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Football preview: Sunlake


Published:   |   Updated: August 30, 2013 at 03:14 AM

Wood leads Hawks’ defense

 
Ben Wood, Sr., linebacker/fullback

Ten months after suffering a torn ACL, Wood is back to full strength and looking to tear opposing offenses apart.

Wood spent the offseason rehabbing and watching game-tape to improve his footwork when he wasn’t able to actually practice it. “With an injury, it makes you realize all the negative things about yourself,” Wood said. “You go back and you analyze how you got hurt, and you train how to perfect those.”

Wood had 86 tackles in eight games last year, plus added some effective blocking at tight end. It’s not clear how much coach Bill Browning plans to use Wood on offense in 2013, but he could end up being a dangerous two-way player if he’s able to handle the workload.

SUPPLY

Joe Jean-Baptiste, Sr., receiver/defensive back

It is Jean-Baptiste’s turn to become Sunlake’s marquee big-play target after Eddie Burgos graduated. The senior has grown four inches and now stands 6-foot-2, making him an intriguing college prospect. “I love playing both ways,” Jean-Baptiste said. “It takes out a lot of energy, but our conditioning gets me ready for it. When I’m in there, I’m definitely going to make a play.” Sunlake didn’t throw the ball much last season and may not again, but expect the Seahawks to find innovative ways to get the ball in Jean-Baptiste’s hands.

Depth
No other squad in Pasco County boasts the kind of player turnout Sunlake generates this time of year. The Seahawks easily fill two practice fields with players and have a hard time getting all of them in games. But talent is there, as well. “That’s just part of the work ethic and endeavor that you try to stress,” Browning said. “You may not be starting, but you’re one play away from getting in.” They are particularly deep at linebacker and defensive back, where healthy competition is expected to yield a disciplined squad. The Seahawks are 27-5 in the past three seasons because they rarely are decimated by the loss of seniors from the previous season.

DEMAND

The passing game

Sunlake once boasted one of the most balanced offenses in Pasco County, but last year, only one player on the squad caught more than 10 passes and the quarterback, Josh Zifer, ran for 1,002 yards, throwing for just 491. The competition at quarterback is between senior Esteban LeWallen (last year’s varsity backup) and junior Dayton Feiden (last year’s junior varsity starter). “It’s neck-and-neck between those two,” Browning said.

Established running back

Browning is still unsure who will be the Seahawks’ primary rusher. Nathan Johnson, Jacob Guzman, Ricardo Williams and Wanya Lamar are vying for a job that should determine where the yards in Sunlake’s offense come from. “There’s some ability there – just a lot of inexperience,” Browning said. “ Of those, only Johnson is a true running back, while the others could play receiver, as well.

Schedule

Aug. 30: Pasco

Sept. 6: at River Ridge

Sept. 13: Anclote

Sept. 20: at Springstead

Sept. 27: at Ridgewood

Oct. 4: Mitchell

Oct. 11: Wesley Chapel

Oct. 18: Land O’ Lakes

Nov. 1: at Fivay

Nov. 8: at Zephyrhills

Roster

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr.

1 Ricardo Williams DB/WR 5-7 165 Sr.

2 Colin Armstrong WR/LB 5-9 175 Sr.

3 Joe Jean-Baptiste DB/WR 6-2 185 Sr.

4 Jacob Guzman LB/FB 5-10 190 Sr.

5 Najaun Jackson LB/WR 5-8 160 Jr.

6 Donte Johnson DB/WR 5-9 160 Jr.

7 Wanya Lamar LB/RB 6-0 180 Sr.

8 Chris Wilkinson P/K 6-2 170 Jr.

11 Dayton Feiden FS/QB 6-1 170 Jr.

14 Esteban LeWallen DB/QB/WR 6-0 175 Sr.

15 Nick Valdes CB/WR 5-9 145 So.

18 Westly Stewart LB/FB 5-8 165 Sr.

19 Terrence Jackson WR/FS/QB 5-10 155 Jr.

20 Mosi Davis WR/CB 5-10 155 Jr.

22 Logan Wolfe RB/LB 5-10 165 Jr.

23 Anthony Farmer WR/CB 5-8 165 Sr.

25 Zach Faulkner WR/CB 6-0 160 Jr.

28 Nathan Johnson RB/LB 5-10 195 Jr.

32 Ben Wood LB/FB 5-10 190 Sr.

33 Ryan Reiss LB/TE 5-11 205 Jr.

40 S. Alan Valcin DL/FB 5-10 175 Sr.

42 Jony Labossierre 6-0 185 Jr.

44 Austin Yeloushan LB/TE 6-2 210 Jr.

45 Ryan Everhart TE/LB 5-11 170 So.

50 Tommy Speer DE/OL 6-3 230 Sr.

51 Jarrett Stark LB/OL 6-0 205 Sr.

52 Nick Larry DE/OL 6-3 195 Sr.

53 Austen Quarles DL/OL 5-9 235 Sr.

54 Oasin Speicher DL/OL 6-0 195 Sr.

55 James Reynolds LB/OL 6-0 200 Jr.

57 Leo Baez DL/OL 6-0 245 So.

58 Zion Osborne DL/TE 6-1 180 Sr.

60 Andres Campo DL/DL 5-10 200 So.

61 Quinton Quarles DL/OL 5-9 215 Sr.

62 Austin Ellis DL/OL 5-9 215 Jr.

63 Chris McMahon DL/OL 5-10 205 Jr.

64 Kalon Gipson DL/OL 5-11 215 Jr.

65 Dylan Franklin OL/DL 5-10 220

66 Bryce Cooley 6-3 215 So.

70 Ruben Botto DL/OL 6-1 210 Jr.

71 Trevor Highnote DL/OL 5-10 255 Sr.

72 Joe Russum OL/DL 5-10 225 So.

73 Tim Metzger DL/OL 5-11 190 Sr.

75 Kyler Bruce DL/OL 6-1 205 Sr.

77 Logan Berryman DL/OL 6-1 260 So.

81 Dylan Stanton DB/WR/LB 5-10 165 Jr.

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