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Seminole: 2014 football preview

Seminole

Coach: Chris Miller (second season, 3-7; 10th season overall, 51-42)

Last season: 3-7

Class/district: 7A-9

Colors: Orange, green and white

Stadium: Warhawk Stadium, 8401 31st St. N., Seminole

Playoff history: 1972, 1976, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

Last appearance: Lost 21-20 to Clearwater.

Season schedule

Aug. 29 at Osceola, 7:30

Sept. 5 vs. Dunedin, 7:30

Sept. 12 vs. Dixie Hollins, 7:30

Sept. 19 at Pinellas Park, 7:30

Sept. 26 vs. Palm Harbor University, 7:30

Oct. 2 vs. East Lake, 7:30

Oct. 10 at St. Petersburg, 7:30

Oct. 17 vs. Northeast, 7:30

Oct. 24 at Countryside, 7:30

Oct. 31 at Clearwater, 7:30

Mark your calendar

Seminole at Pinellas Park, Sept. 19: To have any shot at the playoffs, the Warhawks will likely have to beat one of the front-runners. The first test comes in this district opener. Last year, the Warhawks played well for a half before wearing down in a 35-10 loss. The district schedule doesn't get any easier with a game against East Lake on Oct. 2. Losses in those two games would leave Seminole with a lot of catching up to do when it closes the season against three straight district opponents.

Huddle highlights

Rushing replacements: The biggest question Seminole has on offense is finding a way to make up for the loss of Ra'Quanne Dickens, who graduated after leading the team with 1,428 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Coach Chris Miller said Travis Wateska and Christopher Garza-McLean will handle the bulk of the rushing load. They will run behind a beefy offensive line, led by Brandon Walton. In the spring, Wateska and Garza-McLean both played well against Dunedin in the spring.

Deep on defense: After giving up an average of 26 points per game on defense last year, Seminole should improve dramatically with 10 returning starters. In fact, Miller said that unit will be the teams' strength. "I'm excited about what we can do on that side of the ball," he said.

Veteran signal caller: Aaron Dever returns as the starting quarterback and will have the chance to air it more as Miller strives for more balance on offense. The main targets will be Mathew Wonsick and Ethan Roberts.

Numbers game: When he took over the program last season, Miller said he inherited about 25 players on varsity. That number has nearly doubled to about 45, and the program has roughly 65 on junior varsity.

Known quantities

QB Aaron Dever, Sr.: The dual-threat quarterback had more than 400 yards rushing and receiving last season and tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with 12.

TE/LB Jamal Jackson, Sr.: Defensive leader who Miller says could be one of the best in the county.

WR/DB Lakendrick Staley, Jr.: Returning starter had six interceptions last year and should play more as a receiver.

OL/DL Brandon Walton, Jr.: The 255-pounder is starting to get looks from colleges and anchors an impressive offensive line.

RB/LB Travis Wateska, Jr.: Team's top returning rusher with 404 yards and a touchdown last season.

TE/LB Mathew Wonsick, Sr.: Though he had just 187 yards receiving and three touchdowns, Wonsick is the team's top returning pass catcher and should be among the county leaders in receptions as a tight end.

Up-and-comers

DL Nadeem Ali Bey El, Sr.: Up to around 285 pounds after gaining 25 in the summer. Miller says he is unblockable.

OL/DL Anthony Gaston, Sr.: Teams with Ali Bey El to anchor a line that will lead an improved defense.

WR/DB Dequan Ober, Jr.: Tied with Staley for the team lead in interceptions last season with six.

Coach's corner

"We showed a lot of improvement last year and stayed in some games. We just have to finish better, but I'm excited about what this team can do." — Miller

Seminole: 2014 football preview 08/20/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:20am]
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