The 2023 East Bay High School Indians look to win back-to-back district titles. Former Durant head coach Mike Gottman has changed the culture of the program, going 8-3 in his first season and 10-2 last season, winning the district championship and going two rounds deep into the playoffs. 

Gottman had a great track record at Durant from 2003-20, where he went 107-83 and won four district titles. In his first season, the Cougars went to the state final four, and in 2012 they had a perfect 10-0 regular season.

The Indians will have to replace three-year starting quarterback Nate Carter, who was the heart and soul of the team. East Bay will go with a two-quarterback system to start. William ‘Rocco’ Boyd and Roderick Mack will take snaps at signal caller. Boyd was the JV QB last season and has a strong grasp of the offense and is a dual threat. Mack is more athletic but needs to learn the offense a little better and won’t be cleared to play for a couple weeks, according to Gottman.

The team is off to a great start, trouncing the Middleton Tigers 38-6 in the regular-season opener. Gottman thinks that his team’s strength is its defense. He is happy with his D-line and inside linebackers but said that they need to improve at outside linebacker and in the secondary and not give up as many big plays. The Indians are a young and inexperienced team, returning two players on offense and five on defense.

Key players include three-year starting fullback Jaelin Sneed; offensive guard Jamal Platts; center Christian Forte; receiver Deanthony Caldwell, who has had a nice start to the season; and running back Anthony Laurent, who will take some of the carries. Seniors Izaiah Ketchup and Jose Hernandez will make an impact on both sides of the ball. 

The Indians have two really good defensive ends in Sherman Johnson and Landon Hernandez. Inside linebackers Emanuel White and Justin Cornish will help lead the defense. Kicker Kaydien Saul, who is also a soccer player, has a strong leg and will handle kickoff, extra point and field-goal duties.

Gottman is of the mindset that his team needs to get better day by day and remain consistent in their approach. Their motto is “Embrace the grind.” East Bay has a very manageable schedule. Expect this team to claim their district for a second straight year and win nine to 10 games this season.


8/25 vs. Middleton

9/8 @ Sickles

9/14 @ Riverview

9/22 vs. Jefferson

9/29 @ Spoto

10/6 @ Chamberlain

10/13 vs. Lennard

10/20 vs. Berkeley Prep

10/27 vs. Bloomingdale

11/3 @ King

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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.