Tampa Catholic, 9-4 and Class 2A state semifinalist in 2008, travels to Groveland tonight to take on South Lake, which is coming off a 5-5 season in 2008. The game at the Eagles Nest (15600 Silver Eagle Road, Groveland) begins at 7.
This is the season opener for both teams. Tampa Catholic did not play in a kickoff classic last week because an outbreak of swine flu at the school caused Collier County Schools officials to not allow Lely High School to host the visitors from Tampa. South Lake defeated Lecanto, 39-6.
Tampa Catholic returns 1,200-yard rusher Henry McCloud and superb defensive back Jeremi Wilks back from last year’s Class 2A state semifinalist squad, which lost in a 19-17 heartbreaker to Miami Gulliver Prep.
South Lake loses two key players off of its 2008 squad that finished 5-5 in offensive tackle Jonotthan Harrison (now at the University of Florida) and RB Titus Mobley (who rushed for over 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2008). The Eagles will shift to a spread offense this year, which will feature QB/SS Stanley Evans in a prominent role (as both a passer and a runner), in addition to WR Curtis Davis (521 receiving yards, 2 TDs in 2008)
Christian Green, QB, 6-2, 200, Class of 2010: The talented QB is a threat to break a big play anytime he touches the ball. His play for the Crusaders will be key tonight against a fast South Lake defense that has a secondary who has the ability to lock down a lot of opposing wide receiver corps. When plays break down, will Green be able to make things happen with his legs? South Lake’s ability to limit his (considerable) ability to run the ball will be a big key in this game. Green has been relatively quiet on the recruiting front in recent weeks. Florida and Florida State appear to remain at the top for his services, with the Seminoles believed to have a slight lead.
Chaz Green, OL, 6-6, 290, Class of 2010: The big offensive lineman is considered one of the top tackle prospects in the country. Green isn’t tested too often, as he simply manhandles the majority of the opponents he faces on a weekly basis. That may not be the case on Friday, going up against South Lake’s defensive line, which has the size and speed to give the Tampa Catholic front fits. Luckily for Green, he only needs to give his QB a split second, as the majority of the time, Christian Green needs a little opening in order to make the big play. Green has been quoted multiple times as saying the Gators are out in front, but he does plan to take visits to both Ohio State and USC as well.
Hunter Joyer, FB, 5-11, 240, Class of 2011: A big, physical fullback who rushed for over 1,000 yards at Wesley Chapel last year, Joyer has made the move to a potential state championship team where he should see time as a bruising fullback, in addition to time on defense up front, and possibly at linebacker. A powerful downhill runner, whose strength in the weight room is nearly unrivaled at the high school level, Joyer is a better athlete than he might look at first glance. Although the fullback position is slowly dying in football, most teams who even consider using the position in the offense will be hard-pressed not to take a look at Joyer next year. His older brother Kamran is a freshman offensive lineman at Louisville.
Nick Waisome, CB, 5-10, 165, Class of 2011: An interception return for a TD in last week’s kickoff classic win over Lecanto capped off Waisome’s meteoric rise from seldom-used WR in 2008 to top-rated junior DB prospect heading into the 2009 season. Waisome will be used on both offense and defense this fall, and from what he has shown to date, he should make a lot of plays on both sides of the ball. Waisome was the only DB Florida offered on Tuesday (the first day allowable for written offers to go out to junior prospects) and the Gators are on Waisome’s short list, along with Florida State, Miami, South Carolina, Georgia and USC for the time being.
Jordan Montgomery, SS/LB, 6-0, 195, Class of 2011: Upside is the name of the game with Montgomery. Big, fast, and with the ability to close like a freight train, Montgomery plays the free safety position at South Lake with reckless abandon. While he might project more as an outside linebacker on the next level, for now he brings a high level of intensity to the secondary for the Eagles. Unlike fellow junior teammate Waisome, Montgomery didn’t earn any offers this week, but keep on the lookout for him, the big colleges will come calling soon enough.
Tampa Catholic has a lot of experience in big games, so I highly doubt the atmosphere will intimidate the Crusaders on Friday night. However, South Lake is riding a wave of momentum from their kickoff classic win last week. After seeing both teams practice in the spring, I feel like the Eagles simply have too much speed to be denied. I do think the Crusaders make this a contest, however. Score: South Lake 28, Tampa Catholic 24.