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 4A, District 10.
Boca Ciega, Largo, Leto, Sickles
It would be easier to say what didn't change. Leto is the district's lone holdover after Plant moved up (to 5A) and Blake and Jefferson moved down (to 3A). Sickles and Largo arrive from 5A; Boca Ciega moves over from 4A-9.
Three story lines
1. Largo's title to lose? A Class 5A state semifinalist the past two years, Largo has to be considered the favorite to win this tiny district. Despite losing 16 starters from last season's 12-2 squad, the Packers still have a strong, veteran offensive line and tons of talent. As evidence: coach Rick Rodriguez estimated between 50-75 college recruiters visited Largo in the spring.
2. A triple play: New Sickles offensive coordinator Brian Turner, who arrived from Chamberlain shortly after being bypassed for the Chiefs head coaching job once held by his dad, has brought a triple-option scheme to the Gryphons. Problem is, Turner has no one like ex-Chiefs quarterback (and Auburn freshman) Dontae Aycock to engineer it. Senior Scott O'Donoghue, however, could be close.
3. Deering in the headlights: With opposing defenses focused on resident Division I prospect Jeremy Deering, Leto's staff must develop complementary players to keep pressure off its fleet star. New quarterback Dominic Marino, a Gaither transfer, could be key, as could senior skill players Fred Timmons and Brandon Toombs.
Leto at Boca Ciega, Sept. 25; Largo at Sickles, Sept. 25 After this pivotal Friday, the first full slate of district play, we should know who the players and pretenders are in this race.
District's five best players
1. ATH Jeremy Deering, Leto: Already has roughly 40 Division I scholarship offers. Be it handoffs or hitch passes, the Falcons coaches will do all they can to get him the ball.
2. FB/LB Sean Holte, Largo: A Times first-team all-county pick at linebacker in 2008, Holte already has a scholarship offer from Colorado State.
3. LB/QB/RB Scott O'Donoghue, Sickles: Quite possibly the best player in north Tampa you've never heard of. A linebacker by nature, O'Donoghue just might line up at quarterback.
4. OL Alex Rodriguez, Largo: At well over 300 pounds, Rodriguez may be Pinellas County's most devastating run blocker.
5. RB/DB Jason Wine, Largo: The Packers' enforcer in the secondary, Wine could flourish at running back behind a veteran line.
Predicted order of finish
4. Boca Ciega