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Strawberry Crest: 2014 football preview

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Mon. August 18, 2014 | Brandon Wright

Strawberry Crest: 2014 football preview

Strawberry Crest

Coach: John Kelly (third season, 10-10)

Last season: 6-4

Class/district: 7A-8

Colors: Black, crimson and silver 

Stadium: Unnamed. 4691 Gallagher Road, Dover.

Playoff history: None

Season schedule

Aug. 29 vs. Bloomingdale, 7:30

Sept. 5 at Spoto, 7:30

Sept. 12 vs. Leon, 7:30

Sept. 19 at Brandon, 7:30

Sept. 26 at Freedom, 7:30

Oct. 2 vs. Durant, 7

Oct. 10 at Riverview, 7:30

Oct. 17 at East Bay, 7:30

Oct. 24 vs. Plant City, 7:30

Nov. 7 vs. Armwood, 7:30

Mark your calendar

Plant City at Strawberry Crest, Oct. 24: This one carries all kinds of significance for the Chargers. It will be Strawberry Crest's final district game on the slate and a chance to erase the memory of last year's 41-14 loss, a defeat that helped torpedo Strawberry Crest's postseason hopes.

Huddle highlights

Start strong: The end of 2013 was pretty deflating for Strawberry Crest, so the season opener against Bloomingdale will be big for confidence. The Chargers lost the final two games of 2013 and the ensuing playoff tiebreaker. The Chargers were in the 7A-8 driver's seat but were manhandled in a late-season loss to Plant City that forced a three-way tiebreaker with East Bay and the Raiders. Strawberry Crest eventually lost the tiebreaker and failed to advance.

How will Hyde rebound? After an excellent 2012 in which he threw for more than 2,100 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore, Hyde lost most of 2013 to injury. In two full games last year, Hyde passed for 464 yards, and the Chargers expect he will return to his form of two seasons ago. There are also some unknowns regarding the other skill positions. The Chargers graduated leading rusher Chris Perez (team highs with 666 yards, 10 TDs) and top wideout Josh Hyde (team highs with 38 catches, 484 yards, six TDs).

Known quantities

DB Josh Engram, Sr.: Engram is a two-year captain and four-year player for the Chargers. An intelligent, instinctual leader, Engram is the strongest pound-for-pound player on the team and will also handle kick return duties.

QB Tristan Hyde, Sr.: Hyde is a three-year starter under center but will look to rebound after he went down in the third game of 2013 with a season-ending knee injury.

WR/DB Clay Cullins, Sr.: Cullins has had to wait his turn behind some talented wideouts the past few seasons, but the shifty 5-foot-11, 180-pounder could prove to be Hyde's favorite target this year.

OT/DE Cody McDaniel, Sr.: McDaniel started off as a basketball player at Strawberry Crest, but he's blossoming into an emerging star for the football team. McDaniel is soft-spoken off the field but at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, he has the size to dominate along the line.

DE/TE Farron Rainford, Sr.: Rainford flashed last year but will be counted on this season for consistent contribution. He could be the Chargers' breakout star.

Up-and-comers

LB/RB Bryce Blackmon Jr.: Blackmon will be all over the field for the Chargers, contributing in all three phases of the game.

LB/RB Chase Blackmon, Jr.: Blackmon gives the Chargers depth on both sides of the ball and the 5-foot-7, 170-pounder plays multiple positions on the defensive side.

OL/LB Jherri Green,  Jr.: Green, an outstanding pulling guard, will be counted on along the offensive line but can fill in at linebacker.

RB/LB Arjay Smith, Sr.: Coach John Kelly called Smith an "impact player" and he expects the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder to make splash plays on both sides of the ball.

Coach's corner

"Plant City. That was the point last season where we were not able to cross over the threshold towards a first-ever district championship." — Kelly, when asked about the game he has targeted

 

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