Spring football begins Monday with non-contact practices.
The first date for contact practices is April 28.
It's all a build toward a spring game, with coaches and players getting a feel for what they'll have entering summer offseason conditioning as the 2018 season approaches.
So what are the storylines to watch this spring?
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Here's a look at each of Manatee County's six public high school programs, in alphabetical order:
Getting players to buy into the program is working for coach John Biezuns. The Bruins didn't make the playoffs last season, but they did have one of their biggest signing classes in seven years.
Seeing how the rebuilding process goes entering Biezuns' third year as Bayshore's head coach starts with spring ball.
Last year was the construction phase, and it worked with a softer schedule that led to two on-field wins (plus a third was awarded after Southeast was ruled to have used an ineligible player) and several close defeats.
The Pirates were fined $40,000 — only $1,600 is owed, the remaining $38,400 balance is in abeyance unless another policy violation occurs during the 2018-19 school year. Braden River was reprimanded, placed on probation and both athletic director Matt Nesser and head coach Curt Bradley must attend a FHSAA compliance seminar in 2018 and 2019.
Braden River's spring game was scheduled for May 18 against Immokalee High. The Pirates also are tasked with finding a suitable opponent for the Indians, or award them financial restitution.
The Mustangs are saddled in the difficult Class 7A-District 11 with defending state champion Venice, archrival Braden River and county foe Palmetto finishing in the top half of the district the past three seasons.
This spring, Lakewood Ranch ushers in the Christopher Culton era. The former Navy assistant coach was in the private sector last year, before coming back to football to take over the Mustangs from the departing Mick Koczersut, who resigned in January.
Culton isn't completely new to the area. His father played football at Manatee High, and he went to Georgia Southern with Venice High head coach John Peacock and Sarasota Riverview head coach Josh Smithers.
Culton saw how Navy got rebuilt under Paul Johnson, and he has the opportunity to do that at Lakewood Ranch.
The uncertainty cloud doesn't hang over the program this season. Last year, John Booth resigned a few weeks before spring football began for a private sector job. The Hurricanes didn't find their new head coach, Yusuf Shakir, until after their spring game against Lakeland Lake Gibson.
So, this spring means a full season with Shakir from offseason conditioning to the spring game and summer workouts leading into the fall.
The Canes featured several underclassmen on offense and defense in 2017, though they are losing standouts on both sides of the ball. That includes running back Joshua Booker, offensive lineman Jeremiah Bartholow and wide receiver Javarious Pollock on offense, and cornerbacks Sir Williams and Cedrick Waters on defense.
But what Manatee does have is a go-to weapon in rising sophomore wide receiver Irone Jackson and playmaker Keyon Fordham with a full offseason knowing Shakir's style and philosophy.
It was, arguably, the best season since 2011 for the Tigers. The 2017 season's new playoff format allowed Palmetto to grab a playoff berth as the third-best team in 7A-11. But the Tigers earned that postseason trip with non-district victories over Manatee, Lakeland Lake Gibson and Punta Gorda Charlotte.
Each one was monumental. Palmetto hadn't beaten Manatee in more than a decade. Lake Gibson was coming off a Class 6A state runner-up finish and returned a stingy defense. Charlotte was a 6A state final four team the previous season, and the Tarpons were fighting for a playoff spot when they headed to Harllee Stadium during the final week.
The Tigers gave their fans even more joy with a first-round playoff victory. So what does Palmetto have for an encore?
Well, unlike the past couple seasons when Palmetto relied on its defense, the Tigers have an offense with potential.
Quarterback Anthony Marino, wide receiver/quarterback LaJohntay Wester, wide receiver Kobe Mays and running backs Johnnie Jones and Eddravian Butler are back and have considerable skill.
Like Lakewood Ranch, the Seminoles are entering a new era with Brett Timmons in his first season as head coach at his alma mater.
Timmons played on Southeast's state title teams in 1993 and 1994. He also was on the 1998 undefeated Tulane team that featured former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King.
As a coach, Timmons built Out-of-Door Academy's football program from the ground up and it reached a zenith with a state final four berth in 2009.
This spring, it's imperative for Timmons to build a bond with his players as a foundation for his first year in charge of Southeast's program.