Rodney Page: Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer
With only five seniors on his 43-man roster, Cambridge Christian coach Bob Dare wasn’t sure what to expect this season. Not only did the Lancers have to replace three-year starter Garrett Young, but two of the top receivers and several key defensive players from 2014’s 8-2 team as well.
What Dare did have was his sophomore class.
Jaylin Jackson, who played junior varsity and threw all of one pass for the varsity as a freshman, stepped in at quarterback. All he has done so far is throw for 1,048 yards and 15 touchdowns, and add 399 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Sophomore Andrew Cunningham, a bona fide starter last season, has gained 1,042 yards and scored 22 touchdowns, 17 more than any other rusher on the team.
The top receiver is Caleb Young, the younger brother of Garrett, who has 19 catches for 284 yards and three touchdowns.
And on defense, Richard Gouraige — selected to take part in the NFL Prep Academy over the summer — has 42 tackles. Fellow sophomore Derrick Powell Jr. has six interceptions, which puts him among the state leaders.
Thanks to its young guns, the Lancers are 10-0 and notched the school’s first playoff win last week over Northside Christian. They are also ranked No. 1 in Class 2A.
“A lot of our guys are sophomores,” Dare said. “We had some big players to replace but I knew that these sophomores were talented. Andrew had a good season as a freshman and Caleb plays hard no matter where you put him. Jaylin has really stepped up, and we knew Gouraige and Powell could play. … We’re blessed to have these guys and to be 10-0 right now.”
Cambridge Christian will try to continue its historic season against Admiral Farragut.
Win or lose, Dare, 59, said he isn’t going anywhere.
“I’m shooting for another 30 years,” he said. “I want to coach until I’m 90. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m coaching some of my former players’ kids. I want to coach their grandkids.”