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Spring football preview capsule: Canterbury

Around the county in 30 days

A daily spring preview of every football program in Pinellas County:

Canterbury

Coach: Steve Dudley (fourth season, 20-10)

Last season: 9-1 (Sunshine Athletic Conference champions)

District: Class B, District 5

Key losses: OL/DL Sam Ballingrud, FB/LB Jeremy Dolan, OL/DL Lee Hanna, FS/QB Dominique Thornton, FS/LB/WR Bryce Wilson, OL/DL Michael Woolfenden

Who's back: WR/FS Emery Ellinger, LB/G/FB Sam Flood, RB/CB James Goodwin, QB/LB Jake Holsinger, OL/DL Micah Madir, RB/S Brent O'Neil, DE/TE/WR DaSean Thomas

What's new: Canterbury will play in a district for the first time, meaning the Crusaders are no longer an independent and are eligible for the playoffs. The biggest loss might be Thornton, who was extremely effective running the offense as the quarterback. Holsinger, Thornton's backup last year, is the front-runner to earn the starting job. Holsinger knows the offense inside and out and, as a linebacker, is also one of the top returning defenders. Goodwin and O'Neil might be the best running back tandem in the county. Both are extremely fast and elusive. Canterbury will rely on that duo to carry the offense. Dudley said he'd like to develop more of a passing threat this season, something the Crusaders haven't had because the running game has been so effective. Ellinger is a smart, possession receiver with great hands who the coaching staff hopes to utilize in the fall. Both the offensive and defensive lines remain a question mark. The Crusaders are smaller and less experienced than they would like — three freshmen will start on the offensive line. Madir, at 6-foot-3, 295 pounds, provides a solid anchor to build around. His ability to play both ways could be the difference in the Crusaders having a good defense or a great one. Flood is a leader on the linebacker corps, and Thomas is a star in the making at defensive end. The secondary is lacking experience and is a concern.

Audible: "It'll be an interesting year. We're going to be young in spots. There are so many question marks right now. We'll know a lot more after our spring game." — Dudley

Did you know? Canterbury is coming off its most successful season in school history after going 9-1 and winning the Sunshine Athletic Conference. Three of its graduated seniors — Thornton, Dolan and Wilson — will play in college next season.

Spring game: vs. Calvary Christian, 7 p.m. May 20

2010 schedule

Sept. 3 at Calvary Christian

Sept. 10 at Admiral Farragut

Sept. 17 at Victory Christian

Oct. 1 vs. St. John Neumann

Oct. 8 vs. Shorecrest

Oct. 22 at Santa Fe Catholic

Oct. 29 vs. Cambridge

Nov.5 vs. Keswick Christian

Nov. 12 at Oak Hall

Bryan Burns, Times staff writer

Spring football preview capsule: Canterbury 05/06/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 6, 2010 10:13pm]
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