Coach: Jason Messamore (second season, 1-9)
Last season: 1-9
Colors: Green and white
Stadium: W.D. “Des” Little Stadium, 5355 School Road, New Port Richey
Playoff history: 2006, 2008
Last appearance: Beat St. Cloud 49-35; lost 50-0 to Pasco.
Aug. 29 at Wiregrass Ranch, 7:30
Sept. 5 at Zephyrhills, 7:30
Sept. 19 vs. River Ridge, 7:30
Sept. 26 at Land O’Lakes, 7:30
Oct. 3 vs. Hudson, 7:30
Oct. 10 vs. Fivay, 7:30
Oct. 17 at Anclote, 7
Oct. 24 vs. Ridgewood, 7:30
Oct. 31 at Wesley Chapel, 7:30
Nov. 7 vs. Mitchell, 7:30
Mark your calendar
Gulf at Anclote, Oct. 17: Gulf struggled against just about everyone in 2013, but the attitude is different this season. If the Buccaneers truly are improved, they will find out in this game. Anclote cruised 43-9 in 2013. A win here, or even a good performance, would give the Bucs momentum for district games against Ridgewood and Wesley Chapel.
More options: Gulf was limited on offense last season due to injuries and ineligible players. Two of those players, Avery Welch and Keshaun Peters, are back. Both are seniors and could share time at quarterback. With depth on the line and at running back, the Bucs should have more firepower this season. “We’re not going to change anything, per se, but it does give us more options,” coach Jason Messamore said. “The offense will stay the same but when you have good kids at all positions it helps out.”
Getting defensive: Gulf allowed 36.8 points per game last season. It allowed 40 or more points in six games. Those numbers have to come way down for the Bucs to reach their goal of a winning season.
Speaking of a winning season…: Gulf won one game last season. It has won three games in the past three seasons and didn’t win any in 2012. But with a full roster and talented players, the feeling on this team is that a district title isn’t out of the question. “The district is open; we just have to take it,” Messamore said.
Starting with a bang: Gulf will get an early gauge on the season with games at Wiregrass Ranch and at Zephyrhills before its first district game against River Ridge.
QB/DB Keshaun Peters, Sr.: While Peters hasn’t played in two years due to academics, Gulf coaches and players know how good he can be. He showed off his strong, accurate arm in summer 7-on-7 tournaments, and Messamore said he is leaning toward Peters as the opening-night quarterback.
QB/RB/DB Avery Welch, Sr.: Welch missed the spring due to academics but is again eligible. He can throw, but might be used more as a fullback-type runner or a back out of the backfield.
WR/QB/DB RaiQwan Hayes, Sr.: Hayes will likely be a main target in the throwing game. He is also the third-string quarterback.
FB Ja’Marquise Stewart, Sr.: Stewart will be a big part of Gulf’s platoon system at running back. He could also see time at running back and play in the secondary.
RB Malik Cobb, Jr.: Another experienced back who will get carries. He could also be used as a fullback type in short-yardage situations.
OL/DL Janquier Bastian, Sr.: At 6-foot-1, 330 pounds, he is the biggest player on the team. Messamore likes his work ethic, and he has a chance to make a difference on both sides of the ball.
WR Deandre Hopkins, So.: Messamore believes Hopkins can be very good over the next three years. At 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, he is already a big target and has soft hands.
“I think they are hungry. I think they are tired of hearing about how bad Gulf football has been. They want to be winners and they are working very hard to change things around here.” — Messamore