Coach Jay Austin (third season, 12-9)
Class 5A, District 9
Sizing up the Vikings: No team was more ecstatic when the Florida High School Athletic Association reclassified its district this offseason than Northeast. The Vikings moved up from Class 4A to 5A and no longer have to travel to Bradenton for district games.
"It's nice," coach Jay Austin said. "We're in an all-Pinellas County district and we don't have to face the gauntlet of power teams if we make the playoffs."
The Vikings should have a chance to contend. The offense will again live or die by the run. Austin scrapped a spread attack after an 0-2 start a year ago and reverted to the Wing-T. Northeast went 6-2 the rest of the way.
Kyle Carver returns at quarterback and will be handing off to a bevy of backs, primarilyDaryl Copeland and Tavares Dunlap.
The offensive line was a question mark after losing three starters to graduation. But holdovers Billy Davis and Shawn Ledesma, along with newcomers Curtis Cramer, Phillip Moore, Shane Rubin, Nick St. Clair and Robert Simmons soothed concerns by holding their own against Palmetto in the spring.
"Because we're a bigger school, we have more students and more people coming out," Austin said. "That gives us depth and creates competition at certain positions."
- The receiving corps should be in good hands. Pete Terrana is one of the county's top tight ends. Alphonso Jenkins, Trez Jones and Hank White are wideouts who can stretch the field.
- Austin said he was pleased with the arrival of Sam Hester, a new student who should see significant playing time on the defensive line.
- Northeast is deep at linebacker with Ashman, Jovonte Brinson, Copeland, Dunlap, Hamel and Austin May.
- Antonio Aponte, who came on last season with a key interception against Lakewood and another against Largo, will be one of the leaders in the secondary.
- Sanchez is the brother of former Vikings quarterback Armando Sanchez. Brinson is the brother of former Northeast running back Jeff Brinson.