Head coach: Earl Garcia III
Last season’s record: 7-2
Stadium: Tom Fisher Stadium
The Olympics were this year and to honor the Tokyo Games ‘21, we will have a numbering system in Gold, Silver, and Bronze when it comes to ranking guarantees, non-guarantees, and players.
Guarantees for the ’21 campaign
Gold. No drop off from Contae Cason to Jordan Williams. Garcia III has all the confidence in his new starting back.
Silver. Offensive line will be stout. The big boys up front have been the talk of camp. They are a very good unit.
Bronze. Defense will fly around. This unit has plenty of speed and hard hitters on it.
What the Leopards can’t guarantee in ‘21
Gold. Throwing the ball a lot. Not really a staple of the offense, so don’t expect a bunch of airing it out.
Silver. Large roster. Numbers have been modest and that’s one change Garcia III has noticed being over in Hillsborough prior to Hernando.
Bronze. Pickup trucks going away. Another thing Garcia III said he noticed was there’s a lot more pickup trucks in Hernando County. That won’t be going away either.
Who can be the figureheads in ‘21?
A look at some of the key figures in the Leopards’ ’21 campaign:
Top offensive player: RB Jordan Williams. The converted wide receiver-turned-running back has himself some big shoes to fill but he’s ready to get going.
Primary defensive skill player: MLB Sam Sternberger. The senior made 87 tackles last season and could be a 100-plus guy this fall. Watch out, running backs.
Bulldozer lineman: OL Chris Tolbert. Garcia III spoke highly of his offensive line and Tolbert was the lineman he brought to North Suncoast Media Day.
Hernando 2021 schedule
8/27 Wiregrass Ranch Bulls
9/3 at Zephyrhills Bulldogs
9/10 Pasco Pirates
9/17 at Citrus Hurricanes
9/24 Nature Coast Technical Sharks
10/1 at The Villages Charter
10/8 at Springstead Eagles
10/15 Kathleen Red Devils
10/29 Sunlake Seahawks
11/5 at Lecanto Panthers
Prediction: Hernando has arguably one of the toughest schedules of any team on the North Suncoast. The Leopards have Wiregrass Ranch, Nature Coast, Zephyrhills, The Villages and Kathleen all on the slate. That and trying to replace Cason will be something to watch as Williams looks to assert himself as one of the top running backs on the North Suncoast. The matchup against Wiregrass Ranch on August 27th looks to be a doozy. Leopards could be anywhere from 5-5 to 8-2, all depending on how this team starts off.