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St. Petersburg Catholic: Season preview

Two strengths

1. Character. The 14 seniors will get their first opportunity to compete for a postseason since they were freshmen. "The guys have persevered through a lot of tough times," coach Tod Creneti said. The best senior is offensive lineman Jon Halapio, who already has committed to Florida. Others who will be key contributors include center Mauricio Marcano and receivers Nick Filtz and Ryan Harris.

2. Speed. Creneti said he has five players who can run a 4.6 or faster: Keelyan Bryant, Hasheem McClellan, Julian Smith, T.J. Snead and Richard Waddell. All are skill players who should help the Barons maintain their offensive prowess.

Coach: Tod Creneti (second season, 3-7) | Last season: 3-7 | Class: 2A, District 5 | Colors: Black and gold

For the first time in three seasons, St. Petersburg Catholic is eligible for the playoffs. In June, the Florida High School Athletic Association lifted the Barons' postseason ban stemming from recruiting and illegal practices. The decision has rejuvenated a beleaguered program, resulting in more students coming out for football.

Two questions

1. Can they tighten up on defense? In the spring, SPC's defense was gashed against St. Petersburg. The Barons allowed the Green Devils to score on every possession through the first three quarters in a 59-13 loss. Creneti believes things will get better. SPC returns its top three linemen, Kyle Kelso, Paul Medling and Michael Yanchunis. The leader in the secondary is safety Quinn Lyons. Linebackers Jacob Zing and Chris Santos moved to the inside.

2. Who will emerge as quarterback? Chris McKay has been named the starter. He'll have the opportunity to make some plays considering the number of skill players the Barons have at their disposal.

Bob Putnam, Times staff writer

St. Petersburg Catholic: Season preview 09/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008 3:54pm]
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