Photography by CHERYL CLANTON
Can you smell the freshly coated paint drying on a high school field near you? Well we can and official prep football practices start on Monday and there’s plenty of storylines to go around the entire table for everyone. One of the biggest was the resignation of Bill Vonada at Hernando during the spring, but the former Leopards’ coach didn’t stay away from the sidelines for too long. Vonada found his way out to Weeki Wachee to become the school’s athletic director and an assistant coach under Hornets’ lead man Jacob Gray. Will Nature Coast’s running game take it to the next level? Can Springstead potentially boast two 1,000-hard rushers? How will Central fare under new coach John Warren? We try and answer each team’s biggest question mark heading into preseason 2018.
How will John Warren fare in Year 1 at Central?
2017 wasn’t kind to the Bears, with the program only winning two games and then saw Chris Sands resign to take a head coaching gig at Eau Gallie High School on the east coast. Now steps in defensive-minded John Warren, who should bring some stability at Central. If the spring game told us anything, the Bears will do two things very well: Run the football, play solid defense.
Can Rob Kazmier emulate what Bill Vonada did last season?
It’s a tall task to ask of a first-year head coach, but if anyone is up to the challenge, it’s Rob Kazmier. The Leopards won the Class 5A, District 7 championship last season and the buzz around Hernando’s program making the playoffs was making waves heading into last spring until the resignation of Vonada happened. Now plenty of question marks surround Hernando, but Kazmier plans to keep the Leopards returning to the postseason and contending for district titles. He has plenty of experience in Hernando County and should fare well in Year 1.
Does Nature Coast have the best offense in Hernando County?
Debatable, but the Sharks definitely pose a strong argument in boasting likely the best offensive group in Hernando County. Nature Coast coach Cory Johns returns quarterback Fabian Burnett under center and the signal caller was a dual-threat every time he dropped back to pass. Combine running back Mike Weston with Burnett in the backfield the the duo pose one of the top 1-2 punches not only in Hernando County, but maybe the Tampa Bay area.
Can Springstead have two 1,000 yard rushers this fall?
Quite possibly so and there’s not much to debate why quarterback Adrian Fribley and running back Nathan Sims couldn’t surpass the 1,000-yard marks when it’s all said and done this 2018 campaign. Both Fribley and Sims are very capable runners and pose a threat to score anytime they touch the ball. Throw in that the team is much improved up at the line of scrimmage and the Eagles could be aiming to rush for over 2,500 yards as a team.
What kind of seasons should we expect from Vaughn Sykora and Sebastian Class at Weeki Wachee?
Big ones. From the both of them nonetheless. Sykora looked much calmer in the pocket against Holiday Anclote in the spring game, especially in the second half of play in a come-from-behind victory. The signal caller should throw for over 1,000 yards this fall. Class on the other hand is also primed for a big season, as he impressed against Anclote and could be in line for a 1,500-yard kind of campaign. If both can play at their potential, the Hornets will be able to compete with anyone on their schedule.