Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Pinellas Park: 2014 football preview

Pinellas Park

Coach: Kenny Crawford (sixth season, 33-21)

Last season: 10-2

Class/district: 7A-9

Colors: Blue, red and white

Stadium: Richard Allen Memorial Stadium, 6305 118th Ave. N., Pinellas Park

Playoff history: 1983, 1997, 2001, 2011, 2012, 2013

Last appearance: Beat Sarasota 32-7; lost 45-0 to East Lake.

Season schedule

Aug. 29 at Boca Ciega, 7:30

Sept. 5 at Gibbs, 7:30

Sept. 12 vs. Osceola, 7:30

Sept. 19 vs. Seminole, 7:30

Sept. 26 at Dixie Hollins, 7:30

Oct. 2 at Northeast, 7:30

Oct. 17 vs. Clearwater, 7:30

Oct. 24 vs. East Lake, 7:30

Oct. 31 at Countryside, 7:30

Nov. 7 vs. Dunedin, 7:30

Mark your calendar

East Lake at Pinellas Park, Oct. 24: Barring a collapse by either team, this should be for the district championship. East Lake got the best of the Patriots twice last season, 42-12 in the regular season and 45-0 in the playoffs. Those losses have stuck with the Patriots all summer. The schedule is fairly easy heading up to the East Lake game. Of the seven opponents prior to East Lake, only one (Osceola) had a winning record last season.

Huddle highlights

Targets: Now in his fifth season, Crawford has climbed the ladder. He took over a winless team, took his lumps and got to 10 wins last season. The next step is a district championship. The Patriots are one of the teams to beat in this district and will surely get everyone's best effort.

Loaded: The Patriots have eight starters returning on defense and seven on offense. Mitch Grondin takes over as the starting quarterback. He got some time last season and looked good throwing in the spring game. If the Patriots can add some passes to the wing-T attack, they could be even harder to stop.

Three-headed monster: The running back trio of Donte Maxson, Kal-El Williams and Oscee Calhoun could be the best in the county. The big three combined to gain 2,590 yards and score 26 rushing touchdowns. Pinellas Park's offense is designed to give all three plenty of carries. With a bulked-up offensive line, this could be a record-breaking year for the Pinellas Park backs.

Favorable schedule: Only three teams on Pinellas Park's schedule had winning records last season (Osceola, East Lake and Countryside). The hardest stretch should be the final two weeks of October, with district games against East Lake and at Countryside. Other than that, it appears the only other game to watch out for is the second week at Gibbs.

Known quantities

RB/LB Kal-El Williams, Sr.: The Florida Atlantic commit gained 776 yards and scored six touchdowns as a junior. He is a bruising 240-pound back who is just as strong in the fourth quarter as the first. Look for him to eat up yards inside and score on goal-line plays.

RB Donte Maxson, Sr.: The leading yardage returner, Maxson had 1,208 yards last season and scored 14 touchdowns. Maxson averaged 11 yards per carry and also ripped off big gains in the spring game. He is committed to Mercer University.

OT Andrew Thomas, Sr.: Thomas is a returning starter and one of the big boys on the line. He is 6 feet 2, 305 pounds and can move people out of the way.

CB/RB Jalil Crapps, Sr.: A third-year starter, Crapps will help lead the secondary and also get some carries on offense.

CB Rashaan Watson, Sr.: The South Alabama commit had four interceptions last season and a team-high 16 pass deflections. He should create chaos again in the secondary.

CB/WR Marcellus Ware, Sr.: Another solid player in the secondary, Ware will also be a top receiving threat when the Patriots decide to throw.

RB Oscee Calhoun, Sr.: He gained 606 yards and scored six touchdowns as a junior. Calhoun has speed to burn and is Pinellas Park's big-gain threat.

Up-and-comers

QB Mitch Grondin, Sr.: This is Grondin's one and only year to start. He was so small as a freshman that he didn't even tryout. Now 5-foot-7, 165 pounds, he's still not the biggest quarterback around, but his arm is above average and he has good mobility.

DT Jordon Scott, So.: Sophomores don't usually play for the Patriots, but Scott is too big and strong to keep down. The 6-foot-5, 320-pounder played in five games on varsity as a freshman. This is his year to start, and he could make a big impact up front.

CB/WR A.J. Reddin, Sr.: Reddin moved into the Pinellas Park zone after playing for Gibbs last season. He is another big target and athlete in the secondary.

OT Arin O'Brien, Sr.: Another sizeable offensive lineman, the 5-foot-11, 260-pounder is capable of creating holes for the athletic backs

Coach's corner

"Last year we were young and we were still were able to do it. This year we have more experience and we feel like we can do even better." — Calhoun

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