Land O’ Lakes goes independent looking for better results

LAND O’ LAKES — A different route is going to be taken for this particular Land O’ Lakes Gators football team, and that’s going independent in 2021.

Facing what might’ve been a brutal 2021 regular season schedule, Land O’ Lakes opted to make the program independent for an opportunity to compete. Now with a more competition-friendly schedule, they feel they have a chance to turn things around is this fall.

“We are in a situation that we are a rebuilding program," said LOL head coach Trac Baughn. "We were going to be in a situation where we were not going to be able to compete as a football team.

“We felt the schedule we would’ve had in Class 7A wouldn’t have been advantageous for where our program is at. We checked into getting a schedule and we feel the kids should be able to compete. We made the best overall decision for our football program."

The schedule for the Gators is still a tough one despite going the independent route. Land O’ Lakes will be facing Weeki Wachee to kick things off before taking on Hollins, Central, Sunlake, Bayshore, Cypress Creek, Tampa Catholic, Pasco, Osceola and Keswick Christian.

Land O’ Lakes has one of its deeper teams in recent memory, as they are fielding over 50 players, according to MaxPreps.com. The Gators will be relying on numerous skill players to help take them over the hump in 2021, including quarterback Kyle Horvath, who has shown a lot of promise.

Horvath should have some good targets to key in on, including tight end David Alejandro, who stands at 6-foot-3, 212 pounds. Horvath to Alejandro could follow in a long line of great quarterback-to-tight end connections in Land O’ Lakes. These include greats like Drew Weatherford/Caz Piurowski and Ryan Bird/Kent Taylor. Horvath to Alejandro could add to that list if the 2021 season goes the way Land O’ Lakes hopes it does.

Players to watch

QB, Kyle Horvath

TE, David Alejandro

WR/SS, Nick Kleoppl

OL/DL, Aidan Marsh

TE/DE, John Coggin

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at andyvillamarzo@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.