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Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in Pinellas County
Coach: Jay Austin (fourth season, 15-16)
Last season: 3-7
District: Class 5A, District 9
Key losses: S Antonio Aponte, RB Daryl Copeland, TE/DE Pete Terrana, WR/DB Hank White
Who’s back: OL Billy Davis, RB Tavares Dunlap, FB Dominique Ellis, LB Kyle Hamel, DE Trez Jones, QB Eli Pedigo, LB Andres Sanchez
What’s new: Pedigo enters as the full-time starter at quarterback. He split time with Kyle Carver early last season but took over the position by the Vikings’ fifth game. Pedigo, a rising junior, has a command of the offense, isn’t easily rattled, and Austin says he has a “cannon” for an arm. Pedigo’s major focus during the summer will be on controlling that cannon. Copeland’s production at running back will be sorely missed, but the Vikings hope they can continue churning up yards on the ground by committee. Dunlap and Ellis, along with youngsters Jalin Hubbard and Antonio Swain, will rotate to keep the backfield fresh throughout games. Davis, a three-year starter on the offensive line, is the Vikings’ best blocker, but otherwise, the line is young and inexperienced. Both the O-line and D-line are the biggest question marks for the Vikings heading into the season. Jones will be a force from his defensive end position, but the rest of the D-line is a work in progress. Ryan Harbour, a transfer from Canterbury, could help shore up that position and will be counted on to contribute. Austin thinks the defense has a chance to be pretty good. The loss of Aponte and White will hurt in the secondary, but Hubbard, Swain and Demis Cordova are poised to fill that void. The linebackers are stacked with Hamel and Sanchez leading the way. Dunlap, Jones and Ellis are receiving the most recruiting, attention according to Austin.
Audible: “It’s been a while since we had a rough season like last year. It was just miserable. But the attitude’s different this year, and we’re working hard. We want to get that bad taste out of our mouths.” — Austin
Did you know? The Vikings’ sub-.500 record last season was their first since 2005.
Spring game: at Palmetto, 7 p.m. May 27
Sept. 3 at Dixie Hollins
Sept. 16 vs. Clearwater
Sept. 24 at Pinellas Park
Oct. 1 at Osceola
Oct. 8 vs. Seminole
Oct. 14 vs. East Lake
Oct. 22 at Gibbs
Oct. 29 vs. St. Petersburg
Nov. 5 vs. Boca Ciega
Nov. 12 at Lakewood