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New faces ready to take up slack on football field

Spring football is time for blocking and tackling, X's and O's, fundamentals and executions.

Coaches also are keen to discover who can be counted on to replace those who graduated. And there are some big shoes to fill this fall.

Last season's county offensive player of the year (Lakewood quarterback JaQuez Jenkins) and county defensive player of the year (Largo linebacker Mike Marry) are gone. So are many others.

Here are some top players who have left and those who will try to fill the void:

Dunedin, RB Darius Bellamy: Bellamy was that rare combination of power and speed that's hard to find in running backs. The Falcons do not have one guy who can duplicate all of Bellamy's physical traits. Instead, Dunedin will rely on a trio of backs — Kion Samuels, Paul Drettakis and Jezreel Saunders. There also could be more emphasis on the passing game with quarterback Ryan Singer returning.

Lakewood, QB JaQuez Jenkins: A dual-threat quarterback, Jenkins was able to avoid the rush, buy time and find receivers at the right moment. Those intangibles are tough to replace. But coach Cory Moore is high on Alphonzo Evans, who was brought up from junior varsity late last season and started Lakewood's playoff game against Plant after Jenkins went down with a knee injury in the regular-season finale.

Largo, LB Mike Marry: Marry, the county defensive player of the year the past two seasons, was fast enough to stop runners coming around the edges and strong enough to shed blockers and limit gains up the middle. Coach Rick Rodriguez said he hasn't decided on who will replace Marry. But Sean Holte, a returning starting linebacker, could take his spot and will be counted on to be the leader of the county's stingiest defense.

St. Petersburg, DL Te'Jay Brown: A speed rusher off the edge, Brown wreaked havoc last season, registering nine sacks. Coach Joe Fabrizio is hoping to get that same kind of production from Dominic James, who started on the line last season and will take Brown's spot.

tonight's games

Spring football

Bradenton Christian at Shore­crest, 7

Lakewood at Dunedin, 7

Calvary Christian at St. John Neumann, 7

Naples Golden Gate at Boca Ciega, 7:30

Saturday's games

Canterbury at Central Florida Christian, 6

Indian Rocks Christian at Taylor County High, 6

Cambridge at Northside, 7

New faces ready to take up slack on football field 05/21/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 22, 2009 4:02pm]

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