Posted: 9:19 pm Thursday, May 12th, 2011
By Jeff Greer
Note: Welcome to the PBGametime 2011 Spring Football Tour. During our three-week tour, we visit area teams, meet some of the top players and answer the most pressing questions. The first stop is Park Vista, where the Cobras are faster on defense but must replace Auburn-bound running back Tre Mason and three Division I offensive linemen.
Click below to see the video, and come back at PBGametime.com in the coming days as we make more stops around the area.
This season, Park Vista will be faster than it’s ever been under coach Brian Dodds, but replacing one particular speedster that the Cobras lost will be difficult. Running back Tre Mason rushed for 48 touchdowns and more than 3,000 yards over the past two seasons. He did that thanks in large (and we mean that literally) part to a massive offensive line anchored by Mike Matulis (South Carolina), Cody Preble (Wake Forest) and Zach Sibrava (Charleston Southern) and fullback Pat Thompson (Mount Union).
With those five key cogs gone, Dodds will now turn to his defense anchored by middle linebacker Silmore Dallaway to carry his 2011 team.
“I always set the tone for the defense,” Dallaway said. “We’re going to get to the ball and make plays … We’re not gonna look back on last year. This is a new year, new team. We’re doing our own thing now.”
Dallaway (6-0, 220) will be the most-sought-after college recruit at Park Vista among the rising seniors, with West Virginia, FAU and Georgia State among the schools that have already stopped by practice to check in on him. Several BCS schools, including Wisconsin, Illinois and South Carolina have expressed interest in Dallaway as well.
“He’s our best defensive player,” Dodds said. “We have a lot back on defense. That’s going to be our strong point this year.”
There are plenty of questions about the Cobras’ offense, starting at quarterback. Newly enrolled Shane Bussey, who started last season at King’s Academy, appears to be the leader for the quarterback job in the fall, but he cannot play in the spring game because of transfer rules. Last year’s starter Jason Davis injured his knee in practice last week, and his status going forward is uncertain. Athlete Quad Martin, who transferred from Santaluces, is another intriguing prospect who’ll be used wherever possible.
Park Vista does return two big linemen in Shane O’Shea and Nathan Kengle, who are both around 6-3, 270 pounds. But without Mason, Dodds said there’s no question his team will have to pass more in the fall, something the Cobras haven’t done in recent seasons. Expect to see more spread formations and multiple receiver sets.
“That’s what we didn’t do the past couple years,” Dodds said, “and it’s cost us.”
Park Vista has had high expectations in recent years, but has fallen short of the regional playoffs the past two seasons. But even without the best running back in the county on this year’s team, the pressure is still on. The Cobras are in a wide-open district with Boca Raton, John I. Leonard and Palm Beach Central.
In the process of trying to return to the playoffs, Dodds hopes to find a few new college-level prospects to follow in the big footsteps of Mason, Matulis, Preble and company.
“Because we’re 8A, for us to able to compete, we have to have kids of that caliber,” Dodds said. “We lost a ton of offensive personnel. We do have some speed. It’s young speed, and they’re unproven, but there is potential there to have some good athletes. Now they have to push themselves forward to reach that level themselves.”