Durant: The Cougars are looking for a bounce-back season after going 3-7 in 2018. They are led by Head Coach Mike Gottman, who is in his 17th season at Durant. The offense will be run by senior quarterback and team captain Sean Williams, who started last year as well. Williams was efficient in the Cougars’ dominating 42-6 win against King in their opener. He threw for one touchdown and also ran the ball four times for 27 yards and two touchdowns.

Coach Gottman said that the team captain is a smart, gritty, quick dual-threat QB that uses both his arms and legs to get the job done. He is a proven leader as well as a winner. About 10 different players carried the ball in game one for this run-heavy flexbone triple-option offense that uses some of the same principles as Army and Navy.

Other key players include junior guard/defensive tackle and team captain Wyatt Lawson, junior linebacker and team captain Josh Cannon, junior safety/corner/receiver Aashton Kirkland and senior defensive end Bradley Guasto. Coach Gottman believes that his team’s major strength will be their chemistry. He thinks that their kicking game has improved and can make a difference this year.

Senior kicker/punter Edgar Posadas is playing football for the first time, but has potential with a strong leg. They will have to overcome key injuries to starting tight end Nate Brennan and starting linebacker Luke Rawlins, who is out for the season with a torn ACL that was suffered in the Lake Gibson preseason game.

Durant has a tough schedule this season, having to face 2018 playoff teams such as Kathleen, Bloomingdale, Lakeland and Plant City. The rest of the games on the schedule are very winnable for the very young and fairly inexperienced Cougars. Assuming that they lose those four tough games, which they are most certainly capable of winning, they will most likely win five or six games in 2019, improving on last season’s record.

Durant Cougars Schedule:
8/23 vs King
8/30 vs Riverview
9/6 @ Blake
9/13 vs Bloomingdale
9/20 @ Newsome
9/27 @ Kathleen
10/4 vs Lennard
10/11 vs Lakeland
10/18 @ Strawberry Crest
10/25 @ Plant City

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.