MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in Hillsborough County
Coach: Bob Henriquez (sixth season back at Tampa Catholic, 46-17; 15th season overall, 111-57)
Last year: 11-2 (Lost 21-7 to Jacksonville Bolles in Class 2B state championship)
District: Class 2B, District 5
Key losses: QB Christian Green, OT Chaz Green, RB Hank McCloud, CB Jeremi Wilkes, QB/WR D.J. Williams, S Chris Lundy, LB Brandon Mendoza, OL Austin Rossmiller, OL Kevin White, OL Matt Gibbons
Who’s back: RB/LB Hunter Joyer, WR/DB Conner Louis, RB/WR Austin Aikens, OL/DL Taylor Timmons, LB Tyler Robb, LB Carson Bomar, CB Tyree Holder, RB Zach Dyer
What’s new: The core of a Tampa Catholic team that went to the state title game two of the past three seasons is gone. The Crusaders have lost 24 seniors, and Henriquez says this is his youngest team since he returned to Tampa Catholic in 2005. Top recruit Joyer will be the cornerstone on offense and defense. He’ll get a lot of carries out of the backfield and will be the leader of the team’s linebacking corps, a unit that Henriquez said will be the Crusaders’ best and most experienced. The arrival of LB Aaron Buckley, who returns to TC, where he started as a sophomore, from Alonso is a boost. Louis takes over for Green at quarterback, and despite a lack of size (5 feet 11), he threw for 246 yards on 9-for-14 passing and totaled three touchdowns in the spring game. Both lines are a concern, especially the O-line, where the Crusaders must replace all five starters.
Audible: “We still have a lot of work to do, but I think if we can shore up the offensive and defensive lines, we will be okay. We are young. We could have as many as four or five freshmen playing on varsity.” — Henriquez
Did you know? Though he played wide receiver last year, Louis is an experienced quarterback. He was the team’s starter on JV, and Henriquez believes he has all the tools. “He’s making all the proper reads and he has the arm strength,” Henriquez said.
Spring result: Tampa Catholic 20, Nature Coast 13
Sept 3 vs. South Lake
Sept. 10 at Berkeley Prep
Sept 17 at Ocala Trinity Catholic
Sept. 24 vs. Lake Highland Prep
Oct. 1 TBD
Oct. 15 at CCC
Oct. 22 vs. Cardinal Mooney
Oct. 29 at Mulberry
Nov. 5 at Avon Park
Nov. 12 vs. Jesuit