When Tod Creneti took over the Saint Stephen’s football program, there wasn’t much on-field success.
Changing the culture took time, patience and talented players.
Now, less than a month after polishing off back-to-back Sunshine State Athletic Conference championships, Creneti was named the Florida Dairy Farmer’s Coach of the Year for independent schools.
The finalists for the coveted Mr. Football award were announced Wednesday, and awards for players of the year and coach of the year for nine different classifications also were announced.
Creneti was the lone winner from Manatee County, taking the independent school coach of the year award with 194 points. Windermere Prep’s Jacob Doss was the runner-up with 139 points.
It’s very humbling. It is. To be recognized on a state level is amazing. Having said that, this is clearly a team win.
Saint Stephen’s coach Tod Creneti
“It’s very humbling,” Creneti said. “It is. To be recognized on a state level is amazing. Having said that, this is clearly a team win. I get to work with an incredibly gifted staff and coach a really remarkable young people. So this is a win for everyone involved.”
Meanwhile, Creneti’s quarterback, Fred Billy, finished second in voting for the independent player of the year award. Satellite senior quarterback Noah Mumme won with 180 points, while Billy accrued 120.
In his stellar four-year career, Billy tallied more than 100 touchdowns and led the Falcons to back-to-back SSAC championships. The most recent, which capped a 11-0 season, was done in front of NFL legend Ray Lewis.
Mumme completed 74 percent of his 215 passes for 2,322 yards with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, while adding 726 rushing yards on 102 carries and 12 touchdowns this year.
Billy ran for 1,155 yards with 17 touchdowns and added nine scores through the air with 656 passing yards as a senior.
“It’s impossible to ignore the body of work that he’s put together over four years,” Creneti said. “And it’s impossible to overlook the impact that he has had on our program. I think the fact that people see him as one of the best players in the state is fitting, but I also think it’s a testament to the fact that he believed in this when not a lot of other people did.”
The nine players of the year and nine coaches of the year are finalists for the 2017 Florida Dairy Farmer’s Mr. Football and Football Coach of the Year.
Another round of voting from coaches and media members will ensue before the two overall winners are announced at a later date.
Other players of the year: Orange City University senior running back Lorenzo Lingard (8A), Venice senior quarterback Bryce Carpenter (7A), Seffner Armwood senior running back Brian Snead (6A), Orlando Jones senior quarterback Quadry Jones (5A), Jacksonville Raines senior quarterback Ivory Durham (4A), Palm Beach Benjamin senior quarterback Jordan Travis (3A), Tampa Cambridge senior quarterback Jaylin Jackson (2A) and Madison County senior running back Derrick Staten Jr. (1A).
Other coaches of the year: Orlando Dr. Phillips’ Rodney Wells (8A), Venice’s John Peacock (7A), Miami Northwestern’s Max Edwards (6A), Baker County’s Jamie Rodgers (5A), Jacksonville Raines’ Deran Wiley (4A), Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna’s Dameon Jones (3A), Hialeah Champagnat’s Dennis Marroquin (2A) and Madison County’s Mike Coe (1A).