WEEKI WACHEE — Coming into spring practice, Weeki Wachee is looking to build on 2015, the most successful campaign in the program's short four-year history.
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While there will be many changes on both sides of the ball, the most crucial player likely will be under center. Third-year starter Alec Cromie set nearly every school passing record last season, but he and the coaching staff know he has much more potential.
The leap Cromie took in his junior season from his first year as a starter was notable. He passed for nearly 700 more yards, completing six percent more passes, throwing nine more touchdowns and two fewer interceptions.
While he and his teammates went 3-2 to start the season and only finished 4-6, one of Cromie's best performances came in a loss to county rival Springstead in the season finale.
Outsiders will look at his gaudy numbers against Ridgewood (266 yards, five TDs, 0 INTs), Citrus (342 yards, three TDs, one INT, and Crystal River (262 yards, three TDs, two INTs) and dismiss that he could have been better. Against the Eagles, however, he was exactly what Weeki Wachee needed him to be — efficient.
Completing 70 percent of his passes (16-of-23), he accrued 195 yards through the air with a touchdown with no interceptions. He also scrambled away from pressure at the right times in the pocket.
"(Alec) has gotten better (this spring), making quicker decisions and knowing the offense inside and out," coach Mark Lee said. "We feel comfortable enough for him to call plays himself at times, and he has the green light to audible to a play he feels will be better than the play that might be called. He has taken command of the offense."
Of the 114 completions Cromie had last fall, only 31 were caught by players who will not be graduating. Among those losses is Shawn O'Gorman, who broke the Hernando County record with 86 career receptions.
Two of the returning wideouts could prove vital. Rising sophomore Sebastian Class (six catches, 78 yards) came on late last season as a speed threat, playing in only five games after getting called up from junior varsity. Rising senior Andrew Stephenson caught 10 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
"Losing the all-time Hernando County (receiving) leader in O'Gorman is going to be tough to replace," Lee said, "but we feel with Sebastian Class, Trevor Hamilothoris and Andrew Stephenson, along with Diante Thomas and Shaun Young, we will pick up where we left off last season."
Hamilothoris, a rising senior, made some waves early last season. Thomas and Young, both rising juniors, have stood out in spring practice with their speed and ball-catching ability.
Between a new crop of receivers and the return of rising senior Montae Bostick in the backfield, the offense is in good hands. Bostick ran for 706 yards with five touchdowns. After taking over as the starting tailback midway through the season, he averaged 6.4 yards per carry lining up behind Cromie.
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