SEFFNER — Seffner Christian's football team ran onto the practice field Thursday afternoon but star running back Karmi Mackey wasn't with them.
Mackey, a rising senior who rushed for 1,953 yards and 20 touchdowns last season in eight games, tore his ACL several weeks ago while competing in a track meet.
Mackey will not return for spring practice and may not be back for the 2016 season, Seffner Christian coach Travis Puleo said.
"Our first priority is his health," Puleo said. "If he does return we want to make sure he is at 100 percent. Right now it's a wait-and-see situation on his rehabilitation progresses."
In the meantime, Seffner Christian remains optimistic after going 6-4 last season, which included it's inaugural campaign in an official Florida High School Athletic Association district.
"We've had a fantastic offseason of physical training," said Puleo, who takes over this year as the official head coach following Steve Lewis, who stepped down after more than 40 years of coaching. "We're bigger, stronger and faster. This is the fastest overall team we've ever had."
Leading the way is rising freshman quarterback Isaiah Knowles, who can throw a football 60 yards and also beat defenses with his quick feet.
Knowles' main target will be rising senior D.J. Emsweller, who last year caught 45 passes for 587 yards and 12 touchdowns.
As for running back, Puleo said it will be "by committee" in the absence of Mackey. Leading candidates for carries include Tyrell and Tyreek Carter, who last year combined to run for almost 400 yards.
Defensively, linebacker Anthony Guglielmetti leads the way after a solid junior year in which he racked up 104 tackles.