Kendall Pearcey

ALONSO RAVENS

2011 record: 6-4

A senior-heavy Alonso roster made strides in 2011, but couldn’t finish the job when it needed to. Now, Ravens coach Brian Emanuel will have to figure out how to best the competition, especially with state champion Plant and surprise playoff contender Wharton in the way. For Alonso to make sure the season killing losing streak doesn’t happen again, it will need to learn from last season’s mistakes and start a consistent tradition of winning.

Who to watch:

Brandon Hawkins – Jr. – QB

Ish Witter – So. – RB – 103 carries for 570 yards and five touchdowns

Marcus Mosley – So. – WR/TE – 21 receptions, 449 yards and four touchdowns

STEINBRENNER WARRIORS

 2011 record: 7-3

Steinbrenner came within one win of its first playoff berth last season despite numerous injuries on both sides of the ball. The Warriors return its one-two punch rushing attack of Kendall Pearcey and Jake Carroll this year after losing both to injury. In spring practice, both have shown signs of being 100 percent, maybe even better with one more year under their belts. A solid defense and good quarterback put the squad in the conversation for another shot at the Class 7A-District 7 title.

Who to watch:

Kendall Pearcey – Jr. – RB – The junior may emerge as the best halfback in the county when all is said and done, but only game time will show if Pearcey is fully healed from a leg injury that ended his season.

Jake Carroll – So. – FB – One of the best young prospects in Tampa Bay, Carroll is all the way back from a torn ACL that ended his year against Gaither midway through last season. The speed and size of the sophomore could makeup for an inexperienced offensive line.

Logan McKnight – Jr. – DB – McKnight is quickly becoming a hot commodity in Lutz, as his performance in the spring season has quickly raised his stock. For a defensive unit that became more and more shutdown as 2011 progressed, McKnight may have the ability to carry it this season.

Curtis Fitch – So. – QB – While he still has a lot to prove on the field, Fitch’s progression behind the center has been nothing short of perfect for the Warriors. He’s performing well right now, what he does in the spring scrimmage and before the regular season could show just how good the sophomore is.

Scrimmage: vs. Alonso (at. Alonso) on May 24.

GAITHER COWBOYS

2011 record: 9-4

When Cowboys coach Jason Stokes arrived on the scene last year, not much was expected out of a team that hadn’t sniffed the postseason in nearly five years. However, the players bought in to Stokes’ ideas and turned them into an appearance in the Class 7A regional finals. While Gaither loses its defensive workhorses (Josh Scarberry, Eddie Pastrana, Mikail Reece), plenty of excitement surrounds the budding program that some say could be better than 2011.

Who to watch:

Shug Oyegunle – Jr. – ATH – A lot of the squads success came from Oyegunle last season and his progression throughout the spring could rival his counterpart for the starting quarterback position in the fall.

Alex McGough – So. – QB – Other than Wharton’s Chase Litton, there is no one north of Tampa that has as much potential as McGough. A season-ending concussion against Lakeland in the regional finals made some worry, but there’s plenty to love. Plus (scary thought here), he has two more years to grow.

Vu Lee – Jr. – RB – “What would you VU for a state title?” … well, if the Cowboys are smart, they’ll ride him to Orlando. The junior shined in key games last year, especially in the regional semifinals vs. Tampa Bay Tech.

SICKLES GRYPHONS

2011 record: 7-3

To think the Gryphons could grow into their shoes this season after posting a seven win season in 2011, is raising eye brows across the area. Coach Brian Turner seems to have finally molded his squad where he wants it and if the expectations turn into wins, he could see success much like his father, Billy, did at Chamberlain.

Who to watch:

Lee Myers – Jr. – QB – Injuries derailed the start of his season last year, but Myers is primed for a big jump in numbers going into his senior year.

Adekunle Olusanya – Jr. – DB – Another big prospect coming out of Citrus Park could exceed expectations and continue to be a defensive force for the Gryphons.

Marcos Vega – Jr. – RB – The former Steinbrenner Warrior is continuing to make his mark at his former school’s rival and could propel the green and white to a playoff appearance.

Spring scrimmage: vs. Gaither (at. Alonso) on May 24

Jeff Odom / Sports Editor

For coverage of spring scrimmages at Alonso, follow Jeff Odom on Twitter, @JeffO_LutzNews.

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