District 16 – Jesuit and Plant Lead A Darn Good District

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Okay, as those who read District 15’s preview know there’s a bit of an issue on MaxPreps.com on the data so we’ll skip the 2018 final regular season standings on this.

The FHSAA has placed the following teams in this District for this year:

Jesuit of Tampa, HB Plant, Alonso, Berkeley Prep, Jefferson, Robinson, Tampa Catholic and Tampa Prep

Oh, and to apologize for my LaxRecords.com podcast goof . . . HALAX, not HALAL . . . not too kosher on that one . . .

Jesuit and Plant both had marvelous years last year as indicated in their final rankings of #8 and #11, and both were earned on the field.  Jesuit avenged the regular season loss to Plant in the district final after they eliminated Tampa Catholic and and Plant took down Berkeley Prep.  Jesuit then advanced to the Elite Eight of the FHSAA bracket before being eliminated by Bishop Moore, the only team to handle them easily in the regular season.  All in all a good year for the District.

For those who want to see the Tampa Lax Report preview of the District, click HERE

So, without the confusing MaxPreps listing, here are the previews:

Jesuit of Tampa 20-3, lost in the FHSAA Elite Eight

Coach Ryan Henry has provided us with a lot:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

Fortunately, we had 70 players tryout for the Jesuit lacrosse program this season.  Since we only field two teams, we could not keep everyone and, for the first time in program history, we chose teams based on each player’s ability, attitude and future potential at the varsity level.  This has allowed our program to take a giant step away from a “club” culture and move closer to being an elite program that players must earn the right to be a part of.

Both our JV and varsity teams have started their preseasons with a very positive attitude.  We’ve had 2 strong weeks of practice and although we graduated much talent in 2018, the commitment and enthusiasm of this year’s group of players is very encouraging.  Our expectation for 2019 is that we will develop teams that are deep in depth, confident in their abilities and tough in nature.  So far, we are on the right track and if we keep moving forward I do not see any reason why our JV team can’t have its best season ever and our varsity team can’t capture another District Championship and make another run in the State Tournament.

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

Matt Farley (G), Kenny Lane (D), Cade Myers (D), Thatcher Kelly (M), Caysen Waldron (FO), Casey Fuss (A), Arthur Ward (A).

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

Nick Deptula (A), Jake Crowther (M), Michael Schellman (M)

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

Lake Highland Prep, Berkeley Prep, Barron Collier, Creekside, Dallas-Jesuit, Belen-Jesuit, Plant, Lake Mary, Cardinal Mooney and Newsome.

Plant 15-4, lost in the district finals

The Plant Coaching Staff sent in their input on the season:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

I try to remember to ask our guys everyday if they’re having fun and if they feel like they’re getting better. If we check both those boxes I feel like we’re having a good day. String together enough of those and we’ll be having a great season.

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

We’re excited to return our entire starting defense: seniors Drew Mayts (Mercer) and Charley Brannen (Grove City) should anchor a strong back line alongside sophomore Zack Antoniou. Two-way threat and senior long stick midfielder George Thompson also returns for his last year. Offensively, we return two gamechangers at attack: Dow Walker and Henry Barlow.

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

I think we had two of the best goalies in the state on our roster last season and we’re excited to have sophomore Wyatt Knust get his turn in cage. We’re also really excited about our underclassmen on the offensive end: freshmen Jonathan Kerr and Hayden Stolzfoos will both compete for time right away, sophomore Christian Murphy is poised for a breakout year, and freshman attackman Anthony Longo has really impressed through our first couple weeks.

Two senior midfielders who will see expanded roles this season are Connor Stolzfoos and Will Nunn and we are expecting big years from them. On the defensive end, we’ve got some young guns who are fighting for spots in the rotation and show a lot of potential: sophomores Patrick Canady and Michael Prugh as well as freshmen Ryker Demarest and Graham Gataky have been great out of the gate.

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

We’re always looking forward to the next one.

Berkeley Prep 5-15, lost in the district semifinals

We have not yet received their questionnaire and will update it when we do

Tampa Catholic 8-8, lost in district semifinals

Head Coach Ted Koontz has written this:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

We are young so expecting around a .500 season

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

Alex Adamy (G) – SR, Anthony Cathone (A) – SR, Chase Gambrell (D) – JR

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

CJ Frey (M) – JR,  Tyler Landsman (M) – JR, Nick Pressey (M) – JR

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

Going to be fun playing the teams in Polk County this year – Lakeland Christian, All Saints, Lakeland HS

Alonso 5-9, did not qualify for district

Coach Eric Klaus provided us with this:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

At Alonso, we are all about building our culture.  Two years ago, we didn’t have an offensive set and struggled to clear the ball and even get it into the offensive side of the field.  We were a bunch of players who got together for a few weeks to play lacrosse. No longer. We have grown the culture tremendously in the last couple of years and live by a simple motto — focus on today, so that we are a better team of young men tomorrow than who we were yesterday.  If we can do that — all else will take care of itself. We are already seeing HUGE dividends based upon this philosophy and believe we will be a team to be reckoned with this year. Our goal is to stand toe to toe with anyone we play. We may not always win, but we will battle and hold our heads high.  Our expectation is that we fully expect to compete and make the district playoffs.

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

We are led by a talented defensive core — anchored by Senior LSM Jake McDevitt (Florida Southern Commit) and Goalie Grant Beningfield (Huntingon Commit) and rounded out by disciplined D Poles Conrad Wilkening and Jake Donovan.  On offense, we will be led by the talented trio of Senior – Kyle Friehrmuht, Junior – Tyler Wagner and Sophomore – Kennedy Klaus. We believe they will bring us a potent and balanced offensive attack that can move the ball well. At FOGO, we believe we have one of the best in the area with Junior Dante Mendez.

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

We have big expectations for a number of guys seizing their opportunity to prove themselves and contribute bigtime this year, led by Senior Shawn Gerovac and Sophomore Matthew Morello at Middie, Junior Anthony Gomez & Sophomores Cody Seitz and Will Garcia on Defense.  New to the game and senior Gavrie Zuber has the potential to be a diamond in the rough for us as he has adapted quickly to the game and risen quickly up the depth chart.

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

We look forward to our season opener with Bloomingdale as we believe they are a team on a similar growth trajectory as ours and will give us an early season test of where we stand as a team.  Next we have a couple of rematches of tough losses from last year with Calvary Christian and Mitchell that we look forward to. We always look enjoy facing our local friends at Steinbrenner and Sickles and look to show them we can stand toe to toe with them and finally, an end of season match with district rival Tampa Catholic that may well determine which team makes district playoffs.

Jefferson 0-11, did not qualify for district

We have not yet received their questionnaire and will update it when we do

Robinson 2-11, did not qualify for district

We have not yet received their questionnaire and will update it when we do

Tampa Prep 6-9, did not qualify for district

We have not yet received their questionnaire and will update it when we do