1. Passing game. For years, Dixie Hollins' calling card was its running game. That could change this season because of the personnel. Quarterback Jessie Hevia developed into a solid starter, helping the Rebels knock off Dunedin in last year's season finale. There are plenty of targets, starting with Josh Brown, a versatile athlete who will line up in a number of positions, including quarterback, to create mismatches. Gerard Atkins, a USF recruit, is a big receiver (6-foot-4) who will come in handy in the red zone.
2. Kicking game. The Rebels struggled to find any consistency on field goals and extra points last year. Morey said Dylan Gribnitz, a soccer player, has a strong leg and will give the team a needed boost.
Coach: Mike Morey (11th season, 50-52) | Last season: 3-7 | Class: 5A, District 10 | Colors: Royal blue and white
After making the playoffs in 2004 and '05, Dixie Hollins has been in a tailspin, winning three games each of the past two seasons. To turn things around, the Rebels will have to rely on their multitude of skill players and hope some of the young players grow up fast. "We're inexperienced but have a lot of scrappy guys," coach Mike Morey said.
1. Can the Rebels get their running game in gear? In the spring, Dixie Hollins appeared to be set with Raheem Davis and Keswick Christian transfer Curtis Fisher. That was before Davis moved to Orlando and Fisher went back to Keswick. Now the Rebels will rely on James Worthen for most of the carries. Brown also will see time in the backfield as a change of pace.
2. How will the offensive and defensive lines hold up?: The Rebels used to have big bodies up front. Not anymore. Dixie's offensive line averages 210 pounds. The Rebels also are inexperienced. Most of the starters on the offensive line will do double duty on defense.
Bob Putnam, Times staff writer