STADIUM: E.G. Simmons Field, 7710 Old Big Bend Road, Gibsonton CLASS-DISTRICT: 7A-8 (with Brandon, Durant, Plant City, and Strawberry Crest) COACH: Frank Larosa (8-12, third season) LAST SEASON: 4-6
Linemen abound on Indians' roster
In his nine years as an assistant and head coach at East Bay, Frank LaRosa has never seen a group of linemen as talented and with as many numbers than this year's unit.
“They're well coached, explosive, they have ability and size,” LaRosa said. “They have it all.”
Six-foot-3, 302-pound junior Caleb Holley, a move-in transfer from Key West, highlights the group that will start on both sides of the ball.
“When they're fast temp, they're pretty much unstoppable,” said junior Eric Latortue, who will play tight end. “We take pride in running the ball. We want to punch it in their mouths.”
Playing on either side of Holley on defense will be Marques Ford, a 6-4, 220-pound junior and Latortue, who measures 6-1, 220.
“We have size and speed and we're all downhill runners,” Latortue said.
Chris Carpentier is not going to be an easy sack for any defender. At 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Carpentier used his size to run for 468 yards with six touchdowns off a team-high 137 carries. He also passed for 547 yards with four touchdowns.
“He falls forward,” East Bay coach Frank LaRosa said. “He's a big kid. He runs behind his pads. We want him to be efficient.”
Senior Chris Greene missed the last two games of 2012 after breaking his leg against Durant, but has since made a strong comeback. As a junior, Greene led East Bay in rushing with 479 yards and three touchdowns. At 5-8, 185 pounds, LaRosa Greene is a physical runner who will also play linebacker.
Anton Crutcher is East Bay's top recruit this season, and at 6-3, 185 pounds, he fits the ideal profile as a lengthy cornerback with range. Crutcher totaled 44 tackles last season with two interceptions.
Skill player development
East Bay has a surplus of size, but not necessarily the players responsible for scoring and preventing points.
“We're lacking depth in the skill position,” LaRosa Said.
The Indians graduated skill players, including Brandon Byrd and Eric Hood, who not only played running back and receiver, respectively, but were kick and punt returners.
The Indians have not made the playoffs since 2005 and are 0-6 all-time in the state region playoffs. After making its first appearance in 1973, East Bay did not return to the postseason until 2000.