Ivie and others, there’s always a chance someone will look around and ask who the big kid wearing No. 74 is.