There are rebuilding years, and there are reclamation projects from which a quick recovery seems impossible.
In May, Dixie Hollins lost three potential starters who were charged with sexual battery after an assault of a female student on a school bus. This summer, the starting tailback moved to Orlando, and the starting fullback transferred to Keswick.
That seemed to spell doom as many wondered how Dixie Hollins would fare.
The Rebels answered with one of their best starts in years: Dixie Hollins is 2-0 after beating Osceola and Northeast on the road the past two weeks.
The quick start can be attributed largely to the Rebels' big-play capabilities on defense and special teams. In Week 1, Dixie's Gerard Atkins returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown. Last week, the Rebels blocked two punts, one of which was converted into points.
The offense also has been steady with quarterback Jesse Hevia and utility player Josh Brown. And Dixie got an added bonus when tailback Raheem Smith moved back from Orlando and fullback Curtis Fisher transferred back from Keswick.
Tonight, the Rebels get their biggest test at home against Boca Ciega. Last year, the Pirates rallied to win in overtime.
The Rebels are not the only county team off to a strong start.
Indian Rocks Christian, despite losing many of its linemen to graduation, has outscored opponents a combined 71-0 in its first two games.
Clearwater Central Catholic, which lost 22 seniors from last year's team, has filled the holes in its lineup nicely and is 2-0.