CAN NOT BE TOPPED OR TOP DOGS TO BE TOPPED
Winter Haven – In 2013 the Blue Devils were an impressive 9-3 under head coach Charlie Tate. The Big Blue shelved the District Champions and with win #9, that gave Winter Haven 50 wins in the last 5 years; The most in Polk County (in the past 5 years). 2010-2012 Winter Haven posted double digit wins.
Lakeland – The Dreadnaughts are the face of Polk County football and each year it’s “Championship or Bust.” Last season Bill Castle and his crew were 9-2 and District Runner-Up. Not good enough for a team that won 10-15 games each year from 2004-2011 (forfeited 13 games in 2010).
Kathleen – Now it’s time for the Red Devils to build consistency. They found some success last season with plenty of big wins and some gutsy performances finishing the season at 9-3 and District Champions. 2012 the Red Devils were 6-5, 2011 5-5 and 2010 8-4. Now it’s time for the best team in Polk last season to be the best team in Polk for another season.
SOPHOMORE ROCK STARS
Besides the flashy running back or the strong quarterback, an athletic, violent, nimble offensive lineman is a thing of beauty. Good example is Baveon Johnson, Lake Gibson. As college programs start to take notice, Johnson will continue to improve.
Tyler King, Fort Meade is probably the best running back in Polk County that is not a mainstream name. The County is deep with high-level ball carriers and he is almost at that level. A hungry, yet humble RB…King is fast, swift and tough.
The Josh Dunn (Lake Wales) factor has not taken effect in Lake Wales just yet. But it will. This dude is a player and has talent to play multiple positions in the secondary.
QBs TO WATCH
Tyler Wilkerson, Auburndale – Tough to highlight his ability in an offense built around the talented running backs. But there will be times when Wilkerson will be asked to do more, move the ball and even win games. Expect him to shine when the opportunity arises.
Christian Alexander, Lakeland Christian – Is he the best QB prospect in Polk County? The debate will go on and on until the conclusion of the season. Two things are for sure: He is smart and he can throw it. Add his size, mobility and mechanics; he makes for an attractive prospect.
Caleb Lewis, Victory Christian – No QB in Polk threw for more yards last year or helped their team advance to the state title game. Those two facts alone make Lewis a headliner for the upcoming season. Watch and Learn!
More than a combo, but a trio: Auburndale RBs Wilbur Cooper, Artavis Piece and Jessie Britt. Will be hard to key on one running back when all can take it the distance and become receiving threats.
Kaleel Gaines and Kijana Gaines at Frostproof are GRINDERS. Play several positions and rarely come off the field. The twins are pretty darn good.
If the defense wins championships, than Lake Gibson will have a good one starting in the middle with LB AJ Deshazor and Demetrius Brown. These two are head hunters and ball magnets.
Victory Christian has 30 All State selections since 2006. In 2006 the Storm went 10-4 under Dedrick Dodge (current head coach at Mulberry) and earned a District Championship, Regional Championship and State Runner Up.
Amazingly, 3 active coaches in Polk County have 100 plus win as Polk County head coaches. Rod Shafer would have made 4. But recently took over as the head coach at Warner University.
– Bill Castle: 360 wins (Lakeland 1976-Active)
– Keith DeMeyer: 145 wins (Santa Fe 1984-1988,1990-1993,Lake Gibson 2003-Active)
– Charlie Tate: 113 wins (Bartow 1989-1994,Winter Haven 2005-Active)
***- Rod Shafer: 186 wins (Lake Wales 1990-2001,2006-2013)