TAMPA — If you play wide receiver and King is on your schedule this season, you might want to take a look at senior defensive back Demetrius Mann.
One thing that is guaranteed — he will be taking a look at you.
“I think watching film is the best thing. Watching the man you will see that Friday lets me know what I need to do and how hard I need to work,” Mann said.
Mann started playing football when he was 4 years old, and he played multiple positions on both sides of the ball growing up. He continued to play both offense and defense until the end of his sophomore year at King, when Mann decided he wanted to focus on being a defensive back.
“I had a fire in me to play defense. It’s just an adrenaline rush. I love being physical,” Mann said.
This season, Mann will anchor a defense that should keep the Lions in any game they play regardless of what the offense is able to accomplish.
For Mann, coming up with an interception gives him just as much satisfaction as when he scored touchdowns while playing on the offensive side.
“(An interception) gives the offense a chance to score. It means the team is playing well,” Mann said.
If you don’t see Mann near the ball, it might be because the receiver he is covering isn’t open.
“I don’t think too many teams will be throwing his way,” King head coach Trey Thomas said.
King has a rushing attack that will be looking to replace several key playmakers lost to graduation. Junior Otis Williams had 599 yards rushing on just 52 carries (an average of 11.5 yard per carry) last season and will be the featured back this season.
Trey Thomas is in his first year as King’s head coach, but he was the team’s offensive coordinator the past six years. Turnovers and penalties hurt King in key spots last year and Thomas said one of the main focuses this year is staying disciplined and focusing on fundamentals.
“We have a strong senior class and they have seen how important fundamentals are. We preach it to them constantly,” Thomas said.
King’s strength can be found here. Thomas said the Lions haven put most of their best players on defense. Last year, King allowed only 17 points a game, good for second in the nine-team district.
Returning are lineman Tyrell Cobb, linebacker Andrew Fakolade and defensive back Demetrius Mann. Thomas said his team is based around being aggressive while focusing on fundamentals.
“We want to focus on assignment discipline,” Thomas said. “We tell them, ‘Do your job and trust your teammates.’ We stress having faith in one another.”
The Lions went 6-4 last season while playing in the “District of Death.” King hopes to make a playoff push this year but knows that it will have no margin for error. King’s biggest test will come in the second half of the season, when it plays Hillsborough, Robinson, Jefferson and Armwood in consecutive weeks.
“We can’t control what the other teams do. It starts with us,” Thomas said. “When we have a chip on our shoulder, we perform well.”
♦ About The Lions
Stadium: Bill Stewart Stadium, 6815 N. 56th St., Tampa
Class-District: 6A-8 (with Armwood, Blake, Chamberlain, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Leto, Lennard and Robinson)
Coach: Trey Thomas (first season)
Last season: 6-4
Aug. 29: Freedom
Sept. 5: Lennard
Sept. 12: at Middleton
Sept. 19: at Chamberlain
Sept. 26: Blake
Oct. 2: at Hillsborough
Oct. 10: Robinson
Oct. 17: at Jefferson
Oct. 24: Armwood
Oct. 31: at Leto