With the spring session behind them, area high school football teams head into the summer with a good idea of where they're at and what they need to work on before the fall.
It's no coincidence teams that have returning quarterbacks are breathing a little easier than those that don't after spring games wrapped up Friday. All 12 local schools played this month, and the teams with the biggest wins were the ones with veteran signal-callers under center.
First Baptist, Immokalee and South Fort Myers breezed to victories behind the leadership of quarterbacks with multiple years of staring experience. Each team scored behind efficient offenses that put up more than 40 points.
For Immokalee's Tshumbi Johnson and First Baptist's Corey Todd, the spring blowouts kicked off the start to their senior years. Each quarterback enters his fourth season starting for his team this fall.
Johnson, the reigning Daily News player of the year, might have had the best spring game of any local quarterback. He threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns in a 54-38 win over Clewiston, and ran for 76 yards and two scores. Johnson missed most of the fourth quarter after taking a shot to the head early in the period.
"We have some things to clean up, but we got some big performances," Immokalee coach Jerrod Ackley said. "Tshumbi had a good game. ... We still have to get a lot better during the summer time."
Todd's passing stats weren't his best — 4 of 21 for 89 yards and a touchdown — but he led a Lions offense that dominated Pembroke Pines-Somerset in a 41-0 win.
After leading South Fort Myers to an 8-4 record and the regional semifinals last year, Andrew Dailidonis returns at quarterback for the Wolfpack. He warmed up for his senior campaign by completing 6 of 8 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half, of a 51-0 blowout of Golden Gate.
A few teams saw their starters use up their eligibility, but got impressive performances from experienced backups.
With Billy Crook gone, Naples is turning to rising junior Kilton Anderson in the fall. Though he's young, Anderson has two varsity starts under his belt, and they came in the Golden Eagles' biggest games last season.
Anderson started for an injured Crook in two playoffs games last year. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder led Naples to a 41-0 win over Fort Myers in the regional semifinals, and started again in a regional championship loss to Daytona Beach-Mainland.
Despite missing half of spring football practice while playing for the Eagles' baseball team, Anderson started Friday, and led Naples to a 42-0 victory over Bradenton-Braden River. He completed 5 of 6 passes for two touchdowns and ran for another score in a game that ended at halftime because of the weather.
"Five-for-six is pretty good," Naples coach Bill Kramer said. "I'd like to have been able to throw it around a little more tonight. ... We have a couple really good quarterbacks, and we did a great job protecting them (Friday). Hopefully, we can make some pretty big strides in the passing game (this summer)."
Estero also turned to a new quarterback with plenty of experience. Senior Christian Phillips was the backup in the Wildcats' pass-happy attack the past two seasons, and went 2-0 in games he started.
Phillips got a chance to prove himself this spring, and he didn't disappoint. He threw for 249 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 56-28 victory over Evangelical Christian.
Palmetto Ridge was led to a 21-7 victory over LaBelle by returning senior Sean Hatch. Hatch completed just 3 of 10 passes, but the Bears focused more on the run after switching to an I-formation offense.