STADIUM: Steinbrenner Field, 5575 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road, Lutz CLASS-DISTRICT: 7A-7 (with Freedom, Gaither, Sickles, Tampa Bay Tech, and Wiregrass Ranch) COACH: Andres Perez-Reinaldo (5-5, second season) LAST SEASON: 5-5
QB Fitch invaluable to Warriors
Curtis Fitch has been a constant for Steinbrenner since becoming the squad’s starting quarterback as a freshman.
Warriors coach Andres Perez-Reinaldo said Fitch is like another coach on the field.
“He makes sure that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do, he leads by example and does everything we ask,” said Perez, who was the squad’s offensive coordinator before taking over as coach last season.
Now, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior is on a mission to help the fifth-year program earn its first playoff berth.
“We centered our offseason workouts and practices around getting to the playoffs,” said Fitch, who threw for 1,031 yards and seven touchdowns last year. “We need the playoffs; we want the playoffs, and this is my last chance to help this team do that.”
The often overlooked third side of football has been one of Steinbrenner’s strengths the last few years.
The Warriors averaged more than 21 yards per return last season, and that trend continued during a 22-21 win against Alonso in the spring game.
That comeback win included kickoff returns for of 81 and 82 yards for touchdowns by junior Kezio Snelling, with the second coming with 33 seconds remaining in the contest.
Steinbrenner stumbled to a 1-4 start last season, but responded with three straight wins to close the season 5-5.
Add in a last-second, comeback win against Alonso in their spring game, and the Warriors are rolling with much momentum.
“I think you can really feel that helping us right now,” Snelling said. “We all know what we can do if we just listen to our coaches and put in the work like we have in our last four games.”
The Warriors graduate their four starting defensive backs from last year.
“We lost our starters, but we’ve got a bunch of guys who got plenty of playing time last year,” Perez-Reinaldo said. “Coach (Cedric) Roberts does a great job working with our DBs, and I think that will continue to be an area where we’re very strong at.”
The Warriors will also be without Kendall Pearcey and Jon Marc Carrier, who produced 2,184 yards of offense and 19 touchdowns last year.
Fitch said he isn’t worried and believes they still have the athletes to make explosive plays.
“Kezio Snelling really showed us all something in the spring game, and he’s a real humble guy,” Fitch said. “We’ve got Shyheem Barthel coming back and Cody Burgess, and those are all guys who learned from Jon Marc and Kendall.