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Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in Hillsborough County:
Coach: Mark Kantor (ninth season, 39-48)
Last season: 1-9
District: Class 5A, District 5
Key losses: DB Jamal Allen, DL Derrick Bavol, OL/DL Demetrius Best, DB Darrio Newsome, DB Resha Talley
Who’s back: DL Angel Alvarez, SLB Levon Brookins, WR Josh Bultron, HB Zach Condon, SS Nate Ellis-Williams, QB Shug Oyegunle, WR John Pernes, MLB Josh Scarberry
What’s new: Aside from some new faces on the defensive coaching staff, not much. Kantor, who “overhauled” his staff in the offseason and hired former semi-pro coach Denny Randolph as his defensive coordinator, lost only 15 seniors from his 2009 roster. So while chronologically still young, the Cowboys have a ton of game experience. Oyegunle, a promising rising sophomore with mobility and a nice arm, takes over as full-time quarterback after sharing snaps last season with Condon, now an H-back. Look for Pernes (25 catches, 318 yards) to be among Oyegunle’s top targets in Gaither’s spread formation. In the Cowboys’ 50 defense, the tandem of Scarberry and Brookins (161 total tackles in ’09) give Gaither an underrated set of linebackers.
Audible: “I think we’ll be vastly improved on the field. We took our lumps last year; we were young and inexperienced and that’s what happens. …We just hope the lumps they took will transition to earning more victories.” — Kantor
Did you know? Kantor says he has had more than 60 players at a typical spring practice. …Though technically still sophomores until next month, Scarberry and Brookins already have 28 total games of varsity experience under their belts. …Kantor reported no significant transfers in the offseason, a stark contrast from last year when FB Cary White (Chamberlain, then Sickles), WR/DB Dylan Fisher (Alonso), QB Dominic Marino (to Leto) and DE Anthony Chickillo (Alonso) were among those to bolt.
Spring game: One half vs. Chamberlain (at Hillsborough), 6:30 p.m. May 21
Aug. 27 vs. Durant (preseason)
Sept. 3 at Sickles
Sept. 10 at Steinbrenner
Sept. 16 vs. Wharton
Sept. 24 vs. Freedom
Oct. 1 at Hillsborough
Oct. 8 vs. Plant
Oct. 15 vs. Plant City
Oct. 22 at Chamberlain
Oct. 29 at Armwood
Nov. 5 vs. Alonso