MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
As the 2009 prep football season approaches, the St. Petersburg Times will break down each position in the county. Today we take a look at special teams.
Top returning kickers
1. Ash Dudney, Armwood: The Hawks’ punter/kicker, Dudney was good for nearly a touchdown a game last season. He converted 52 PATs and five field goals, one of which was the difference in a 9-6 win against Tampa Bay Tech. He also happens to possess a weighted GPA (6.1) that far exceeds his hang time.
2. Andres Vasquez, Sickles: As a sophomore last year, Vasquez’s five field goals included a 37-yarder in overtime against Boca Ciega to preserve Sickles’ postseason hopes. He has spent the offseason working with renowned local kicking coach Tom Feely.
3. Mattias Ciabatti, Hillsborough: In addition to averaging nearly 39 yards a punt, Ciabatti nailed 46 PATs and sent 12 kickoffs into the end zone.
4. Mike Paleveda, Tampa Catholic: Technically, TC doesn’t make the 2009 Class 2B state title game without Paleveda. Last season, he hit 42 of 44 PATs, including one in the state semifinals at Hollywood Chaminade that provided the difference in a 7-6 win. Dude can punt, too.
5. Tanner Stocker, Wharton: The Wildcats’ most versatile player, Stocker averaged 38 yards a punt last season, pinning 12 inside the 20. His longest covered 67 yards. He’ll also likely kick off and, of course, start in the secondary.
Top returning returners
1. Frankie Williams, Robinson: We can’t imagine any coach willfully choosing to kick to Williams this year. A bona fide threat to score every time he handles a punt or kickoff, Williams amassed 1,500 all-purpose yards as a junior, scoring six different ways.
2. Nelson Agholor, Berkeley Prep: The Buccaneers’ indefatigable star averaged nearly 23 yards a punt return and 34.5 yards per kick return, including a 99-yarder against Indian Rocks Christian.
3. Nick Addison, Spoto: The most versatile Spartan offered a glimpse of what to expect this fall with an 82-yard kick return for a touchdown in the spring jamboree.
Keep an eye on
Kyle Bellini, Jesuit: The Tigers, who produce quality legs the way Dale Mabry produces traffic, has another hang-time purveyor in this diminutive senior. Bellini, who will kick and punt, occasionally brandished his skills last season as a backup to Tyler Feely.
Leto two-way star Jahmeire Caldwell, recently listed among our local tight ends to watch, will take snaps at the position, but Leto’s primary tight end is senior David McPherson. Coach Mike Jalazo says McPherson (6-foot-6, 220 pounds) has scholarship potential.
Other stories in this series: