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Besides Pasco’s Trey Dudley-Giles and Sunlake’s Jamal Jones, Dondre Daley from Anclote might be the most dangerous threat lining up at receiver on the North Suncoast this spring. The rising senior stands 6-foot-3 and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. Though the senior will be a tough cover for area defensive backs, we were able to track him down and ask about college plans and the Sharks possibly talking playoffs in the fall.
You guys made some strides last season and are looking like a playoff contender in your new district. How do you feel about the possibility of making the postseason in the school’s third season of varsity play?
We got two new players, with Chris Gregory coming from Gulf and Austin Rumer from Ridgewood, so they should both help us out quite a bit in our push for the playoffs.
You’re starting to receive some attention from big-name colleges. Does that excite and motivate you even more for your senior season?
It gets me motivated because I didn’t think I’d get any attention this season. I tore my meniscus last season, but I’m doing good now and the scouts are coming slowly.
How has the team come together this spring?
Ever since spring practice started, only like a couple kids have missed practice but besides that everyone is always here. Like last year we didn’t have that. A lot of people missed and skipped out on practice. Now we’re coming together as a team.
You’ve been here since the beginning. Talk about the major differences you see in the program from Day One to now.
First year like only 30 kids showed up for the football team, and then the second year we started with around 40 people. I think we have more than 40 now, and having more guys come out really helps us out at practice.
Bulldogs linemen putting in the work
Zephyrhills second-year coach Reggie Roberts feels his Bulldogs will be more balanced this season on offense, partly because of a motivated group of young linemen and partly because of new offensive coordinator Arturo Meza.
What the Bulldogs’ linemen lack in experience they make up for in size and tenacity. Roberts said the starting offensive line will likely consist of Justin Shaffer, Josh Shaffer, Drew Allen, Jacob McLaughlin and Devon Long.
“They’re just guys that want to come out here and work hard every day,” Roberts said. “They don’t care about having their names in the paper, those guys, they come out here and bust butt.”
Meza comes from a wishbone-oriented offense at East Bay where 1,000-yard rushers are the norm. The Bulldogs haven’t had a running back gain more than 1,000 yards since Chris Henry carried for 1,050 during the 2007 season.
“Offensively, I really believe we’ve made great improvements,” Roberts said. “We’ve come a long way. … We’ll see when the whistle blows on Friday nights, but I believe from what I can see, I can see improvement.”
Bulls on parade
Wiregrass Ranch lost a considerable number of players to graduation, but don’t feel sorry for the Bulls. A handful of underclassmen have caught the eye of coach Jeremy Shobe and will become household names in the future, including Tyree Creary, a rising sophomore slot receiver and cornerback with good size and decent speed.
“He’s more of an offensive guy,” Shobe said. “He’s just a guy that came out that’s never played and will be able to help us.”
Also helping the receiving corps is Angel Quiones, a shifty runner who will line up in the slot and will be a senior in the fall.
Wesley Chapel transfer Quinton Sylvester, a rising junior, plays tough and will help the defensive line.
And Adolfo Marlin didn’t play last season but the senior-to-be is a ball-hawking athlete at cornerback.
“He’ll be our shut-down kid,” Shobe said.
What they’re saying
Every day, we pose a question to our readers on our Facebook page. Next up: Based on the reports from spring practices and scrimmages, give us the bay area’s top five teams as they stand right now.
What’s your call? Go here, become a fan and give us your thoughts.
Compiled by staff writer Bryan Burns and correspondent Andy Villamarzo.