BELL BULLDOGS (1A- 6)
2013 RECORD: 8-3
THE COACH: Joey Whittington
THE PLA YERS: Christian Whiting (Sr., DE/FB), Austin Aderholt
(Jr., DE/OG), Jimmie Buckler (Sr., LB), Cole White (Sr., RB/
DB), Dylan Ritchey (Sr., C), Colby Whitby (Sr., OL/DL), Branden Thomas (Jr., S/WR), Randy Oslager (Jr., RB/DB), Bobby
Fowler (Jr., DT/OT), Chance Rolling (Jr., OG/DT)
THE WORD: The biggest challenge for the Bulldogs will be
replacing graduated senior Austin Ritchey, who ran for a
school-record 2,215 yards and helped lead Bell to its first
playoff berth. But with six returning starters on offense and
six on defense, the cupboard is far from bare. Buckler ( 59
tackles) and Thomas ( 51 tackles) were two of the leading
tacklers last season, while Aderholt led the team with 4. 5
sacks. “We return a lot of our lines on both sides and will
look for them to be the strength of our team,” said second-year coach Whittington. “We are looking to field a competitive team in 2014 and continue our success of 2013. The
schedule is tougher this fall with non-district games at Mayo
Lafayette and The Villages, along with a home game against
Brookwood, a 3A school from Thomasville, Ga.
BELLEVIEW RATTLERS (5A- 5)
2013 RECORD: 3-7
THE COACH: Phillip Yancey
THE PLAYERS: Erik Pitts (Sr., QB/LB), Jordan Collett (Sr., FS),
Kevante Duncan (Sr., CB), Blake Norush (Sr., DL/OL), Johnny
Taylor (Jr., CB/RB/Slot), Edward Motley (Jr., RB), Shakir Fontenot (So., WR), Kenneth Franklin (Jr., WR), Daniel Claudio
(Jr., SS), Matthew McFeeley (So., DL)
THE WORD: The offense is once again led by Pitts ( 1,600
total yards and 16 TDs), a dual-threat quarterback who
has caught the eye of several major Division I programs.
He will be complemented by Motley and Taylor, a transfer
from Trinity Catholic who averaged a county-best 8. 7 yards
per carry last season. With those three in the backfield,
expect Belleview to score a lot of points with the up-tempo
offense coach Yancey installed during spring practice. The
biggest question is the offensive line, which has to replace
five seniors. The Rattlers are deep at wide receiver and are
expecting a lot of Fontenot, who is turning the heads of college scouts. But if Belleview is going to turn the program
around it will have to begin on defense, which allowed over
3,000 yards rushing in 2013. The defensive strength is in
the secondary, which has two returning starters (Collett and
Duncan) and newcomers Claudio and Taylor.
2013 RECORD: 2-8
THE COACH: Craig Moore
THE PLAYERS: Noah Clanahan (Sr., TE/FS), Will Beatty (Sr.,
OL/LB), Will Potosky (Sr., TE), Eric Pitton (Sr., HB/S/ TE), Colin
Hankin (Jr., DE/ TE), Jonah Moor (Sr., FB/LB, Sr.)
THE WORD: Bishop McLaughlin, which is in only its seventh
season of football, will compete as an independent this fall
after going winless in District 4-3A. “We are excited about
the upcoming season,” said first-year coach Moore, who
takes over for former Florida State star Derrick Alexander.
“We have a strong core group to build around.” The Hurricanes return four starters on both offense and defense.
Coach Moore feels the new defensive approach will be
much better, while the new offensive scheme is designed to
better fit the personnel. Potosky (599 yards receiving) and
Clanahan (328 all-purpose yards, 77 tackles) should once
again be the leading contributors for the Hurricanes. They’re
also expecting big things from Moor, a transfer from Canada.
BRADFORD TORNADOES (4A- 4)
2013 RECORD: 3-7
THE COACH: Steve Reynolds
THE PLAYERS: Jacob Luke (Sr., QB), Jameaze McNeal (Jr.,
LB), Roderick Broomfield (Sr., DB), Don Jeffers (Sr., TE/OLB),
Jarvis Desue (Jr., RB)
THE WORD: Despite only three wins last season, the Tornadoes were able to get into the postseason after a two-year
hiatus, and they were only two points away from winning
the district title. They lose UAB signee Kenny Dinkins, who
led the Gainesville-area with 915 yards receiving and nine
touchdowns, but Luke is back at quarterback. He threw for
1,383 yards and 14 TDs in 2013. The Tornadoes have some
young receivers who are looking forward to their opportunity.
