Sports

Southeast football preview 2017: Time for the Seminoles’ offense to step up

Tyler Stevenson, a first-team all-area selection by the Bradenton Herald last season, will be the focal point of Southeast’s offense in 2017 as a versatile slot back.
Tyler Stevenson, a first-team all-area selection by the Bradenton Herald last season, will be the focal point of Southeast’s offense in 2017 as a versatile slot back. ttompkins@bradenton.com

At a glance

Herald’s forecast: 5-5

Southeast enters its second season under head coach Rashad West with a still-strong defensive foundation and an improving offense. The Seminoles have a number of established skill position players and a second-year quarterback with a chance to be one of Manatee County’s breakout stars as a senior.

Deep at: Wide receiver

Thin at: Special teams

Head coach: Rashad West

Career: Seventh year (second at Southeast), 40-33 (4-6)

Needs a big season from: Tyler Stevenson, Sr., WR/CB

A typical drive for Tyler Stevenson might start with quarterback Alex Taylor testing a deep ball to his most-trusted wide receiver. The next play to involve the senior may be a screen, just an excuse to get the ball in his hands and let him make a play. And then maybe Southeast could set up Stevenson as a slot back, running him around from side to side for an end-around or reverse.

“He’s going to play everything,” Taylor said. “I like our receiving corps. We have probably the best one, I would say, in the state, but we’re just going to have to prove that.”

The focal point of that group will be Stevenson, who finished the 2016 regular season with the third-most receiving yards in Manatee County and was a first-team all-area selection by the Bradenton Herald. He’s more athlete than true wide receiver, a slightly undersized, multi-talented threat who already has shown he’s willing to line up wherever the Seminoles need him. As a junior he caught 46 passes for 588 yards and three touchdowns. As a sophomore, Stevenson was used less frequently but did haul in a 96-yard catch.

At only 5 feet, 9 inches, Stevenson needs to be willing to find creative ways to contribute.

“My role in the offense,” Stevenson said, “is just to be a playmaker.”

He’ll have help at wide receiver, though. Jattorious Galloway was another of Manatee County’s best wide receivers last year, catching 17 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns, and head coach Rashad West expects a breakthrough junior campaign for slot back Clyde Townsend, who made his biggest contributions on special teams last fall.

The depth out wide means Southeast could have more flexibility with a player such as Stevenson while Latrell Peavy, the Seminoles’ most-experienced running back, works his way back from an injury.

“We should be pretty good throwing the ball, but we need to get better at running the football. We weren’t very good at it last year and that’s been kind of our focus is getting better at that,” West said. “We’ve got to get the ball to the guys who can make some plays for us, whether we hand it to them or we throw it to them.”

117Tackles for safety Brandon Shannon as a sophomore in 2016, enough to lead a defense that included two Division I players and another first-team All-Area linebacker.

161Tackles for a loss for Southeast in 2016. Pass rusher Teriq Houston led returning Seminoles with 21.

21.4Points per game for Southeast in 2016, a jump of nearly five per game from the previous season, when the Seminoles averaged 16.7.

Schedule breakdown

Who’s in: Sarasota, St. Cloud Harmony

Who’s out: Brooksville Nature Coast Tech, Manatee

Upgrade: Southeast drops a pair of teams it has losing streaks against for the Sailors and Longhorns, who made the playoffs two years ago and provide winnable games with bonus points.

Impact newcomer

Korey Waters, Sr., WR

Waters was pegged as Palmetto’s No. 1 wide receiver last year before a knee injury ended his season in September. He should still slide in as a contributor for Southeast’s deep group of wide receivers.

2017 schedule

Games start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted

Aug. 25

Palmetto

Sept. 1

at Sarasota

Sept. 8

at Lakewood Ranch

Sept. 15

at Bayshore*

Sept. 29

DeSoto County*

Oct. 6

Cardinal Mooney

Oct. 13

Lemon Bay*

Oct. 20

at Hardee*

Oct. 27

at Booker*, 7 p.m.

Nov. 3

St. Cloud Harmony

*-Class 5A-District 11 game

2016 results

Nature Coast Tech

L, 33-14

Palmetto

L, 20-9

Bayshore

W, 42-0

DeSoto County

W, 35-6

Cardinal Mooney

L, 28-7

Lemon Bay

W, 21-9

Hardee

L, 20-10

Booker

W, 28-21

Manatee

L, 42-24

Class 5A-Region 3 playoffs

at Dunbar

L, 33-24

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