STADIUM: Anclote Stadium, 1540 Sweetbriar Drive, Holiday CLASS-DISTRICT: 5A-7 (with Gulf, Hudson, Ridgewood, River Ridge, and Wesley Chapel) COACH: Matt Wicks (12-29, fourth season) LAST SEASON: 6-5
Barrett leads way for Sharks
Anclote returns arguably Pasco County's top running back, but coach Matt Wicks believes even more can be in store following last year's 1,405-yard, 14-touchdown season.
Willie Barrett FB/LB 5-10 210 Sr. Barrett is stronger, faster and a legitimate pass-catching threat out of the backfield following an exhaustive offseason conditioning program.
“He's 15 to 20 pounds heavier and his arms are giants,” Wicks said. “College teams loved his toughness and power last year, but questioned his burst. He's worked hard on that, so he's going to be even tougher to take down in the open field now.”
Brandon Vinkler, So., QB/linebacker
Vinkler appears to be the front-runner to win the starting job following the graduation of long-time starter John Forgione, getting all of the 7-on-7 reps. At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, the lefty has the size and strength to run and throw effectively, plus Wicks says he's “got a real high level of football intelligence.”
Austin Rumer, Sr., tight end/linebackerDespite missing most of last season to a back injury, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Rumer returns as one of the Sharks' most dynamic playmakers, causing matchup problems for slower linebackers and smaller defensive backs, but defensively is where he'll make the biggest impact. Rumer will move from end to inside linebacker, replacing the school's all-time leading tackler: Terrell Martin. “Austin is a prototypical college linebacker size wise,” Wicks said. “He's a talented player, but the biggest thing is he has to stay healthy.”
Trent Crawford, Sr., RB/linebacker
Crawford joins Barrett and Rumer in the Sharks' 3-5 defense, bringing speed to track ball carriers sideline to sideline and intelligence to dissect plays. He will be key if the Sharks are to earn a return trip to the state playoffs. Crawford is so valuable to Anclote that he's on every special teams package, including as return man. “Trent does so many things well for us that we want him out there as often as possible,” Wicks said.
Size on the defensive/offensive line
While Anclote has experienced playmakers, there will be a distinct lack of size on both sides of the line. Senior Mario Atkins and sophomore Denver Eldridge will open the season around just 200 pounds and none will weigh more than 225. Back from a unit that lost three starters to graduation are senior tackles Andre Piche' and Alek Smith, so Wicks said there's “definite concern about opening holes for Barrett and giving Vinkler time to throw.” This unit will also form the Sharks' front three on defense, meaning they'll have to use athleticism and quickness to offset larger opponents.