Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in the county.
Coach: Bob Henriquez (fourth season, 26-11; 13th season overall, 89-51)
Last season: 11-3 (5-0 in district, advanced to Class 2A state title game)
District: 2A-5 (Bishop Verot, Lake Placid, Lennard, Mulberry, St. Petersburg Catholic)
Key losses: WR Eric Gerken, HB Drew Zink, LB Will Greaves, DE Marco Mendoza, LB P.J. Briody
Who's back: QB Christian Green, WR Kenny Broadnax, RB Henry McCloud, LB Colin Carter, CB Ralph Grover, LB A.J. Mulkey, WR Joe Joiner, K/P Matt McLaughlin, WR/CB/KR Jamarlon Powe, HB Daniel Sanabria, CB Jeremi Wilkes, DT Kevin Gamble, DE Brandon Green
What's new: The Crusaders return a lot of the key offensive skill players from last year's state championship finalist — including Green, Broadnax and McCloud — but Tampa Catholic will have to rebuild in the trenches. All five starting offensive linemen are gone, and rebuilding the front five was the biggest challenge this spring. Expect to see more out of Powe offensively. He will be used as a slot receiver and kick returner. On defense, the Crusaders will have to find out how to replace Mendoza (St. Francis of Illinois) and his 23 sacks. But most important, the Crusaders will have to regain their mettle. Last year's senior class held the team together during the postseason run. "There were zero egos last year. Those guys didn't care about their own stats," Henriquez said. "That's tough to duplicate. You just can't make it happen, but we're doing the best we can to preach that."
Audible: "We have a tough schedule. Four of our first five games are on the road and most of those games are against teams that are supposed to be good, so that's going to be a challenge. Some of our underclassmen were our most talented last season, but our seniors were our backbone. We can't live on last year. And we're not going to sneak up on anybody. That's for sure." — Henriquez
Did you know?: Rising junior lineman Austin Rossmiller went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic that caused him to miss the first week of summer workouts.
Spring result: Tampa Catholic 7, Spoto 0; Tampa Catholic 0, Lennard 0
Sept. 5 vs. Trinity Catholic
Sept. 12 at Clearwater Central Catholic
Sept. 19 at Cardinal Mooney
Sept. 26 at Lake Placid
Oct. 10 at St. Petersburg Catholic
Oct. 17 vs. Trinity Christian
Oct. 24 vs. Mulberry
Oct. 31 at Lennard
Nov. 7 vs. Bishop Verot
Nov. 14 vs. Jesuit
Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer