LUTZ — From the moment senior wide receiver Kezio Snelling limped off the field during the second quarter against Sunlake in Friday night’s preseason game, there was the sense nothing good would come from the situation.
The once ecstatic Steinbrenner crowd turned devastated and speechless because of the potential loss of a great offensive weapon. But there seemed to be a glimmer of hope when Snelling made his way back onto the field to finish what his team had started, a dominating offensive and defensive performance leading to a big 20-9 victory.
But just minutes before the end of the first half, Snelling went down again, this time failing to return. He exited the game along with another downed teammate, junior middle linebacker Zack Deitz.
Both Warriors, essential to Steinbrenner's success, tore their ACLs; Snelling also tore his MCL. The players announced via Twitter that they will be out for the entire season.
According to junior varsity assistant Zach Cooper, two possible replacements for Deitz could be senior Justin Blount or rising defensive star Tyler Mirabella. And though it will be hard to replace Snelling, who is coming off a 2013 in which he tallied 1,341 all-purpose yards, Justin Moffatt and Brett Bitter could be options.
Steinbrenner will battle Plant City on the road Friday night at 7:30.