ALL-WEST COAST TEAM
IN 2014, THE WEST COAST FAILED TO MAKE MUCH of a mark in the postseason with only Manatee advanc- ing to the state semifinals. The Hurricanes lost 45-14 to eventual Class 8A state champion Apopka.
Just three other teams – Fort Myers, South Fort Myers
and Island Coast – made it to the third round of their
respective playoff classes. No West Coast team has played
for a state title since Immokalee in 2012, but look for that
dry spell to end this fall.
AN ARRAY OF TALEN T
One would be hard-pressed to find a more talented roster
in the state than the one at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.
The independent program features an incredible eight of
the nation’s top 100 seniors, including four of the top 20 in
five-star recruits Shavar Manuel (defensive end), Rahshaun
Smith (linebacker), Malik Henry (quarterback) and Saivon
Smith (defensive back).
The talent extends to the program’s administrators and
coaches, which includes a pair of former pros in director of
football Steve Walsh, the former University of Miami and
Dallas Cowboys quarterback, and defensive coordinator
Donnie Abraham, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ cornerback. New coach Kevin Wright, who played for three state
championships during the past five seasons at Indiana’s
Carmel High School, has the challenge of melding all of this
individual talent into a cohesive team.
SPECIAL SEASON FOR NAPLES
Two consecutive regional semifinal appearances would
be cause for celebration for most West Coast programs. But
at perennial power Naples, the past two seasons have been
chalked up as postseason disappointments.
The Golden Eagles are prepared to change that narrative this fall
with the best collection of talent since 2007, when Naples reeled
off a 15-0 season capped by a Class 3A state championship.
The Golden Eagles have a pair of top 75 seniors in defen-
sive back Tyler Byrd and running back Carlin Fils-Aime; and
one of the region’s best and longest tenured coaching staffs,
led by head coach Bill Kramer, now in his 17th season.
END OF AN ERA
For the first time since its program debut in 2005, South
Fort Myers won’t have Grant Redhead stalking its sidelines.
The 41-year-old accepted the job at small-school power
Bryan (Ohio) High School to move closer to family.
In 10 seasons, Redhead led the Wolfpack to an 82-33
record, the most wins in history for any Lee County coach in
their first decade. South also won five district titles and made
seven state playoff appearances during Redhead’s tenure,
including a trip to the Class 3A state semifinals in 2010.
The coach’s enduring legacy will be his consistency; after
posting a 1-9 record during his debut season, the Wolfpack never
slipped below seven wins under Redhead. – Daniel DeLuca
WEST COAST REGION
Running back Carlin Fils-Aime will make waves for
Naples this season.
QB Jack Allison, Palmetto
RB Johnnie Lang, Manatee
RB Zaquandre White, North Fort Myers
WR T.J. Chase, IMG Academy
WR Emmanuel Greene, IMG Academy
TE Isaac Nauta, IMG Academy
OL Tyler Gerald, IMG Academy
OL Justin Henderson, IMG Academy
OL Ladarius Richardson, Booker
OL Alex Salguero, Braden River
OL Luke Clifton, Manatee
UT Tyrin Summers, Clewiston
DL Shavar Manuel, IMG Academy
DL Kordell Slater, Port Charlotte
DL Malik Barrow, IMG Academy
DL Jarrod Hewitt, Venice
LB Jango Glackin, IMG Academy
LB Mi’Cario Stanley, North Fort Myers
LB Rahshaun Smith, IMG Academy
DB Saivion Smith, IMG Academy
DB Tyler Byrd, Naples
DB Khalil Ladler, IMG Academy
DB O’Shea Grant, Riverview
UT Michael Cannon, Booker
1. IMG Academy
5. South Fort Myers