By BOB PUTNAM
© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 30, 2001
CLEARWATER -- With its three most prominent names on offense last season graduated, it would be easy to scratch Clearwater Central Catholic off of the list of district title contenders.
Jay Davis, quarterback and son of Marauder coach John Davis, threw for 2,230 yards, third-best in the state. Marcus Edwards, receiver and son of New York Jets coach Herman Edwards, led the county with 755 yards. And James Sommers, who missed part of the season with injuries, still was the second-leading rusher on the team.
But before you forget about CCC making the playoffs, remember it still has some players who contributed significantly last season. That gives Davis hope that a district title is possible.
"I'm not crying too much," Davis said. "I think we're going to be all right."
Of course, it helps when two of the biggest district threats, St. Petersburg Catholic and Jefferson, won't be around. SPC was banned from the post-season by the Florida High School Activities Association for recruiting violations, a decision the school is appealing.
Jefferson miscalculated its enrollment figures and was bumped up to 4A.
For now, that leaves CCC competing against Tampa Catholic and Berkeley Prep.
THROUGH THE AIR: Orlando Rivas, a senior, already has experience taking over for Davis. In 1999, when Davis went down with a broken collarbone, Rivas filled in and went 2-2.
Matt Galley, the top returning receiver in the county, gives Rivas a go-to guy. Galley spent the summer attending camps and was voted the top receiver at several of them. Also back is LaRue Rumph, who can stretch the field.
ON THE GROUND: Mike Scanlon replaced Sommers through an injury-filled 2000 and was the team's leading rusher. His 11.0 yards per carry is tops among returning runners in the county.
Scanlon ran off big clips of yardage thanks to an offensive line that improved during the season. Three linemen -- Alton Davis, Dan McBride and James Diamantakos -- are two-year starters. AJ Trump, Tyler Dejarnatt and Phil Signore fill the other vacancies.
DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! The defense is more of a concern than the offense. Davis lost the majority of his starters, including leading tackler Vinny Capogna.
Alton Davis and Capogna's younger brother, Nick, are the top linemen. Jimmy Fricker and Jerry Dewberry are the linebackers. Brandon Fouch, Rumph, Brent Morris and Galley are part of a secondary that can be stingy.
JUST FOR KICKS: As a sophomore, Joey Ijjas was five shy of setting the school record for extra points (57). He also was 5-for-5 on field goals. Brad Parker is the punter, and Davis called him one of the best he has ever had.
COACH: John Davis, eighth season (47-30)
ASSISTANTS: Mark Feldman, Leo Govoni, Todd Pierce, Greg Pitt, Ron Ragland, Bart Roberson
COLORS: Gold and scarlet
STADIUM: Marauder Stadium, 2750 Haines Bayshore Road, Clearwater
CLASS: 2A, District 7
ROUND OF 32: 1997 (3A), 1998 (3A)
ROUND OF 16: 1976 (2A), 1978 (2A), 1996 (3A), 1999 (2A), 2000 (2A)