STADIUM: Gryphons Stadium, 7950 Gunn Highway, Tampa CLASS-DISTRICT: 7A-7 (with Freedom, Gaither, Steinbrenner, Tampa Bay Tech, and Wiregrass Ranch) COACH: Brian Turner (23-8, fourth season) LAST SEASON: 8-3
LB Janezic loves all elements of game
Nobody loves football — from the nitty gritty of August practices to the grinding in the weight room to the Friday Night Lights — more than Anthony Janezic.
He may not the biggest (5-foot-10, 185 pounds), but Janezic is among the fastest, most athletic and toughest. Last year he averaged almost seven tackles a game and picked off one pass, numbers he plans to dramatically increase in 2013.
“I feel it’s going to happen,” said Janezic, who wants nothing more than to play in college, where strong safety might be his position. “I’m looking to get a few more interceptions this year and get my name out there some more.”
Above all else, Janezic said he’s prepared to sacrifice anything for the good of the team, which is why he is such a complement to the rest of the Gryphons’ solid linebacking unit.
Alongside Janezic are seniors Josh Savitz and Jonathan Torres and sophomores Jake Hampton and Cameron Miller, the latter of whom are coming on extra strong.
Add it up and the Gryphons appear to have one of the best linebacking corps in Hillsborough County.
Junior Ray Ray McCloud is arguably the best back in the county. Last year as a sophomore McCloud rushed 161 times for 1,319 yards and 12 touchdowns, and this year he’s bigger, stronger and faster.
This is probably the Gryphons’ most experienced unit with major Division-1 recruit Josh Black, Deven Santana, Kareem Blair and Logan Braswell providing much speed and strength.
Black and Santana appear capable of collecting double-digit sacks.
Zach Hudson, a University of Missouri commit, leads a group that is strong and athletic and rather good at opening up enough daylight for McCloud.
The Gryphons graduated a solid leader in Nate Mills. Junior Isaak Holder looks llke the next Gryphon quarterback after getting playing time in eight games last year where he completed 14 of 30 passes for 185 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. It does help that Sickles has a solid ground attack, which could open some passing lanes.
Sickles lost almost two-thirds of its receptions when it graduated wideouts Bilal Salat and DeAndre Mathis. The good news is that Chett Levay, who committed to Florida International, is returning.
It won’t be easy to capture the Class 7A-District 7 crown with Tampa Bay Tech and archrival Gaither in the mix, but Sickles is more than capable of pulling it off.