As the 2009 prep football season approaches, the Times will take a day-by-day look at each district involving a local team. Today we look at Class 2A, District 5.
Jesuit, Lennard, Middleton, Robinson, Steinbrenner, St. Petersburg Catholic, Strawberry Crest
First-year schools Steinbrenner and Strawberry Crest join former 4A Middleton and former 3As Jesuit and Robinson.
Three story lines
1. Getting stoked: Coming off a 2-8 season that ended with Harry Hubbard's firing, new coach Jason Stokes brings a new attitude he hopes will translate into wins.
2. Building on last year: If there's one thing Jesuit can build on, it's the way the Tigers thumped rival Tampa Catholic in their annual rivalry game. Some young players will have to emerge for coach Joe Ross, but the Tigers can be successful in this district.
3. The new kids on the block: First-year programs Strawberry Crest and Steinbrenner will play mixed schedules (six varsity games and four junior varsity), but both schools want to leave positive first impressions.
Jesuit at Middleton, Oct. 29: We think this game will decide the district crown, pitting teams that have the talent to rebound from disappointing seasons.
Steinbrenner at Strawberry Crest, Sept. 4: County newbies face each other in the first varsity game for both.
Jesuit at Robinson, Oct. 2: They've been district rivals for a while now, so this game is always interesting.
District's best players
Bobby Eveld, Sr., QB, Jesuit: The three-star recruit has good size and experience needed to drive the offense in the right direction.
Ruben Gonzalez, Jr., QB, Robinson: One of the top playmakers in the county, the Knights know they're best with the ball in his hands.
Ernest Mingo, Sr., RB/LB, Middleton: Swarming two-way player who rarely gets a breather is always around the ball.
Quinton Preston, Sr., OT/DE, Robinson: Four-year starter is the leader of a young but talented team.
Justin Sanders, Sr., WR/DB/KR, Middleton: Multidimensional threat reminds some of the Tigers' field stretchers of yesteryear.
DE'MYCO WINSTON, SR., WR, LENNARD: Vertical threat caught six touchdowns and averaged 24.5 yards a catch from the slot. This year, he will be the primary receiving target.
Julian Smith, Sr., WR, St. PetersbuRg Catholic: Came on late last season and has offers from Indiana and Toledo.
Predicted order of finish
6. Strawberry Crest*
*mixed varsity/junior varsity schedule