With spring football practice under way, we begin a district-by-district breakdown of players and teams to watch for next fall.
Bradenton Christian, Cambridge Christian, Canterbury, Carrollwood Day School, Indian Rocks Christian, Northside Christian
Indian Rocks Christian won the district championship with a record of 6-0 and reached the 2A state semifinals, while Carrollwood Day finished as the district runner-up, its only loss being to IRC, and lost in the region quarterfinal round to Naples First Baptist. Cambridge Christian and Canterbury tied for third in the final regular-season standings with records of 6-4 overall and 3-3 in district play. Northside Christian and Bradenton Christian each finished 2-4 in district play.
Taylor King. Carrollwood Day will have to find a replacement for King, the district’s leading passer at 2,084 yards with 18 touchdowns.
Keswick Christian, which went 0-6 in the district last season, is now an independent program.
Cambridge Christian’s Garrett Young, a rising senior quarterback, is a Division I prospect, coming off a junior campaign in which he threw for 1,861 yards and 20 touchdowns. Indian Rocks Christian’s Damian King, a skill athlete who totaled 2,128 all-purpose yards along with six interceptions last year, is also a Division I prospect. Carrollwood Day has four athletes — Willie Parker, Max Frankel, Elias Earley and Carlos Acuna — being recruited at the Division I and I-AA levels.
Indian Rocks Christian has reached the playoffs the past two years and, with a few returning star players, is poised for a third consecutive trip. Carrollwood Day made its second consecutive state region playoff appearance this past season, which gives the still-young program something on which to build. Canterbury has not made the playoffs since 2011 and Northside Christian has not reached the postseason since 2006. Ending the playoff drought has to be a priority for both programs, while the Bradenton Christian and Cambridge Christian teams look to make program history as the first to secure playoffs berths.