LAKEWOOD RANCH FOOTBALL:
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28 JESUIT (Tampa)
4 at Bayshore
11 TAMPA CATHOLIC
18 at Braden River*
25 SUNLAKE (Land O Lakes)
23 at Venice*
30 at North Port*
6 at Desoto County
Games start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted
HOME GAMES IN CAPS
6-3, 2-2 7A-10
at Southeast W 37-14
TAMPA JESUIT L 37-24
BAYSHORE W 22-7
BRADEN RIVER L 21-6
at North Port* W 28-21
at Palmetto* L 31-7
at Riverview W 35-28
SARASOTA* W 33-14
at Port Charlotte W 30-22
Mic Koczersut (2nd year, 6-3)
The biggest chore for "Coach K" is finding a replacement for Chad Rex, the Mustangs' dual-threat quarterback who started the past three years. To make things easier, Ranch has its entire offensive line returning, along with leading rusher Justin Fischer and veteran receiver Trevor Losada. The Mustangs have five starters back on defense and added more speed. Safety Daymon Murray, a three year starter, anchors the secondary.
Blauvelt Geroges, jr., safety
Geroges never played football until last spring, but the defensive back made an immediate impact from day one and is now being counted on to be a vital cog in the Mustangs secondary.
They moved him from cornerback to safety because of his physicality and reaction to the ball. He's a good cover guy who is solid in run support. Coach K calls him "exciting."
DEEP AT: OFFENSIVE LINE
Mustangs return their entire offensive line.
THIN AT: QUARTERBACK
Need to replace quarterback Chad Rex, It will be either senior Grant Weisman or soph Justin Curtis.
WING MAN: Trevor Losada, sr.
Lakewood Ranch doesn't throw the ball a lot, but when when the Mustangs do, their favorite target is the 6-1, 180 pound Losada. He's started since his sophomore year and is the Mustangs only returning starter at receiver. Losada has slimmed down and gotten faster. He catches everything around him and should be a big help to the offense, which will have a first year starter at quarterback. Losada has good speed, is adept at creating space and is very sure-handed.
BY THE NUMBERS:
The number of returning starters on the offensive line
Lakewood Ranch ended last season with 3 straight victories, which boosts hopes for 2015
The number of postseason wins the program has won on the field; both under Faust DeLazzer in 2001 and '02
NEEDS A BIG SEASON FROM:
Lakewood Ranch has built a reputation for having a solid running game bolstered by big, burly offensive linemen. This year that unit should get a big boost from running back Justin Fischer, who ran for nearly 900 yards last season, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.
He is a no-frills running back who enjoys taking it to the defense while using his power to break tackles.
"I like to hit people, so I like to take it through the tackles and then bounce myself outside," Fischer says. "The best thing about our offense is that we don't give up. We are hard to stop and love to run the ball."
Fischer's presence will be extremely important this because Mustangs will be going with a first year starter at quarterback. His versatility is a valuable asset because he can catch the ball out of the backfield.
"Justin is a quiet leader who works hard everyday and sets a great example," Koczersut says. "He sees things very well, can get in and out of breaks quickly, is fast at changing direction and has very good balance. He is going to live and die inside the tackles."
-- Alan Dell, Herald sports writer