No. 2 American Heritage looks poised for another state championship run
Saturday, August 25, 2012
by Jeff Greer
Nobody is more aware of what he has than Stacy Sizemore.
The first-year head coach at American Heritage spent the past two seasons on the rooftops of press boxes across Palm Beach County and at Heritage's home field in Delray Beach watching Greg Bryant and Marcus Davis run over, around and through opponents en route to consecutive state-title appearances.
Last year's team won the Class 3A state championship, with Bryant bullying his way down field behind 6-foot-6 tackle Roderick Johnson and a host of other Division I-level linemen.
But that team lost a lot, including head coach Doug Socha, who resigned under a cloud of controversy over the summer. Sizemore, Socha's defensive coordinator, was the easy choice to take his predecessor's place, and he now gets the chance take over a program that has become one of the best in the state.
"Very little," Sizemore said when asked what will change under his leadership at Heritage. "We do that for a reason. We don't want our kids to have to learn new offenses and defenses. If it's not broke, don't fix it."
The biggest concerns are Sizemore's lines, which struggled in Heritage's season-opening exhibition at Cocoa, a nationally televised 25-7 loss that exposed the Stallions' inexperienced offensive and defensive lines.
Yet for the struggles they had -- Bryant, a supremely muscular senior with great field vision, power and elusiveness, could hardly find any room to operate -- what remained clear was Heritage has one of the most athletically talented small-school teams in the state.
MaxPreps even ranked the Stallions second nationally among small-schools teams, first in Florida. They are heavy favorites to win another state championship, even with all the changes in players and a new head coach.
And Sizemore understands he doesn't have to do too much other than preach consistency and hard work. Bryant, Davis and company can do the rest.
"You never want to be too high and you never want to be too low," Sizemore told his team after its Saturday loss. "Reality falls somewhere in between."
The reality is, a familiar face is taking over a familiar force, and Sizemore expects American Heritage to roll once again, even with one of the nation's most challenging schedules.
"We'll take some lumps, I'm sure," Sizemore conceded.
Yet with Bryant, who ran for 2,180 yards and 25 touchdowns last fall, and Davis (823 passing yards, 10 TD passes) leading the way, the Stallions appear ready for another fall full of obstacles.