HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY PRESEASON TOP 5 TEAMS
1. Armwood – 14-1 last season; District and Regional Champions, State Runner up returning veteran players on both sides of the ball including QB Noah Johnson and DL Byron Cowart. Aaron Covington and Jordan Griffin will be headhunters on defense while Trevor Laurent and Caylan Holloway will fill the highlight reel on offense. Armwood has many of the pieces needed to reach the 16th game of the season for the second year in a row; Athletic offensive line, fast defensive line, aggressive skill players and a smart QB. Look for the Hawks to roll this year.
2. Jefferson – 10-2 last year losing to one team twice (Armwood). Dragons bring back the majority of the defense, acquired a promising sophomore QB (Cade Weldon) and are loaded at the skill positions. Porter is gone and took his talented receivers with him. Chavez Pownell, Juwuan Brown and Geno Harrington have left the defense in the hands of Ashante Dennard and Jeremiah Baltrip. WR Maurice Moore, WR Taj Jenkins and RB Mondreas Lofton will put up numbers! An impressive spring game, quality offensive line and a bevy of skill players land the Dragons at the #2 spot!
3. Tampa Bay Tech – Titans did not make the playoff last season finishing the season at 6-4. However, they are as talented as ever with more depth, experience and a coaching staff that has now been together for a few seasons. Deon Cain is the headliner on offense that will play some QB, RB and WR. While teams will focus on Cain, Darrell Turner, Deuantarious Jamison and Daquon Green will look to dent opposing defenses. The front seven for the Titans are big, strong and aggressive starting with Spradley and Jones on the defensive line.
4. Plant – 11 win team just a year ago winning the District and Regional Championship. Panthers will break in a new QB in Rex Culpepper, but return a veteran offensive line and defensive line. Myles Scott, Raeder Frantzen and Kyle Henderson will be the strength of the defense and Jordan Reed, Clarke Miller, Luke McFadden and Patrick Brooks will be the skill playmakers on the offense. Look for CB Derrick Baity to contribute on offense and special teams also.
5. Sickles – In Ray-Ray [McCloud III] we trust. With Isaac [Holder], we believe. 11-2 and District Champions last season, Gryphons will reload this year replacing 8 on defense including ATH Josh Black, DE Deven Santana and LB Anthony Janezic. The offensive line took a hit on the left side, in addition to TE Chet Levay and WR Jaaron Barret. Until a team finds an answer for the Holder/McCloud combo, the Gryphons will remain in the top 5.