Lakeland (FL) – Central Catholic Preview
Written by: Josh Funk on Thursday, August 28th, 2008
In articles featuring the Lakeland HS football team for the Friends of Coal Prep Classic being played Monday in Wheeling, Dreadnaught head coach Bill Castle described his team as “young.”
Well, the Dreadnaughts may be young, but they are also pretty good – as many as 16 athletes on this edition of Lakeland either have or will have a Division-1 college scholarship offer extended to them.
The tradition of excellence that Lakeland has established in its history, especially since Castle came aboard, is nothing short of incredible.
The Dreadnaughts have recorded 32 straight non-losing seasons. Lakeland’s worst season record in Castle’s 32 years at the helm: 5-5, which occurred three times.
Lakeland has accumulated 15 seasons of 10 or more victories, and finished five seasons with a perfect record.
The orange and black has won 18 District 8 AAAAA titles, 12 City League titles, and 6 FHSAA “AAAAA” state titles, and twice was crowned a mythical national champion by USA-Today in 2005 and 2006.
The Dreadnaughts also own Florida state records for most consecutive regular season victories (60) and consecutive games won (53).
And oh by the way, Castle has won 308 games in his career, and was voted as the FHSAA’s coach of the century when Florida celebrated its high school football centennial last year.
Pittsburgh Central Catholic, which begins its defense of the 2007 PIAA “AAAA” state title, gets the tall task of stopping Lakeland’s rushing-oriented offense which averaged 244 rushing yards per game in 2007.
Leading the way for the Dreadnaughts is Jason Guzman, whose 154 rushes for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns make him Lakeland’s top returning threat. But Guzman is also complimented by Javares McRoy (28, 414, 4); Jarred Haggins (97, 399, 6); Ben McRoy (56, 379, 2); and Rodney Watson (24, 126, 4).
None of Lakeland’s top five returning rushers averaged less than 4.3 yards per rush attempt.
Haggins returns at quarterback to lead an offense which averaged 28 points per game, where he completed 67-of-121 passes for 1,029 yards, nine touchdowns, and three interceptions. Lakeland averaged nearly 88 yards passing per game in ’07.
Receiver may be Lakeland’s thinnest position, as only Javares McRoy and Jamal Rodman return. The duo hauled in a combined eight passes for 108 yards and three scores a year ago.
Kicker Aaron O’Brien converted all 38 extra points he attempted, and was 6-of-6 on field goals as well.
Central Catholic returns three rushing threats in Dom Maggio, DJ Myers, and Kyle Wilson, but none ran for more than 232 yards or scored more than two touchdowns in 2007.
Myers and Dane Faloon are the leading returning receivers, and Luke McCall should also expect to catch some passes. The trio combined to register 23 receptions for 330 yards and five scores.
Kicker Matt Oczypock returns after scoring well over 100 points last season. Mr. Automatic went 77-of-79 on extra points and 8-of-10 field goals.
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