The Crusaders are coming off their best season in the school’s 11-year football history, in which they went undefeated in the regular season, making a deep playoff run and eventually losing to 2A-powerhouse Admiral Farragut Academy 20-7. They went 11-1 overall under fourth-year Head Coach Travis Puelo.

Seffner Christian Academy is poised to make another playoff run this season, but they will first have to get through a tough regular season schedule. They are led by senior Navy commit and quarterback Isaiah Knowles. The duel-threat quarterback was an All-State selection last season and threw for 2,160 yards with 34 touchdowns and just five interceptions while rushing for 275 yards and five touchdowns on 52 carries (5.3 avg).

Coach Puelo raves about Knowles’ football knowledge, game-planning and preparation, as well as his leadership and work ethic. Knowles has been a team captain for the last three seasons.

Senior captain Justin Stubbs is the team’s leading returning rusher with 790 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns. Junior tight end Michael Trigg was an All-State selection last season. He is a special athlete and has an offer to play football and basketball for USF, among other schools.

Senior mic linebacker Tristan Kistler is considered the quarterback of the defense; he led the team in total tackles with 133 and 10 tackles for loss last season. He is the top academic player on the team and will potentially play for an Ivy League school.

Junior Niko Fowler anchors down the offensive line, which Coach Puelo believes is the strength of his team. Clay Wedin has a lot of potential as a 6-6, 275-pound ninth-grader at the left tackle position.

They are a multiple-look spread team, but they will run first to set up the pass behind their big O-line, which averages around 270 pounds. Seffner Christian definitely has the talent to make a run in the 2A division.

Seffner Christian Academy Schedule:

8/16 vs Victory Christian
8/23 vs Orlando Christian
8/30 @ Holy Trinity
9/6 vs Zephyrhills Christian
9/13 @ Carrollwood Day
9/27 @ Tampa Bay Christian
10/4 vs Cambridge
10/11 @ Master’s Academy
10/18 vs Community School of Naples
10/25 @ Indian Rocks
11/1 vs Father Lopez

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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.