Crystal River football preview

Crystal River_PiratesCrystal River Pirates (Class 5A-District 5)

2013 Record:  3-7

Head Coach:  Nate Varnadore

Key Players:  Al Ellison (RB/DB/LB, Jr.), Keshon Hopkins (WR/DB, Jr.), Khyrel Harvey (WR/DB/RB, Jr.), Gray Langlo (OT, Jr.), Tyler Pollard (LB, So.), Jacob LaFleur (LB, Sr.), Reese Bresson (DB/RB, Jr.), Colin Ryan (QB, Sr.), Michael Pittman (OL, Jr.), Cody Baldner (DL/OL, Sr.)

Outlook:  The Pirates struggled in Varnadore’s first season. However, with six starters returning on defense and nine returning on offense, Crystal River will be much more competitive than last season. Most of the starters during the 2013 season were sophomores and were playing varsity for the first time.

“This team is more unified than they were a year ago,” said Varnadore. “We are seeing more of a brotherhood in the locker room and not just a bunch of individuals.”

If the spring game is any indication, the Pirates are headed in the right direction. They defeated 5A Hernando, 28-3. Ryan tossed TD passes of 51 (Hopkins) and 7 yards (Carlton Gadson), while Ellison and Harvey had scoring runs of 19 and 31 yards. Last year, the Pirates allowed 28.2 points per game and only averaged 12.8 ppg.

2014 Football Schedule
Friday, August 22 – vs. Trinity Catholic (Ocala), 7:30 p.m. (Preseason)
Friday, August 29 – at Nature Coast (Brooksville), 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 5 – vs. South Sumter (Bushnell), 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 12 – vs. Lecanto, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 26 – vs. Dunnellon, 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, October 3 – vs. North Marion (Citra), 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, October 10 – at Santa Fe (Alachua), 7 p.m.*
Friday, October 17 – vs. Eastside (Gainesville), 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, October 24 – at Belleview, 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, October 31 – at Suwannee (Live Oak), 7:30 p.m.*
Friday, November 7 – vs. Citrus (Inverness), 7:30 p.m.

*District game

Crystal River High School website

“The Prep Zone” will count down to kick-off with a daily preview of high school football teams in the North Central Florida area.  Here are the future release dates:

CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 5
July 12 – Dunnellon
July 13 – Eastside (Gainesville)
July 14 – North Marion (Citra)
July 15 – Santa Fe (Alachua)
July 16 – Suwannee (Live Oak)

CLASS 5A-DISTRICT 6
July 17 – Central (Brooksville)
July 18 – Weeki Wachee
July 19 – Hernando (Brooksville)
July 20 – Nature Coast (Brooksville)
July 21 – South Sumter (Bushnell)

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 3
July 22 – Columbia (Lake City)

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 5
July 23 – Citrus (Inverness)
July 24 – Gainesville
July 25 – Lake Weir (Ocala)
July 26 – Vanguard (Ocala)
July 27 – Forest (Ocala)

CLASS 6A-DISTRICT 6
July 28 – Springstead (Spring Hill)

CLASS 7A-DISTRICT 3
July 29 – Buchholz (Gainesville)

CLASS 8A-DISTRICT 1
July 30 – West Port (Ocala)