By: Wells Dusenbury
Since establishing the Seminole Ridge football program in 2005, Matt Dickmann has transformed the Hawks into one of the top teams in the area. The Hawks are coming off back-to-back district titles and have won three playoff games in the past two seasons. With the amount of talent returning, Seminole Ridge should be in the mix for a third straight district title in 2012.
The defense should be stout this year as the Hawks return 8 starters from last year's squad, including standouts Kyle Shortridge and Rayfield Dixon. If the Hawks want to make it a 3-peat in District 9-8A though, they'll need to figure out the offense. Ridge loses starting quarterback Antwan Washington, top wideout Darian Williams, starting tight end Alex Santacroce, and most notably standout running back Gary Holmes.
Record in 2011: 9-2
Playoff result: Lost to Palm Beach Gardens 14-6 in 8A Regional Semifinals
Head coach: Matt Dickmann (8th year)
Returning starters: 15
Kyle Shortridge- DT (Sr.) Holds offers from a number of BCS schools including West Virginia, Louisville and Mississippi State.
Rayfield Dixon- LB (Sr.) The rising senior's recruiting has really picked up this spring, picking up offers from schools such as Minnesota and West Virginia.
Omar Pierre-Louis- CB (Sr.) Consistent playmaker over past two years in the secondary.
Silas Spearman- CB (Sr.) Hard hitting cornerback teams up with Pierre-Louis for elite cornerback tandem.
Mike Almonte- S (Sr.) 89 tackles and 4 INT's in 2011.
Biggest spring concern: Identifying the quarterback
Following last season, Seminole Ridge appeared to be set at the quarterback position for 2012 with Washington returning under center for his senior year. However, those plans didn't materialize as Washington transferred to Glades Central in January. The battle for the starting quarterback position is now a two-man race between junior Zach DeCosta and sophomore Jalen Young. Dickmann refers to DeCosta, who started last year on the JV team, as the "Ice Man," saying he's smooth running the offense, while he describes Young as a little more dynamic. Dickmann says he expects to see both quarterbacks get time in the spring game and that he doesn't expect to make a decision until the fall.
In their words:
"Sometimes it's not about who has the most talent, but it's about who can run the offense. We've had plenty of guys here who had to wait their turn because they might have been more talented, but they couldn't run the offense." -Matt Dickmann on the starting quarterback position.
Player to watch out for: Elie Turene
Whoever steps up at the running back position will have big shoes to fill. Holmes was one of the top playmakers in the area over the past few years, running for over 3000 yards during his time in Loxahatchee. Rising senior Elie Turene looks ready to fill the void of Holmes this year. With the Hawks having to break in a new starting quarterback, Seminole Ridge should focus heavily on the ground game and Turene could be the recipient of the added work.
Whether Dickmann wants to admit it or not, he's established a top program at Seminole Ridge. Between an experienced coaching staff, a great off-season weight training program and intense, focused practices, the Hawks have reached the point where they can reload with talented, young players. Last year Seminole Ridge had to replace all five starting offensive linemen and still made it to the Regional Semifinals. With the defense the Hawks return, the offense should have some time to grow and gain consistency. I'd expect the Hawks to make it back to the Regional Semifinals and possibly make a deeper run depending on how their offense develops by that point.
Spring Game: Palm Bay (5/25)
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There are no games scheduled for today.