Gainesville football preview

Gainesville HurricanesGAINESVILLE HURRICANES (6A-District 5)

2014 RECORD: 7-6

HEAD COACH: Mark Latsko (3rd Year)

KEY PLAYERS: Jordan Giberti (Sr. TE/DE), Caelan Christian (Sr. QB), Dock Luckie (Sr., WR), Conrell Peterson (Sr., LB), Kyle McGriff (Sr., WR), Andrew Markham (Sr., OG/NG), Keomis Markham (Sr., LB), Demari Medley (Sr., RB), Dylan Kanya (Sr., OT), Trey Covert (Sr., WR)

2015 PREVIEW: Gainesville High School expects to compete for its 7th consecutive playoff appearance and 4th straight district championship. GHS was the only Alachua County team to make the postseason in 2014. However, a disappointing end to last season (56-0 loss to 6A state semifinalist Armwood in the regional final), a loss to rival Buchholz that cost them their sixth straight city title, and a .500 regular season record have been motivators for the upcoming year.

The ‘Canes return seven starters on offense, including 3-year starters Caelan Christian at quarterback (2,293 yards passing 23 TD’s), lineman Andrew Markham, and offensive tackle Dylan Kanya.

Two-way standout Jordan Giberti (66 tackles, 10 TFL) is a 4-year starter who will anchor the defensive line and see time at TE again this season. Skill position returners include wide receiver Dock Luckie (689 yards receiving) and Kyle McGriff (395 yards).

The biggest question mark will be at running back. Senior Demari Medley (team leading 790 yards rushing) was set to be the featured back but he tore his ACL in the spring game and is out for the season. Keiondre Hankison was the backup, but he tore his MCL in the June scrimmage at Fort White. Keomis Markham, Ty Boyd and Chris King will share the touches in the backfield.

Senior Conrell Peterson (109 tackles) and Markham (48) return in the middle on defense, as well as junior returner RaiJuahn Alexander (4 INT) in the secondary. Newcomers to watch include: WR Mike Hudson, DE/OT Deion Webb, SS, CB Ladarius Flagg, and WR Trey Covert.

The talent is there, along with the motivation.

“We shouldn’t be 5-5 during the regular season, we aren’t comfortable with that and the players aren’t comfortable with that,” Latsko told the Gainesville Sun. “We have had a chip on our shoulder in the offseason. It wasn’t an unsuccessful season, but it was disappointing.”

2015 SCHEDULE
Aug. 28 – at Columbia (Lake City)
Sept. 4 – vs. First Coast (Jacksonville)
Sept. 11 – vs. Clay (Green Cove Springs)
Sept. 18 – vs. Lake Weir (Ocala)*
Sept. 25 – at North Marion (Citra)
Oct. 2 – at Forest (Ocala)*
Oct. 9 – vs. Buchholz (Gainesville)
Oct. 15 – vs. Vanguard (Ocala)*
Oct. 23 – at Leesburg*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 29 – at Eastside (Gainesville)
Nov. 6 – OFF

All home games at Citizens Field
*District game

Gainesville High School Quarterback Club website

“The Prep Zone” has been counting down to kick-off with a preview of high school football teams in the North Central Florida area.  Past team previews:

July 20 – BELL BULLDOGS
July 21 – BELLEVIEW RATTLERS
July 22 – BRADFORD (STARKE) TORNADOES
July 23 – BRANFORD BUCCANEERS
July 24 – BRONSON EAGLES
July 25 – BUCHHOLZ (GAINESVILLE) BOBCATS
July 26 – CHIEFLAND INDIANS
July 27 – CITRUS (INVERNESS) HURRICANES
July 28 – COLUMBIA (LAKE CITY) TIGERS
July 29 – DIXIE COUNTY (CROSS CITY) BEARS
July 30 – DUNNELLON TIGERS
Aug. 1 – EASTSIDE (GAINESVILLE) RAMS
Aug. 2 – FOREST (OCALA) WILDCATS
Aug. 3 – FORT WHITE INDIANS
Aug. 4 – GAINESVILLE HURRICANES
Aug. 5 – HAMILTON COUNTY (JASPER) TROJANS