FOOTBALL: North Port Bobcats preview

*** This is a portion of our yearly high school football preview section, which will appear in Friday’s North Port Sun. Pick up a copy for a comprehensive preview on all area teams, including a feature story on every team. Plus, a look at the progression of player safety in Florida. ***

STRENGTH
The Bobcats were a young team last season, and while they’re still fairly youthful, a majority of the team now has a full year of varsity football under its belt. Hatler says they now understand the speed of the game, and that should be a major aid as North Port continues to build.

WEAKNESS
Depth could be an issue for the Bobcats. They should be competitive when it comes to their starters, but an injury or two could be problematic. They’ll need to quickly find replacements they’re unsure if they currently have.

PLAYER TO WATCH
DEVON ALLEN – JUNIOR – QB
As a sophomore, Allen threw for 480 yards and rushed for another 163 with a total of five touchdowns. Look for him to continue to build on that in his junior season now that he has another year under Hatler’s system in addition to chemistry with wide receiver C.K. Poulos.

UNDER THE RADAR
TRAVIS COOK – JUNIOR – QB/LB
Cook just recently moved from Clear Fork, West Virginia, where he played for Westside High School. By all indications, Cook is an athlete. He played both football and basketball, and can play on both sides of the ball. While we don’t know much about him, neither does anyone else in the state, so look for him to make a name for himself.

2016 SCHEDULE

All games 7:30 p.m.
August
26: Cypress Lake
September
2: at Ida Baker
9: Palmetto Ridge
16: Venice*
23: Open
30: at Braden River*
October
7: at Bayshore
14: Palmetto*
21: Sarasota*
28: at Lakewood Ranch*
November
4: at Lemon Bay
*denotes district game

COACH’S CORNER

BRIAN HATLER
Years: 2nd
Career record: 2-8
High school attended: Littleton (Colorado)
Position played: RB/DB
Favorite sports other than football: Track & field
Hobby: Fishing
Genre of music: Classic rock
Favorite TV show: Anything sports-related
Motto: Everything matters

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