FOOTBALL: Venice Indians preview

*** This is a portion of our yearly high school football preview section, which will appear in Friday’s 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 Indians have many, starting with experience. Venice returns all but a handful of starters from last year’s 10-2 club and behind them is a group of youngsters with the talent to vie for significant time. The experience is spotted throughout both units so the Indians are potent all the way around.

WEAKNESS
Not easy to pinpoint, but the closest area of need could be the offensive line. Starters return, but ask any coach where he’d most like to see more depth and it would be with that unit. This is where some of the aforementioned youngsters could prove beneficial.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

BRYCE CARPENTER – JUNIOR – QB
This is the dual threat signal caller’s third season in a starting role. As a junior he threw for 1,523 yards and 19 touchdowns and ran for another 708 yards and 12 scores.

JAIVON HEILIGH – JUNIOR – WR
Already attracting the attention of Power-5 Conference members around the nation, the 6-3, 185-pounder set Venice receiving records as a sophomore for receptions (63), yards (944) and touchdowns (11).

UNDER THE RADAR

AARON HACKETT – SENIOR – TE
The 6-3, 225-pounder, who already has committed to Syracuse, will probably be overlooked by everyone except opposing defensive coordinators given the rest of the firepower in Venice’s offense. But the veteran, who caught 28 passes with six touchdowns last year, is a key component of the attack, as much as a blocker alongside receiver.

TYRONE BARBER – JUNIOR – DT
In his first year with the program, Barber has carved a niche for himself since transferring from district and county rival North Port. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound interior player has stepped in among a veteran group to help ease the sting of the loss of 10-sack tackle Jarrod Hewitt.

2016 SCHEDULE

All games 7:30 p.m.
August
26: Camden County (Ga.)
September
2: at Riverview
9: Manatee
16: at North Port*
23: Coral Reef
30: Sarasota*
October
7: Open
14: Braden River*
21: at Lakewood Ranch*
28: at Palmetto
November
4: Booker
*denotes district game

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