Desue is an experienced back who has had a lot of carries
during his tenure. “We have a veteran offensive line that is
hoping to blossom this year, and we’re excited about our
front seven on the defensive side,” added coach Reynolds,
whose team lost to district champion Keystone Heights,
21-20, and will host the Indians in the district finale this fall
BRANFORD BUCCANEERS (1A- 5)
2013 RECORD: 3-7
THE COACH: Roy Harden
THE PLAYERS: Anthony Akers (Sr., WR/DB), Caleb Land (Sr.,
TE/LB), Brandon Wilson (Sr., RB/DB), Alec Burt (Sr., RB/LB),
Shawn Belanger (Sr., TE/LB), Kenyon McFatten (Jr., DT)
THE WORD: The Buccaneers struggled down the stretch as
they lost five in a row to end the 2013 season. In order to
have a chance at a winning season, they will have to shore
up the defense. Last year, Branford allowed 37 points per
game, including 48 per game in three district contests. Ak-
ers ( 33 tackles), Land ( 32) and Wilson ( 31), who also had 82
carries for 376 yards and four TDs, return on the defensive
side of the ball. The Buccaneers have a stable of running
backs with varsity experience in Wilson, Burt and junior Ja-
son Chavez, while juniors Nathan Sumner, Johnathan Carrier
and Jeremy Onuska return on the offensive line, along with
senior Blake Darling.
BRONSON EAGLES (1A- 6)
2013 RECORD: 5-5
THE COACH: Cameron Porch
THE PLAYERS: Tyler Sistrunk (Sr., LB,), Montrez Jackson (So.,
RB), Garry Mitchell (So., LB), Zach Chemin (Sr., OL), Michael
Coughlin (Sr., OL), Gavyn Thomas (Sr., TE)
THE WORD: Bronson is finally senior heavy and the coaches
claim the Eagles have a very tight-knit group. “The dividends
of our hard work started to pay off last year,” said coach
Porch, who is entering his third season. “Now we want to
carry that momentum into 2014.” Several new players have
joined the program and the Eagles have a class of sophomores with a great deal of promise. A total of 19 lettermen
are back for another season, including seven starters on
offense and eight on defense. Bronson is experienced on
the offensive line with Chemin ( 6-3, 224) and Coughlin (5-
11, 215), along with Thomas ( 6-3, 197) at tight end. Expect
returning linebackers Sistrunk ( 92 tackles) and Mitchell ( 67
tackles) to lead the defense.
BUCHHOLZ BOBCATS (7A- 3)
2013 RECORD: 3-7
THE COACH: Mark Whittemore
THE PLAYERS: Jackson White (Jr., QB), Naquan Howard (Sr.,
DB/WR), Laron James (Sr., DB/WR), James Tomlinson (Sr.,
DB), Jaleel Brown (Sr., OL), Barry Moore (Jr., DB)
THE WORD: This year’s squad brings good speed to the perimeter and has solid depth at linebacker and defensive back.
White is one of six starters returning on offense. After a solid
sophomore year in which he threw for 886 yards, he’s poised
to improve. One of his primary receivers is back as well. Howard led the team with 347 yards receiving and tied for the
team lead with 24 catches in 2013. He also accounted for
423 yards on punt and kick returns. Tomlinson, who led the
team with 80 tackles and was second with 10. 5 tackles for
a loss, is one of six defensive starters back. James and Howard, who had two interceptions each, anchor the secondary.
According to the coaches, there is good leadership and the
attitude was good heading into the summer. The Bobcats
should improve on their 3-7 record from last season.
CENTRAL BEARS (5A- 6)
2013 RECORD: 0-10
THE COACH: Chris Sands
THE PLAYERS: Cody Brooks (Sr., QB), John Templar (Sr., OLB),
Chris Hernandez (Sr., MLB), Breon Wyatt (Jr., WR), Manny Scott
(Jr., WR), Albon Jones (Jr., RB/LB), De’Vonta Smith (So., RB/CB)
THE WORD: First-year coach Sands brings youth and excitement
to a struggling program that has gone 2-28 the past three seasons. He overhauled the coaching staff and installed a spread,
no-huddle offense, which figures to keep defenses off-balance.
