With the 2019 high school football season just mere weeks away — preseason classics begin Aug. 16 and regular season kicks off Aug. 23 — we take a look at how Hillsborough County teams in The Laker/Lutz News coverage area stack up.
Next week, we’ll preview Pasco County teams.
Hillsborough County schools (2018 records)
- Carrollwood Day School Patriots: 6-6 overall, 2-2 region
- Freedom High School Patriots: 4-6 overall, 2-4 district
- Gaither High School Cowboys: 7-4 overall, 4-2 district
- Steinbrenner High School Warriors: 6-5 overall, 4-2 district
Players to watch from each team
- Reidel Anthony Jr., Carrollwod Day, senior athlete
- Tawfiq Thomas, Freedom, sophomore defensive tackle
- Chance Coleman, Gaither, senior linebacker
- Aidan Bitter, Steinbrenner, senior receiver
A closer look at each team
Carrollwood Day School Patriots
Head coach: Mark Jones (fourth year)
Carrollwood Day is coming off its best season in the Mark Jones era, going 6-6 and reaching the Class 2A region semifinals. However, the Patriots have big shoes to fill with the graduation of one of the area’s most prolific quarterbacks in Chris Butash (now at Division I Holy Cross) and the transfer of do-everything athlete Shelton Quarles Jr., to Calvary Christian in Clearwater.
Breaking in a new quarterback, the Patriots will look to rely heavily on senior athlete Reidel Anthony Jr., the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer wideout Reidel Anthony.
at St. Petersburg Catholic (Aug. 23, 7 p.m.)
Northside Christian (Aug. 30, 7 p.m.)
Seffner Christian (Sept. 13, 7 p.m.)
Admiral Farragut (Sept. 20, 7 p.m.)
Lake Highland Prep (Sept. 27, 7 p.m.)
at Calvary Christian (Oct. 4, 7 p.m.)
Trinity Catholic (Oct. 11, 7 p.m.)
Cambridge Christian (Oct. 18, 7 p.m.)
at St. John Neumann Catholic (Nov. 1, 7p.m.)
Freedom High School Patriots
Head coach: Chris Short (first year)
The Freedom Patriots will have its third coach in as many years, as Chris Short takes over for Henry Scurry (2018), who took over for Floyd Graham (2016-17).
Short, who also coaches girls flag football and was named the sport’s 2018-2019 Hillsborough County’s Western Conference National Division Coach of the Year, will look to translate that to a Patriots program seeking its first winning season since 2014.
Working in his favor is a seemingly manageable 2019 slate with just three teams who went above .500 last season. The Patriots, however, must find a way to replace the offensive and defensive backfield production of several of last year’s seniors, including Division I talent Jeremiah Ashe, who signed with Florida Atlantic University.
at Steinbrenner (Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.)
Robinson (Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m.)
Spoto (Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m.)
at Wharton (Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m.)
at Land O’ Lakes (Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.)
Middleton (Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.)
at Fivay (Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.)
Alonso (Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m.)
Gaither (Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m.)
at Leto (Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.)
Gaither High School Cowboys
Head coach: Kirk Karsen (third season)
Gaither seems poised to build off back-to-back 7-4 seasons and playoff appearances with a roster that has no shortage of playmakers. Key among them is the return of accurate and efficient signal-caller Tony Bartolo and Division I-caliber prospects in cornerback Jordan Oladokun (offers from Florida International and Southern Miss) and linebacker Chance Coleman, a University of South Florida commit.
Buoyed by a balanced offensive attack last season, the Cowboys look for someone to fill the shoes left behind by Jeromy Reid, who tallied more than 1,000 scrimmage yards in both his junior and senior campaigns.
at Jefferson (Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.)
Plant (Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m.)
at Plant City (Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m.)
East Bay (Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m.)
Fivay (Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.)
at Chamberlain (Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.)
Land O’ Lakes (Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.)
at Tampa Bay Tech (Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m.)
at Freedom (Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m.)
Armwood (Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.)
Steinbrenner High School Warriors
Head coach: Andres Perez-Reinaldo (eighth season)
After a disappointing 2-7 campaign in 2017, the Steinbrenner Warriors bounced back with a respectable 6-5 mark last season, closing the year with four straight wins.
Expect that positive momentum to continue again this year, as the roster, like Gaither, features a lengthy list of Division I prospects, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
Among them are incumbent starting quarterback Haden Carlson (Florida International commit), wide receivers Aidan Bitter (Iowa State commit) and Dean Patterson (Southern Miss offer), tailback Deon Silas (offers from South Alabama, South Florida, Southern Miss) and offensive lineman Matthew Adcock (offers from South Alabama, Southern Miss), among others.
Another overlooked bonus comes on special teams, with the return of All-State punter Cameron Brown and reliable kicker Trevor Haire.
Perhaps the biggest impediment to the team’s success is a relatively difficult slate that includes Tampa Bay perennial powerhouses in Hillsborough and Plant, as well as Chamberlain and Sickles high schools. Regardless, the Warriors figure to be an exciting team, with plenty of high-scoring outputs.
Freedom (Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.)
at Sickles (Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m.)
at Spoto (Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m.)
Alonso (Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m.)
Hillsborough (Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m.)
at Plant (Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.)
at Blake (Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.)
Palm Harbor University (Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m.)
at Wharton (Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m.)
Chamberlain (Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.)
Published August 07, 2019