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 A, District 6.
Berkeley Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic, Fort Meade, Indian Rocks Christian, Lakeland Christian
Former 2B district rivals Berkeley and CCC move down in classification, but the competition is tougher than ever with Fort Meade serving as the top dog.
Three story lines
1. Holding the Fort: Bolstered by a suffocating defense that registered three shutouts and allowed just 5.9 points a game, Fort Meade's season ended with a loss in the Class A state final. Can the Miners get back to Orlando this year and take the state crown?
2. Can the Bucs rebound? Last year's 6-4 finish was okay, but Berkeley lost three of its last four to miss the postseason. Some big playmakers are gone, including LB Keith Bexley and Jordan and Julian Crockett, which means some younger players, like sophomores such as QB Destin Nichols and WR Nelson Agholor, will have to step up.
3. Who's 'back' at IRC: The Eagles will have to shore up their backfield after losing 3,000 yards of offense from last year's 9-2 region semifinalist. Jonny Sitton, Ethan Englebert and Lou Mason are gone, which puts more on the shoulders of starting QB Blake Farver, as well as returning RBs Tyler Gatusso and Tyler Ostheim.
Fort Meade at Berkeley prep, Oct. 23: There's not going to be a bigger game for the Bucs this regular season. The good thing is it's at home; the bad thing is it's still Fort Meade.
Cc catholic at Irc, Oct. 9: These teams haven't met in years. Not only will Pinellas County bragging rights be on the line, it's also a pivotal district tilt.
District's five best players
Jimmy Office, Sr., DL, Fort Meade: One of the top defensive tackles in the state, the 6-foot, 245-pounder can also sit back and play linebacker as well as fullback for the Miners.
Nelson Agholor, So., WR/DB, Berkeley Prep: He has already garnered national attention, being named among MaxPreps' Top 100 sophomores. He will have the opportunity to showcase his playmaking skills on offense, defense and special teams.
Nick Newton, Jr., WR, CC Catholic: The 6-foot-4, 185 pounder can play a variety of positions; he reminds coaches of former CCC standout Riley Cooper.
Sean Harvey, Sr., OL, Indian Rocks Christian: One of four returning offensive linemen, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Harvey is getting the most attention from college coaches.
Tyler Blandin, Sr., CB, Fort Meade: The 5-foot-11, 160-pound corner is good in coverage and can deliver a hit.
Predicted order of finish
1. Fort Meade 2. Berkeley Prep 3. CCC 4. IRC 5. Lakeland Christian