NEEDS A BIG SEASON FROM:
ALEX SOBCZAK, sr., defensive back/wide receiver
JAKE SANTIAGO, sr., tight end/linebacker
They're senior leaders, and their versatility cannot be overlooked. It's why first-year head coach Drew Lascari is pegging those two for who the Cougars need a big season from this fall.
"They are going to have to play multiple positions," Lascari said. "They have a lot on their plate, but, at the same time, we think they can handle it. They're smart football players. They're dedicated football players."
Lascari the duo embraced every challenge thrown their way by the coaching staff during fall camp.
Now it's just a matter of continuing to meet those challenges on the field during games.
Following last year's four-point setback to rival Clearwater Central Catholic -- the Cougars' second straight playoff exit in the game's final minutes -- the coaching situation changed at Mooney.
Josh Smithers left to become an assistant at Sarasota Riverview, while the Cougars hired Lascari from national-rated Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.).
With the change, new schemes on both sides are being implemented. Sobczak and Santiago are two key players learning multiple offensive and defensive positions this season.
"We're relying on certain guys to be familiar with multiple positions," Lascari said. " Those are two guys that are just talented football players."
WINGMAN: BRYCE WILLIAMS, soph., running back
Tailback's aren't normally the go-to option in the passing game, but Williams is featuring in various roles offensively. One of those roles will be his pass catching skills as Mooney's top target this fall.
"Size, speed, explosion," Lascari said. "He's just kind of one of those bodies that he stands about 6-1, he's about 185 pounds and he runs a 4.5 consistently."
Lascari added Williams is a physical player with "tremendous ball skills," and some shake with his linear speed.
JOSH LERNER, jr., ATH
A transfer from IMG Academy, Lerner got his start in the area at the Out-of-Door Academy. During last February, he ran track for IMG and brings some speed in three positions for the Cougars: running back, wide receiver and defensive back. That triple threat versatile option offers the perfect recipe for an impact this fall.
DEEP AT: RUNNING BACK
The Cougars have a potent running attack with three or four reliable ball carriers that includes Williams, senior Jaz Mongeon, junior Josh Lerner and sophomore Nick Maroon.
THIN AT: OFFENSIVE LINE
With just 35 varsity players this fall, the Cougars might not have a choice in sending their lineman into double duty, which is not an ideal situation.
7-3, 2-0 Class 3A-6
at LaBelle W, 20-0
ADM. FARRAGUT W, 20-13
LAKE PLACID W, 40-7
at Avon Park W, 14-0
at Tampa Cath. L, 20-7
ST. PETE CATH. W, 49-7
at Out-of-Door Aca. W, 64-0
at VICTORY CHR. L, 24-16
BISHOP VEROT W, 44-6
BOOKER L, 20-2
CLEAR. CALV. CHR. W, 17-14
CLEAR. CENT. CATH. L, 14-10
28 at Ft. Myers Bishop Verot
4 at Venice
11 TAMPA BERKELEY PREP
25 ENGLEWOOD LEMON BAY
2 CLEARWATER CALV. CHR.*
9 at Southeast
16 at St. Petersburg Catholic*
23 LAKELAND VICT. CHR.
30 at Clearwater Cen. Cath.*
Games start at 7 p.m., unless noted
#-- 7:30 p.m. game | *-- Class 3A-5
HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPS
Expect a playoff berth
With playmaking weapons, the Cougars should fight for the district's second playoff berth behind juggernaut Clearwater Central Catholic. However, tough opponents await in the non-district slate that could cause the losses to add up.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 -- One play has decided the Cougars' playoff fate in the final minutes the last two years.
40 -- Career passing touchdowns, a program record, for last year's starter Reese Vita.
100 -- Amount of players last year at Don Bosco Prep (N.J.), where Lascari was an assistant.
Drew Lascari, first season.