By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
With the 2017 high school football season just days away from beginning, here are five storylines which will certainly have a large impact on our area.
CHARLOTTE’S NEW QB
The Tarpons will defend their regional title with Alex Muse under center, who was informed he will be the team’s starting quarterback. Muse, a transfer from rival Port Charlotte, served as the Pirates’ backup last season. In a regional quarterfinal loss last season for Port Charlotte, Muse entered the game and threw a 45-yard touchdown at a crucial time in the contest. He completed two of three passes for 67 yards in Charlotte’s preseason game last week.
HAYDEN WOLFF’S GROWTH
The junior quarterback from Lemon Bay showed promise as a sophomore last season when he threw for 883 yards, four touchdowns and eight interceptions with a 41.7 completion percentage. Recruiting website Rivals has Wolff ranked the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the nation for the Class of 2019, where they also list him with seven visits to colleges and an offer from the University of Kentucky.
PORT CHARLOTTE’S RISE
A district title was within reach last season for the Pirates, and don’t expect them to give Charlotte any less of a challenge at dethroning them as District 6A-10 champions. Port Charlotte returns a host of talent which makes them a formidable threat at a playoff run, including defensive lineman Devin Leacock, quarterback Paul Barnes and athletes TJ Luther, Marc Jean-Louis and transfer Skylar Razwilavich.
NORTH PORT’S JUMP
Don’t expect the Bobcats to finish the season with a single victory like in 2016. The Bobcats return players at the most important positions, most importantly quarterback Devon Alen and wide receiver C.K. Poulos. The threat they pose in addition to experienced starters on both sides of the ball gives North Port hopes of making a big jump this season.
An interesting note within the new playoff system is the preseason bonus point rule. If a team schedules an opponent who has made the playoffs within the last two years, that team has already been awarded three bonus points per game. That means, before any games have already been played, Charlotte has already racked up 15 bonus points with North Port and Lemon Bay both totaling 12 points and Port Charlotte collecting nine.