A brief Q&A with Armwood coach Sean Callahan, whose program appears free of Florida High School Athletic Association scrutiny for the first time since the fall of 2011:
A lot of people are unsure of what to make of Armwood entering 2013. What’s Armwood going to be?
I think we’re going to be a talented young team. Last year we played like, six or seven sophomores extensively, and they’re all back. And then we get (RB) Greg Newton back, (FB) Craig Carrington back. So I would describe us as a young, talented team.
The FHSAA probe (which cost Armwood its 2011 state title and a handful of key players in 2012) is behind you, and you have a new administration here at Armwood. Do you feel rejuvenated?
Oh man, do I ever. I feel like I’ve got a new job. I mean, this is the most excited I’ve been for spring in a long time. It was a good offseason for us. We got bigger and stronger, had good test scores the other day. …We need depth at quarterback, our offensive line and defensive line are Armwood-thin because we don’t play people both ways. But after that, skill positions, we’re pretty strong. I think we could surprise people.
So you’ll be a pistol team?
Yeah. I mean, we’re incorporating it. We’re not going to live in it, but it’s definitely something that we’re going to take advantage of because it does fit the skill sets that we have.…We’ll throw the ball, but we’ll probably be throwing it very quickly. Not because of protection but just because of the type of offense it’s going to be.
To which former Armwood quarterback does projected starter Noah Johnson most compare?
He’s not as good as Mywan (Jackson) was yet, but he’ll be something like that. I think he’ll be a better passer and not quite as good a runner. But Noah will be able to get us out of trouble if we’re in a bind.
A long wait at Leto
The games don’t start for another four months and like most other football players, Leto defensive back Juan Garcia can’t wait to get under those Friday night lights.
Unlike most other players, particularly rising seniors, Garcia has never experienced them for himself.
Garcia has been academically ineligible much of the past two years, dutifully attending all practices and team workouts but unable to play in a game. That should change this fall, as Garcia has steadily improved his grades and finally achieved a qualifying GPA.
“People kept encouraging me and telling me to keep trying my best,” Garcia said. “I can’t wait to get out there. We want to be the first team to get that win.”
Ah, a win.
Garcia is part of a junior class that has never witnessed a victory by the Falcons; their last win came against Middleton in the 2009 regular-season finale. (Leto has, however, been awarded two victories over that stretch because of forfeits.)
The addition of Garcia, whom coach Matt Kitchie calls the team’s fastest player, and changes on and off the field have the Falcons cautiously optimistic that the losses won’t continue forever.
“I’m not saying we’re going to win,” said Kitchie, who is entering his third year at Leto. “But we’re going to be competitive.
“With guys like Juan, we’re much better now than we were a year ago. I’m so proud of him.”
Garcia would love to reward his coach’s patience and faith in him with the win that has eluded them all since they arrived on campus.
“We’re a lot better than we’ve been,” Garcia said. “I feel like we’re ready to make the next step.”
Number of the day
2 Returning starters for Hillsborough — rising junior quarterback Dwayne Lawson and rising senior offensive tackle Frank Carter. Terriers coach Earl Garcia, who will enter his 21st season in charge of the program, called this team the youngest he’s had at Hillsborough. A talented sophomore class, which includes Lawson, has Garcia excited about the Terriers’ potential. “We’re going to have a good club in 2014,” he said. “We should have a good one in 2013, too.”
Tweet of the day
“Day 3 of the worst 3 days in football practice. #LetsHitAlready #PadUP” @ALONSOFOOTBALL, which apparently couldn’t get to the first day of practice with full pads soon enough.
Compiled by staff writers Joel Anderson and Joey Knight.