THERE ARE mANY DEDICATED HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL players in this region, some who are nationally known and others who fly under the radar and are known only to their crosstown rivals and district foes. As the 2013 season progresses, each player will do his best in an effort to lead his team
into the playoffs. And in the end there may be a handful of quarterbacks, running backs, receivers or linemen, on both sides of the
ball, who turn enough heads that they get the opportunity to play
football at the next level.
Pasco’s football program doesn’t rebuild, it simply reloads. Sev-
eral playmakers who helped the Pirates win 25 games the past two
seasons are gone, but don’t expect Pasco to take a step back.
Enter sophomore wide receiver and defensive back Nate Craig,
who has dozens of college offers even though he has yet to have
a breakout season. In 2012, Craig was a freshman playing behind
senior playmakers, but he still had 7 receiving touchdowns and 4
interceptions. In addition, his physical traits – he’s 6-3, 200 pounds
– have college recruiters salivating.
Craig isn’t the only standout on Pasco’s roster. Senior Malik
Johns should have a great season and gain more college interest,
as well as quarterback Ben Chandler, who has worked hard to learn
Pasco’s intricate offense.
Pasco also has a very large defensive line, anchored by sopho-
more Jamal Mention ( 6-4, 275 pounds), R.J. Scaife ( 6-5, 245) and
Jacob Schildt ( 6-3, 215 pounds).
The only thing the Pirates are missing is a go-to running back.
But with the likes of Craig, Johns and junior Brandon Ray, that may
not be an issue for coach Tom McHugh and company.
CURIOUS ABOUT CONGdON
Lake Gibson’s Trey Congdon is probably the Heartland’s top
passer, but many are wondering exactly what type of season he will
have. After passing for 2,199 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2012,
Congdon’s performance will be a deciding factor in how many
games the Braves win and how deep they go in the playoffs. Lake
Gibson will have its work cut out, but don’t forget many of its defensive players return after allowing just 134 total points last year.
WHO’S WHO AT WINTER HAVEN
Lots of new faces will be in the Winter Haven lineup after the
Ja’Von Harrison, Kathleen
Blue Devils suffered a one-point loss to Mainland in the regional
semifinals last season. Winter Haven has a new quarterback, Dar-
ian Mills, and needs to replace a 1,000-yard rusher. With Lake
Gibson returning several experienced starters, the battle for Class
Photo by Ernst Peters, The Ledger
QB Trey Congdon
RB Dacorius Law
RB T.J. Simmons
WR Ja’Von Harrison
WR Nate Craig
TE D.J. Scaife
OL Luke Palmer
OL Luke Hiers
OL Marcos Applefield Weeki Wachee
OL Mike McFarlane
OL Javonte Williams
UT Kendrick Holland
DL Keyon Brown
DL Harrison Johnson
DL Ruben Brown Lake Gibson
DL Chris Nelson
LB D. J. Brown
LB Cecil Cherry
LB Blade Denmark
DB Timadre Abram
DB Marcus Walker
DB Kendall Gant
DB Derwin James
UT Tobias Culpepper
TOP 5 TEAmS
1LAKE WALES: The Highlanders return their quarterback and top running back
from an 8-5 team in 2012.
2LAKE GIBSON: Trey Congdon looks to lead the Braves back to the playoffs
following a 10-1 season in 2012.
3PASCO: Always tough, the Pirates finished 12-1 last year and have some of
the best underclassmen in the state.
4WINTER HAVEN: The Blue Devils will have to replace Adam Lane, but are ripe
with talent and should cruise through their
5LAKELANd: After graduating a large senior class, the Dreadnaughts
will need some youngsters to step up,
but a postseason appearance is standard
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FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL FLORIDA 2013