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 3A, District 8.
Blake, Dixie Hollins, Jefferson, Lakewood, Osceola, Spoto
Blake and Jefferson make the dip from 4A in a hodgepodge district that spans from southeast St. Petersburg (Lakewood) to southeast Hillsborough (Spoto).
Three story lines
1. Are the Dragons back? Jefferson is restocked for a run at a district title, led by arguably the best quarterback-wide receiver duo in the county in junior quarterback Quentin Williams and junior wide receiver Andre Davis. Add Division I prospect Fred Overstreet to the mix and this team could make a run in Class 3A.
2. Buzzworthy: It takes time to build a winner, and Spoto has received a lot of hype that this is the Spartans' breakout season under second-year coach Dale Caparaso, who has his team believing big things are just on the horizon.
3. A dip in the lake: Lakewood is one of Pinellas' top teams and can challenge in this district. Don't take last year's region loss to Plant too seriously. The Spartans' strength is defense, which is deep and a solid 11 deep. And receiver Bernard Reedy is one of the bay area's top playmakers regardless of county.
Jefferson at Lakewood, Oct. 9: There are two reasons to love this game: It will likely decide the district. Also, it's great to have a meaningful Hillsborough/Pinellas bragging rights game before mid November.
District's five best players
1. Andre Davis, Jr., WR, Jefferson: Big target has big-play talent and the ability to pluck passes out of the air. He went under the radar last season, but there's no doubt people know about him after an impressive summer.
2. Michael McFarland, Sr., TE/WR, Blake: The UF commit (6-6, 230) is a special player who can't be missed on the field. During his career he has lined up at QB, WR, TE and DE. The Yellow Jackets might need him to do everything again this year.
3. Rodney Williams, Jr., LB/FB, Spoto: This hard-nosed two-way player is the heart and soul of the Spartans. Don't be surprised if he is one of the most highly recruited players in the Class of 2011.
4. Quentin Williams, Jr., QB, Jefferson: He already has experience leading the offense. Combine that with a lot of pocket poise and talent around him and the Jefferson signal caller could put up some big numbers.
5. Bernard Reedy, Sr., WR, Lakewood: Arguably the top wideout in Pinellas, Reedy owns scholarship offers from the likes of Iowa, Iowa State and Syracuse. The more Reedy has the ball in his hands, the better off Lakewood is.
Predicted order of finish
4. Dixie Hollins