Sunday, February 25, 2018
Sports

Northside Christian: 2014 football preview

Northside Christian

Coach: Mike Alstott (third season, 3-17)

2013 record: 3-7

Class/district: 2A-5

Colors: Royal blue and white

Stadium: Brandes-Russell Field, 7777 62nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg

Playoff appearances: 1986, 1989, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2004, 200­6

Last appearance: Lost 61-18 to Belle Glades Glade Day.

Season schedule

Aug. 29 vs. Shorecrest, 7

Sept. 5 vs. Bishop McLaughlin, 7

Sept. 12 vs. Calvary Christian, 7

Sept. 19 vs. Indian Rocks Christian, 7

Oct. 3. vs. Cambridge Christian, 7

Oct. 10 at Bradenton Christian, 7:30

Oct. 17 at St. Edward's, 7

Oct. 24 at Canterbury, 7

Oct. 31 vs. Carrollwood Day, 7

Nov. 7 at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7

Mark your calendar

Indian Rocks Christian at Northside Christian, Sept. 19: It's the Mustangs' fourth game of the regular season, but it's the first 2A-5 showdown. IRC was undefeated in the district last season, so Northside will find out where it stands around the season's midway point. The last two meetings have been lopsided, with IRC winning by a combined 81-0. The Mustangs should make things much more competitive this season.

Huddle highlights

Growing numbers: When Mike Alstott took over three years ago he had about 20 players. Total. This season he expects to have 49 players. For the first time in a long time, Northside had a junior varsity team last season. That team went 5-0, and many of those players will now have an impact on the varsity. While there are only four seniors, the Mustangs finally have depth.

Alstott under center: Sophomore Griffin Alstott (yes, Mike's son) will start at quarterback. Alstott played the second half of the 2013 season for Northside and played well. He will be a big piece in the Mustangs spread offense.

Presence on the line: There is some beef on the offensive line. Freshman Drew Littrell is 6 feet 2, 260 pounds. He was forced into action last year as an eighth-grader and played well. And just a few weeks ago, sophomore Dillan Gibbons transferred from Palm Harbor University. Gibbons (6-1, 270) played at St. Petersburg Catholic last season.

Time for a turnaround: Northside's last winning season was 2009. Since then the Mustangs have won a total of eight games. While they might not win eight, expectations are to have the first winning season in five years.

Future looks bright: There are more than 20 sophomores and 10 freshmen on varsity. If that group stays together, look out.

Known quantities

WR/S Josh Snead, Jr.: Snead will play slot receiver on offense. He is one of the more athletic players on the team and is expected to see several passes come his way.

RB/DB Fiante Bell, Sr.: One of only four seniors, Bell has been with Northside since his freshman year. As the main ball carrier in the spread offense he could put up big numbers.

RB/DB Kamen Wilmington, So.: He will be part of a platoon system with Bell in the backfield. He'll also roam the secondary with Bell, giving the Mustangs a nice one-two punch.

LB Ben Knox, Jr.: An experienced linebacker, Knox will be the main man in the middle.

Up-and-comers

QB Griffin Alstott, So.: He stepped in midway through the varsity season and helped the Mustangs win two games. As the JV quarterback, Alstott was 5-0. Has a blend of size and speed that will be used in the spread offense.

OL Dillan Gibbons, So.: The transfer, who already boasts offers from the likes of Ohio State, Cincinnati and South Carolina, will likely play left tackle and protect Alstott's blind side.

DE Tah'shim Knight, So.: Alstott said Knight has the potential to be special. His main job will be to chase the quarterback for four quarters.

OL Drew Littrell, Fr.: He'll play right tackle and form a huge bookend with Gibbons on the right.

WR/S Darius Williams, Jr.: New to Northside this season, Williams will play slot receiver and give Alstott another big target.

Coach's corner

"We have depth at every position now. It's a situation here where if you're not committed, if you can't make your grades or if you're not going to show up, my hands are not tied anymore. I don't have to play you. I can ask this guy over here and he'll do just as good of a job. There's competition now. I think that's special at a small 2A school like this." — Mike Alstott

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