As the 2010 prep football season approaches, the Times will break down each position on the North Suncoast. Today we take a look at running back.
1. Alvin Delaine, Hernando: The reigning Times’ North Suncoast Offensive Player of the Year looks lean, fit and hungry. This is the year many expect Delaine and the boys to help the Leopards reclaim the top spot among Hernando County teams. . But Delaine will need another great season for that to happen. And why shouldn’t he? The senior led the North Suncoast with 1,659 yards and 24 touchdowns, then added 268 yards receiving and four more TDs. Delaine is passionate about winning, evident in a 22-20 loss at home to Nature Coast last year in which he scored all three touchdowns.
2. Ricky Trinidad, Mitchell: Few would argue that the toughest running back in Pasco County is Trinidad. Yes, the senior has speed and finesse, but Trinidad will bowl over tacklers if they try to keep him from gaining precious yardage. He rushed for 1,389 yards and 16 touchdowns in nine games last season. A back injury forced him from one of the biggest games of the season, a 17-3 loss to Pasco; that was one of two losses to end the season at 8-2 as the Mustangs just missed the playoffs. Don’t think Trinidad hasn’t thought of that in the offseason. Trinidad, who has offers from Georgia Southern and Youngstown, hopes to impress schools with another stellar season.
3. Janarion Grant, Pasco: In his first year, Grant had a breakout season with 753 yards and 10 touchdowns, including five games of 100-plus yards. Pasco coach Tom McHugh has tried to keep the sophomore grounded in terms of his ego, which has rarely, if ever, been a problem. Grant’s toughest challenge will be sharing the ball with so many talented athletes. So far, he’s made the most of his opportunities.
4. Cameron Rodriguez, Ridgewood: The Rams will rely heavily on their top returning rusher, who finished last season with 1,240 yards and eight touchdowns. Rodriguez (5-10, 185 pounds), a senior, enjoyed his biggest game of ’09 against Hudson in a 22-21 loss. In that game, he rushed 33 times for 230 yards and a touchdown. He finished the season scoring touchdowns in six consecutive games. Rodriguez averaged 22.4 carries and 124 yards.
5. Devean Huff, Springstead: The Eagles’ bruiser is a small package at 5 foot-4. But thanks to strong blocking and undeterred running, he finished his junior year with 1,221 yards and nine touchdowns. He also finished the season with seven consecutive games of 100-plus yards, including 127 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-13 loss to Gainesville, then a season-high 179 yards in a 21-0 win against Central.
Keep an eye on
Isaac Bailey, Nature Coast: Yes, he only rushed for 169 yards in ’09, but keep in mind that he played with Tevin Drake, who finished as the North Suncoast’s second-leading rusher of all time with almost 5,000 yards. Bailey is the go-to running back this season, and first-year coach Mark Nash believes the senior will have a big year.
Rashaud Daniels, Sunlake: A lot has been made of the Seahawks’ passing game, but Daniels provides plenty of excitement in the backfield. He rushed for more than 700 yards and nine touchdowns last season as a sophomore.
Kris Aratchiysky, Gulf: The Anclote transfer rushed for 813 yards and eight touchdowns last season for the 0-10 Sharks. At Gulf, he’ll give the already strong running game another weapon.
Other stories in this series: