Coach: Mark Everett (48-49, 10th season) | Last season: 7-5 | Class: 5A, District 9 | Colors: Scarlet and white
Think about all the great Dunedin teams of the past. Now think about this: Never before have the Falcons won three straight district titles. This year's team has a chance to do that. "It's a motivating factor for us," Dunedin coach Mark Everett said.
1. Offensive backfield. The Falcons have the county's top returning rusher in Darius Bellamy, who ran for a school-record 1,950 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. Dunedin got an unexpected boost with the arrival of Ryan Singer and return of Kim Howard. Singer, a transfer from Countryside, is a strong-armed quarterback who can give the offense balance. Howard, eligible for the first time in two years, will help take the workload off Bellamy.
2. Defense. The line, anchored by Antonio Talley, Eric Kreuter and Chad Sunday, will be counted on to take the pressure off a secondary that loses playmaker Mike Towns to graduation. Linebackers Bryan Morris and Ali Cheaib both recorded more than 100 tackles last season.
1. Can Dunedin make up for the loss of Towns? Towns, a Class 5A second-team, all-state selection, broke the school record with 16 career interceptions. He has since graduated, leaving a huge void in the secondary. But Mark Everett is happy with his defensive backs, particularly cornerbacks Avery Chisholm and Benny Niles.
2. Is this the season the Falcons get past the second round? This is the most experienced and talented team Dunedin has had in a while. There are 15 returning starters, including four on the offensive line, led by senior Kyle Pedretty. That should get the Falcons to the second round, where they likely would get a rematch with Largo.
Bob Putnam, Times staff writer