By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports reporter
(FILE PHOTOS by Cheryl Clanton)
Prep football begins everywhere throughout the state of Florida with preseason kickoff classics and Hernando County’s five teams will be in action this week. The county returns a lot of talent that gets a bit underlooked because of the minimal amount of schools within the county. We take a look at the top prep football players in Hernando County heading into the 2019 season.
Fabian Burnett, QB/S, Nature Coast Technical: Burnett is back for the Sharks after nearly guiding the club to the state semifinals last season. The right-handed quarterback is in a competition with Vaughn Sykora for the starting gig. Burnett threw for 1,041 yards and 13 touchdowns last fall.
Vaughn Sykora, QB, Nature Coast Technical: Battling Burnett for the starting quarterback position at Nature Coast is Sykora, who threw for 1,785 yards and 21 touchdowns at Weeki Wachee last year. Now the signal caller could be splitting time with Burnett under center.
Kinyatah Morgan, RB/LB, Nature Coast Technical: With Mike Weston now graduated, Morgan becomes the next in line when it comes to great running backs from Nature Coast. Morgan rushed for 377 yards and scored five touchdowns last season for the Sharks.
Michael Marotta, OL, Nature Coast Technical: Paving the way up front on the offensive line for the Sharks will be senior offensive lineman Michael Marotta. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound lineman is the Sharks’ top guy in the trenches.
Kevon Williams, RB, Hernando: The elusive tailback looked good during the spring and returns this fall as the potential go-to-back in Rob Kazmier’s offense. With several key players having graduated last season, Williams has a chance to be a 1,000-yard running back.
Isaiah Brown, TE/LB, Hernando: Brown was a big target for the Leopards’ passing game last season, as he hauled in 27 passes for 377 yards. The 6-foot-2, 227-pound tight end returns to Hernando as one of the top players back on the team.
Max O’Rourke, QB, Springstead: O’Rourke only threw for just over 250 yards last season, but expect the Eagles to air out the football a little more this fall. The right-handed pitcher is one of the top quarterbacks in Hernando County this fall.
Adrian Cabrera, FB/LB, Springstead: No Springstead player was likely more important than Cabrera last season. The battering ram fullback and tackling machine at linebacker will be an important piece once again for Springstead on both sides of the ball.
Toby Rahman, RB, Springstead: Rahman rushed for 267 yards last season for the Eagles and with Nathan Sims now graduated, the senior tailback should expect to see his share of carries in the backfield.
Kaleb Morrison, LB, Central: The Bears’ defense has to improve under first-year coach Rob Walden and Morrison brings the most experience back to the unit. Morrison tacked up 25 tackles last season and is expected to lead the Bears’ defensive front seven.
Trenton Pisarski, LB, Weeki Wachee: Weeki Wachee lost a lot from last season offensively, but one bright spot is the return of Pisarski back on defense. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound linebacker made 85 tackles in the 2018 season. The senior is arguably the team’s best returning player.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.