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Football: Mobley calls new gig at Hernando 'crazy,' but that's fine with him

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Tue. June 19, 2012 | Matt Baker | Email

Football: Mobley calls new gig at Hernando 'crazy,' but that's fine with him

WESLEY CHAPEL — When the first night of games for the North Suncoast’s 7-on-7 passing league ended Tuesday at Wesley Chapel, Dwayne Mobley’s job was far from over.

Hernando’s new football coach had assistants to address. A parent had a question. A reporter had several. A player wanted to change his ride home.

And the former Leopards star rusher still had to figure out how to use what he learned from four mini-games in one summer evening to improve a team fresh off of its first district championship since 1997.

“It’s been real crazy, but I like it,” Mobley said of his first few weeks on the job. “I’m having a good time. The guys are coming along.”

Mobley knew most of the team before taking over his alma mater this month. He coached many of them when he was the head man at Parrott Middle School, and he joined Hernando as an assistant in the spring.

When coach John Palmer stepped down in late May for health reasons, Mobley thought he was ready to move up to varsity head coach.

“The opportunity just opened up for me,” said Mobley, who led the state in scoring in 1991 before winning a national title with Florida in 1996. “I guess it was a thing of being in the right place at the right time.”

Less than a month into his new job, Mobley has found time disappears too quickly when you’re trying to build relationships, organize workouts and install a new system — all in a few months before the real season begins.

“If you want a good program,” Mobley said, “you’re going to have to put the time in.”

Gators legend honored: The Pasco County School Board voted unanimously to rename Land O’Lakes’ football stadium after longtime coach John Benedetto.

A large crowd was present for the board meeting, and three supporters — former principal Max Ramos and former players Drew Weatherford and Kenny Blankenship — expressed their support for John Benedetto Stadium.

Benedetto spent 34 years at Land O’Lakes, including 32 years as the Gators’ coach. The former University of Tampa receiver posted a 196-149 record and 18 winning seasons before his contract was not renewed after the 2008 season. He ended his career by taking the Gators to the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons.

“All of the speakers that came up here and spoke to you on my behalf and you listening and making your decision has made me a very happy man,” Benedetto said. “Thank you very much.”

Tension high: The stakes for a 7-on-7 game aren’t as high as they are under Friday night lights, but that doesn’t mean tempers can’t run hot in the summer.

A scuffle broke out between one player from Land O’Lakes and one from Wesley Chapel during the final round of games Tuesday. One player appeared to throw a punch before players and coaches from both teams rushed to separate the fighters.

The game resumed moments later without further incident.

Recruiting update: FAU has offered scholarships to Pasco DL Joey Ivie and RB David Emmanuel, Ivie said.

Ivie, a four-star prospect, has more than 20 major college offers and committed to Florida over the weekend.

The Owls are the second program to offer Emmanuel, after Rutgers. Emmanuel was one of Tampa Bay’s leaders with 1,325 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns during his junior season. He earned first-team all-Suncoast honors.

Catch of the day: Hernando LB K.D. Hagood had one of Tuesday night’s highlights. Against rival Pasco, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Hagood made a one-handed interception to thwart a Pirates possession.

Staff writer Jeffrey Solochek contributed to this report.

Matt Baker can be reached at mbaker@tampabay.com.

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