Czop, Johnson, Hicks…Countryside has a solid core

Countryside Cougars

2010 12-1 HC Jared Davis District Champions
2011 10-1 HC Jared Davis District Champions
2012 4-6 (9-1) HC Jared Davis (5 wins forfeited)

Take away the 5 forfeited wins in 2012, The Cougars would have a 31-3 record in three seasons under head coach Jared Davis. Impressive for sure. However, not surprising if you have ever attended a Countryside practice.  If so, you know it is intense, the coaches rarely bite their tongues on how they feel about a player’s effort or the expectations that are placed on the team. It is a winning environment and has produced positive results.

The strength of the team is the class of 2014; including Steven Czop, Mike Johnson, Robby Hicks, Giovanni Negron, Hunter Fowler and out of state transfer, Zack Laurinaitis.

Robbie Hicks_Countryside
Robbie Hicks_Countryside

Just like any team, the player that touches the ball the most has to be a great decisions maker. Robby Hicks looks like that guy for the Cougars. Saw lots of playing time last year because Countryside built a good lead on their opponents allowing back ups to play early and often. He became the starter once Christian Strong was ruled ineligible for the final half of the season. So Hicks has lots of snaps under his belt. What I did not know, Hicks is a great runner. During their scrimmage, he showed his scrambling ability and ability to throw the ball on the run.

6-3/240 lbs DE, Steven Czop is better than advertised. A rugged DE, who could grow into a 270 lbs defensive tackle at the next level and produce. He has a confidence and cockiness to him which you want in players who are in the trenches all game long. Czop is strong enough to play the run and quick enough to rush the passer. He is an every down defensive end who has a good chance of blowing up in the college weight room and becoming a really good defensive tackle.

On the opposite side of the line is Giovanni Negron. 6-4/280 lbs offensive tackle who has received more and more praise for his aggressive approach to the game. Negron is nasty between the whistle and shows good footwork in pass protection. During practice, it was evident that pass rushers took the widest angle possible to avoid getting tied up with Big Giovanni.

How good will top CB prospect, Mike Johnson be this year?  His stock has risen month by month, but this year he will be tested more as the quality of receivers has improved in Pinellas County, particularity in the Cougars district.

Will transfer Zach Laurinaitis make an impact? 6-6/205 lbs TE/WR looks the part, runs well, catches the ball and has an obvious size advantage. If  he and Hicks get on the same page, Zach will be a huge threat to opposing defenses.