PREP FOOTBALL: Everything you need to know as football returns
Summer's almost over, which only means one thing – high school football is back.
Columbia and Fort White football teams both hit the gridiron again next week as fall practice begins on Monday. The Tigers and the Indians cruised to big wins in their respective spring games, adding more momentum entering the 2018 season.
Here's a look at where the two county schools stand as fall practice begins.
LAST SEASON: 7-4, lost in regional quarterfinal to Lincoln
SPRING GAME: 28-13 win over Bartram Trail
KEY SENIORS LOST: S.L. McCall, Teon Dollard, Marcel Bell, Darien McQuay, Jevon Williams, Scott Carman, Kaden Jones, Timmy Ray.
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: TJ Jones, Jordan Smith, Derek Johnson, Devin Johnson, Jaylen Brown, Ethan Umstead, Kylen Callum, Zach Bedenbaugh, Willie Jernigan, Brandon Scott, Ahmad Williams, Marquez Bell, Gilshard Newkirk.
STORYLINES: Columbia lost some really talented defensive players to graduation but a bevy of returners should be able to fill the gaps. The Tigers replenish that unit, with help of linebacker Jaylen Brown and safety Ahmad Williams who are now back in the fold. Transfer Le'vontae Camiel, a versatile defender, is also expected to bolster that unit. Columbia's offense has gotten plenty of attention yet it will be interesting to see how the other side of the balls holds up entering the campaign.
LAST SEASON: 7-4, lost in regional semifinal to Florida State University High
SPRING GAME: 47-6 win over North Florida Educational Institute.
KEY SENIORS LOST: Hunter Morgan, Javiel Jones, JacQuez Pelham, Doug Johnson, Lowell Reed, Dylan Cason, Logan Altopp.
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Stephen Pilkinton, Corey Dryden, Deondre Cray, Kamaron Calhoun, Matt DiMaruo, Stanley Maxwell, Kanell Stewart.
STORYLINES: The Indians face the tough task of replacing workhorse running back JacQuez Pelham. They'll lean on a committee of backs to share the workload. Columbia transfer quarterback Dylan Blair also provides the offense with another weapon along with a star-studded receiving corps. The development of the offense will be key for the Indians in a challenging Class 3A schedule against tough defenses.