“This was the perfect opportunity for me,” Sands said. “This
team really hasn’t been successful, but I have experience with
schools like this. The two schools I was at before were down
before we got there, and we turned them around that first year.
I knew coming in they haven’t had success here in the past, but
I knew the potential.” Dual-threat QB Brooks returns with some
new weapons outside, including Wyatt and Scott. The Bears
return five starters on offense and five on defense. Smith is a
sophomore sensation with home run capabilities and brings
an explosive force to the backfield. He averaged 6. 49 yards per
carry as a freshman. Central has a tough defense that’s led by
returning linebackers Hernandez, who led the team last year with
129 tackles, and Templar ( 55 tackles). This is a team on the rise
and the Bears should be improved under their new head coach.
“We have a lot of new faces player-wise and on the coaching
staff,” Sands said. “We should be able to turn things around in
the win-loss column. I’m looking forward to it.”
CHIEFLAND INDIANS (1A- 7)
2013 RECORD: 7-3
THE COACH: Aaron Richardson
THE PLAYERS: G.G. McClendon (Sr., DB), Alphonso Timmons
(Sr., RB), Austin Vincent (Sr., OL), Willie Brannon (Sr., DL,),
Billy Hammond (Jr., LB), Vanden Fehmerling (Jr., TE)
THE WORD: The Indians have shown considerable progress
under coach Richardson in just three seasons. First, Chiefland snapped a 23-game losing streak in Richardson’s inaugural season; followed by a .500 record in 2012; and then
seven victories and a near-playoff appearance last season
in a loaded district. Because of their physical style of play,
the Indians should be able to run the football. They are built
to be a grind-it-out physical offense that is led by Timmons
( 2,500 yards rushing last two years), a strong, physical and
very durable runner. Chiefland has good size up front on both
sides of the ball with Brannon ( 6-5, 275) and Vincent ( 6-4,
260), an Ivy League recruit. Defensively, the Indians have a
swarming and attacking group of young players. Timmons
and Hammond will look to replace a good group of linebackers. McClendon (five interceptions) is expected to lead a
young secondary. If the Indians can develop a quarterback,
fill some homes in the kicking game, get stronger and stay
healthy, expect them to compete for a district championship.
CITRUS GOLDEN HURRICANES
2013 RECORD: 9-2
THE COACH: Justin Taylor
THE PLAYERS: Sam Franklin (Sr., WR/DB), Desmond Franklin
(Sr., WR/DB), John Bronson (Sr., SS), Gabriel Wilcox (Sr., DB),
Breon Whaley (Sr., RB), Travis Blotz (Sr., ILB)
CHRIS SANDS ACCEPTED THE HEAD coaching position at Central High last December at the age of 26. Although e is relatively young for a head
coach, he comes to Central with a variety of
coaching experience that includes a previous
stint as the associate head coach at Seminole
High in Pinellas County. He also has served
as the offensive coordinator and interim head
coach at St. Petersburg-Gibbs and the offensive
line coach at Tallahassee-Maclay School. Prior
to his coaching career, he was an offensive lineman at Florida A&M.
What excites you about the 2014 season?
The biggest thing is to see the kids’ faces
after they win. This program has not won a lot
of games in the last two years. We’re going to
win games. I’m looking forward to seeing that
change in mentality, and seeing the faces when
they look up at the scoreboard after those wins.
They’ve been working their butts off.
In what area of the game do you expect
the team to be strongest?
I’m an offensive guy, so I’m always going to
say offense. We had over 400 yards of offense
in our spring game. We have a good quarterback and good skill group. Our offensive line
has some experience. Defensively, they’re eager to run around and make plays.
Can you quantify how much support
your team receives from the school and
When I took the job, the administration and
faculty support was awesome. The community
has been really good to us. It’s a smaller town,
not a real small town, but they’ve been awesome.
What will the fan experience be like at
your stadium on a Friday night this fall?
We had a good atmosphere for our spring
game. We had the stands packed, and it was a
sneak peak of what we’ll see on Friday nights.
The talk is definitely there. People are giving us
high hopes, and we’re giving them high hopes.
Hopefully that will show on Friday nights.
– Dan Guttenplan