By KEITH NIEBUHR
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 30, 2001
Every time he watches film of Crystal River standout Clayton Trenary, Citrus coach Larry Bishop can't help but feel as if he's looking into the past.
And watching Monty Grow.
"I see a lot of similarities," Bishop said. "It's like I'm seeing Monty in a blue jersey."
Grow, a standout at Citrus in the late 1980s, is generally regarded as one of the best players in county history. Of the area's past football greats, he is perhaps the one whose skills most closely resemble those of Trenary.
While at Citrus, Grow was a strong-armed quarterback and a dominating safety. He went on to play defensive back at Florida, where he started and was a major contributor. Two years ago, Grow was included in the Times Citrus County's Best Ever.
Trenary plays the same positions, has roughly the same build (when Grow played at Citrus, he was 6-foot-3, 185 pounds; Trenary is 6-1, 188) and is expected to sign with a major college program next February. He is Crystal River's fastest player and an equal threat on the ground or through the air.
"He brings a lot to the table," Central coach Steve Crognale said. "He throws well and runs extremely well."
Trenary's individual statistics are impressive, but what stands out most is his 22-5 record as the Pirates' starting quarterback. Another strong Crystal River finish would add to his legacy, which includes being named Times All-Citrus/Hernando Player of the Year in football and baseball as a junior.
"He reminds me of all the good athletes," former Crystal River coach Earl Bramlett said. "He's got ability, works hard and tries to improve. He also has a good supportive family and those things help if you're already a good athlete. He and Mike Hampton (a former Crystal River football and baseball standout) are the same way in that respect."
Many believe Trenary is a budding star. In 10 years, folks around here might talk about him the way they do about Grow and other area legends like Brad Breedlove, Mike Hampton and Larry Key.
"We could," Bramlett said. "It's contingent on him staying healthy, getting breaks and being lucky and in the right place at the right time."