The country is in the middle of a pandemic with the coronavirus still doing damage throughout the states, but many of those around the country are trying to return to some kind of normalcy. Usually, in mid to late August, high school football begins, followed by college football and then the NFL. Instead, every day of every week is met with some new skepticism on whether the season can start on time, be delayed, or can be played at all.
Hernando County is currently taking aim at a possible date of September 14th (unofficially) to start fall sports practices. Obviously high school football would fall into that realm and that is a pretty big deal around Florida nowadays. Will they or will they not play ball is the overall question. Whether that’s through playing a full season and competing for an FHSAA state championship or just playing within the Gulf Coast 8 conference, it looks like for now high school football may still happen in Hernando County. That’s where we come in to give you all the scoop on rankings, games, and players to watch out for. As pre-fall conditioning continues, here is our first Hernando Sun Top 5 Prep Football Poll of 2020.
1. Nature Coast: Though the Sharks went 6-6 last season, they made the deepest run of any Hernando County team and they return a cupboard full of talent on both sides of the ball. The playmaker on both sides will be WR/CB Dedric Hall, who is expected to make plays all over the field. Running back by committee was the tale of the tape in 2019, but Issac Edwards looks to make a name for himself. Nature Coast has a slight edge over rival Springstead.
2. Springstead: The Eagles did lose some really good ballplayers from last season. Middle linebacker Adrian Cabrera is the player that comes to mind almost immediately for the Eagles. That defensive presence in the middle will be lost, but this defense will get a boost via the coaching circles. Former Eagles head coach Bill Vonada is back as an assistant and they both look for a return trip to the postseason.
3. Hernando: The Leopards are going through a transition right now when it comes to head coaches, as Rob Kazmier has to step down due to committing more time to his family. Who steps into his shoes now is former Tampa Hillsborough defensive coordinator Earl Garcia III. Garcia comes in with an extensive football background and one of the main reasons is because he wanted to be with a close-knit tight community. He will totally get that from the City of Brooksville.
4. Weeki Wachee: It’s still a work in process when it comes to Chris Cook’s version of the Weeki Wachee Hornets. This team was able to pull off a couple wins last season, but now it’s time to take another step in the learning process. Cook likes to keep the ball on the ground and relay on the run game. Throwing the football is minimum within the realm of his offense and the Hornets will need to learn how to fully grasp Cook’s terminology.
5. Central: The Bears have some identity searching to do before they can really get off the ground. Finding the new go-to-guy with Contae Cason seemingly set to transfer, is a task that might be too much to handle. Cason rushed for over 1,500 yards and still is highly regarded as one of the top players around. What the Bears will do moving forward is a great question for Rob Walden and crew.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.