Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in the county.
Coach: Mike Heldt (seventh season, 35-39)
Last season: 7-4 (region quarterfinal berth, lost 35-28 to Wharton)
District: Class 5A-5 (Chamberlain, Gaither, Plant)
Key losses: DT Demonte McAllister, WR Evan Jones, WR Edward Williams, WR Kory Strassberg, DL Teddy Eumo, LB Ben Harrison, LB David Ragbeer, LB John Butler, DB Chris Bartolomei, DL Antonio Quintana, DB Jonathan Bartolomei
Who's back: QB C.J. Bennett, RB Cody Verrelli, WR Jesse Anaya, DB Cameron Rude, WR Justen Davis, DL Ian Hopkins, DL Josh Armand, OT Pierrot Adonis, OL Andrew Calvano, OL Alex Harris, WR/RB Brandon Hollaway, RB Dashon Legette
What's new: Offensively, the Ravens have a nice new addition in Sickles transfer Jameel Gay. He is expected to bolster Alonso's wide receiving corps, which combined for roughly 3,000 yards in 2008. Heldt said he has seen Gay in seven-on-seven competition and is pleased with his attitude toward competing. Gay is a speedster and could develop into one of quarterback C.J. Bennett's top targets in the spread offense. Defensively, Alonso sustained heavy losses to graduation. Heldt's task is to replace Alonso's top six tacklers from 2008, including sack man Demonte McAllister (19). Heldt said he expects guys like Ian Hopkins and Anthony Chicello to step in and make plays.
Audible: "I think we're going to be really good. I think our schedule's really tough, but if you want to be considered one of the best you have to play against the best. That's what we're doing." — Heldt
Did you know? Bennett won a Nike quarterback combine in Miami this spring. The 6-foot, 200-pounder threw for almost 3,000 yards last season with 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Heldt said Bennett stepped up into a leadership role last season and has proven to be one of the best passer in the Southeast. That said, Bennett's height has been an issue in his college recruitment. "They love his film but most are looking for the 6-3, 6-4 kid," Heldt said. "He's 6-0. He's got an 1,100 on his SATs and 3.8 unweighted GPA. The kid's doing everything right." Heldt said Bennett has an offer from Towson and is in contention for an offer from Southern Methodist.
Spring game: At Sickles, with Jesuit, Leto and Sickles, 6:30 p.m. May 22
Aug. 28 at King (preseason)
Sept. 4 vs. Brandon
Sept. 11 vs. Spoto
Sept. 18 at Newsome
Sept. 25 at Hillsborough
Oct. 2 vs. Tampa Bay Tech
Oct. 9 vs. Chamberlain
Oct. 22 at Plant
Oct. 30 at Sickles
Nov. 6 vs. Gaither
Nov. 13 at Armwood
Izzy Gould, Times staff writer