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HomeTeam Huddle: Rain doesn't deter some Pinellas teams

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Wed. May 1, 2013 | Times Staff

HomeTeam Huddle: Rain doesn't deter some Pinellas teams

EAST LAKE — In a steady drizzle, the 2013 East Lake Eagles gathered together for the first time, at a football practice in spring with an eye on a season still three months away. And from sideline to sideline, the new and old parts made an attempt to meld as a team.

At one end of the field, Jake Hudson, Jordan Leston and Brandon Swift — the quarterback combination that is trying to replace Pete DiNovo — worked together as a group for the first time, alternating snaps in passing drills.

The offensive linemen, led by Michigan recruit Mason Cole, worked on blocking techniques. The receivers, such as four-star playmaker Artavis Scott, ran routes.

It was all done while recruiters from Buffalo and USF stood on the sidelines. FSU, Miami and West Virginia also stopped by.

“The kids just want to get out there and get going,” East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. “This is what they’ve been waiting for for months.”

The Eagles’ practice was a success because they were one of the few county teams that scheduled it early enough (1:30 p.m.) to avoid much of the heavy rain that forced some to go with an abbreviated workout or cancel practice.

Clearwater Central Catholic had to wait for lightning to clear before having a short practice on its turf field.

“We got wet, but we got through it,” Marauders coach John Davis said.

Countryside had a walkthrough inside the gymnasium.

Gibbs first-year coach Rick Kravitz decided to cancel practice due to heavy rain and lightning. A group of about 20 players gathered in the gym to run pass routes, but coaches were not in attendance.

“We’ll try again tomorrow,” Kravitz said.

Northeast worked out in the weight room and gym.
“We have some flexibility since we don’t play until the 31st, but we decided to work out today,” Vikings coach Mike Jalazo said. “We’re missing some guys right now. We had about 40-plus kids (Wednesday). We expect to have about 55-60 once we really get going.”

Countryside to lose key lineman
Ricky Thomas Jr. was expected to be a breakout star and ease the loss of defensive lineman Mike Love, who is graduating. But Thomas, a sophomore, will only be able to help out in the spring. He is moving once the school year ends to be with his father, Ricky Thomas Sr., who took a job as an assistant with the University of Nevada this offseason.

Last year, Thomas had 23 tackles and was tied for second on the team in sacks with five.

“It’s tough to have to eventually lose a guy like Ricky,” Cougars coach Jared Davis said. “His dad coached at Georgia State last year but being at Nevada would have been too far to keep the family here. Ricky wanted to finish out the year and play in the spring. We would have had him playing on both sides of the ball this fall. He’s too good not have to out there. We’ll just have to move along and keep filling the holes.”

Recruiting buzz for CCC’s Brown, Reed
College recruiters from Buffalo, Miami, Pennsylvania, Villanova and West Virginia stopped by Clearwater Central Catholic.

Among those they watched were linebacker Caanan Brown and defensive lineman Justus Reed. Brown got his first offer from Virginia on Tuesday. Reed picked up offers from Virginia and USF in the past week.

Davis, Harrington add to offers
Northeast junior quarterback Ryan Davis and senior running back Keith Harrington both received scholarship offers from Wake Forest, according to Jalazo. Both players have been adding to their growing list of offers lately. Harrington is also getting interest from Kentucky, Jalazo said. He has also heard from Arizona and Ball State.

Davis has offers from Florida State, Arizona and now Wake Forest.

Davis threw for more than 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore. Harrington gained 535 yards rushing and 537 yards receiving as a junior.

Tweets of the day
“Bump Mother Nature. We still practicing.” — CCC quarterback Blake Gomez

“People are acting as if spring football starts today or something.” — Dixie Hollins coach Shannon Brooks

Photo: Stormy weather cancelled spring football practice at Countryside High

Compiled by staff writers Bob Putnam and Rodney Page.

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