The Chargers are in year three of their rebuild under Head Coach Phillip Prior. They look to build depth this season, with most of their top athletes playing both ways. Playing down the road from elite programs such as Armwood and Plant City has made it more difficult for the Chargers to get more athletes because of the school choice rules.

Strawberry Crest has a three-headed quarterback attack with senior Dylan Peeples, junior Coby Burger and Junior Ryan Weems. They will showcase this rotation of QBs, each having different skill sets. Burger is one of the faster players on the team, so he tends to be more of a runner that will be featured in a wildcat package; Weems is an athletic runner as well; and Peeples is more of a drop-back passer.

The Chargers will run a multiple pro-style offense that commits to running the football to set up the play-action pass. The offense will return four players this year. Key athletes include senior offensive lineman Elijah Johnson, who will anchor that line, while running backs Devin Blunt, Miles Jones and Weems will carry the load on the ground. At receiver, Marcus Springfield and junior Quincy Hart will be relied upon through the air.

The defense of the Chargers will be the major strength of the team, returning seven starters. Key players include defensive end and disrupter Miles Jones, while in the young but skilled and experienced secondary, Springfield, Weems, Hart and Blunt will cover ground. The defense is young with only two seniors, but most of the players have been in the system for at least a year, if not more. This unit will keep the Chargers in games this season.

The team has a very manageable schedule, facing six teams with losing records last season. The Chargers can win four to five games this year, if not more.

Strawberry Crest will have to find creative ways to put points up on the board and avoid penalties. They were shut out on offense in their preseason and week-one games. Prior’s ultimate goal for the season is to win games and compete. He preaches to his team to do their job with great effort, attitude and technique (EAT). He says that when all three phases ‘EAT,’ they are going to be successful.

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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.