The 2011 season was historic for the Sunlake High Seahawks.
It was not just their first-ever playoff appearance and playoff victory. It was not merely the first year they beat Land O' Lakes High. It was also a year that brought a change in the perception of Sunlake football.
Much of that was thanks to a massive offensive line, including graduated Nate McCoole, but what left the most question marks for the Seahawks' 2012 run was how to replace their leading passer (Cameron Stoltz 1,735 yards and 28 touchdowns), rusher (Jerome Samuels 536 yards, 6 touchdowns), and their next two leading rushers (Rashaud Daniels and Mike Lopez, 778 combined yards, 8 touchdowns), and their top two receivers (Jamal Jones 557 yards, 12 touchdowns and Daniels 451 yards, 6 touchdowns).
Head coach Bill Browning doesn't seem concerned about it.
"We're fitting pieces of the puzzle together," Browning said.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, there's a holdover from last year's team that they can use as a guide and a building block. That athlete is senior Eddie Burgos.
Burgos had a very successful 2011 campaign (369 yards 5 touchdowns). However, this year, he will likely be a much larger part of the offensive production, and the defensive, for that matter (37 tackles in 2011).
"He might pop up anywhere on the field," Browning said. "Except O-line."
Burgos came up huge in the Sept. 7 season opener. He gained 235 yards and three touchdowns against the Hudson Cobras and 207 of those yards and all three touchdowns came from 11 carries at running back. He broke an 80-yarder in the game.
"I can't get a big head about that game, it was just one game," Burgos said. "If we can have like two or three big games in a row, then I will really have the confidence we can do something this year."
Burgos came back in the home opener against Wiregrass Ranch and amassed 189 yards of offense, 137 on the ground and 52 receiving, including Sunlake's only two touchdowns in the game. Burgos currently leads Pasco County in rushing yards.
It's still early in the season and the Hawks have not faced a strong team yet, but if the first two games are any indication, they are going to get Burgos the football.
"This year's team is not all about me but when it comes down to it, I want to be that guy," Burgos said.
However, Burgos' biggest contribution and potential at the next level, might be on the other side of the ball. He admits he is most comfortable playing corner.
"I like to give hits not take hits," Burgos said.
Burgos is well suited to the position at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds.
"He's got excellent hand-eye coordination," receivers coach Nick Carroll said.
But Burgos is eager to contribute anywhere he is needed and excited but still cautious about gauging this year's team.
"We're really gonna know what we have as a team when we hit the big games," Burgos said.
Burgos pointed to the Oct. 12 game at Hernando and the Oct. 19 game against Land O' Lakes as big, "indicator" games. The Oct. 5 clash with Nature Coast will be no picinic, either.