WESLEY CHAPEL – The time to turn it up a notch for Cypress Creek quarterback Owen Walls is now.
It's his senior year and the signal caller is coming off a breakthrough campaign in 2020, despite everything going on with the coronavirus pandemic. Walls threw for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Those are impressive numbers for a player who hasn't received quite as much attention as another nearby QB in Wiregrass Ranch’s Rocco Becht.
Though the lack of scholarship offers may be something people look at with Walls, the Coyotes aren't too worried. Cypress Creek rolled to a 45-0 Kickoff Classic victory over Bishop McLaughlin and are aiming high for the 2021 season.
“I think last season we grew up a lot individually,” Walls said. “This offseason we were able to grow more as a team. We were able to work on timing with the wide receivers, tight ends, everything. We are looking to take that next step as a team.”
Walls' offensive options are plentiful, including 6-foot-3, 225-pound tight end Dylan Lolley. The junior looks to be one of Walls’ top targets in the passing game. The offense boasts a slew of running backs, as well, with Andrew Burgess II, Kione Robinson, Merrick Simmons and Tre Gibson all representing solid complimentary pieces. The Coyotes should be a fun bunch to watch this season, but how far they go will depended on the senior class on offense.
"We are senior heavy on offense," Robinson said. "(Lolley) is going to be a weapon on the outside, we have a really deep backfield and we will have a lot of options.”
Cypress Creek finished last season at 3-7 and played in the postseason for the second straight year. Now head coach Mike Johnson’s team is in a brand new league, Class 5A District 9, which includes Hudson, Nature Coast Technical, Weeki Wachee, Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills.
It's a much tougher road to reaching the playoffs for the Coyotes, as they will have to get through multiple teams that have been district champions in recent years. The regular season schedule includes a date with Bushnell South Sumter, which could be Cypress Creek's toughest game of the entire season.
Players to watch
QB, Owen Walls
TE, Dylan Lolley
OL/DL, Vincent Tre
ATH, Tre Gibson
RB, Andrew Burgess II
RB, Kione Robinson
Head coach: Mike Johnson, 5th season, 12-29 overall
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.