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Around the North Suncoast in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in Hernando and Pasco counties:
Coach: Justin Fenton (first season)
Last season: 5-6 (lost 17-0 to Gainesville in region quarterfinal)
District: Class 4A, District 6
Key losses: QB/DB Zack Wynn, WR/DB James Tello, RB/LB Dylan Luke, OL/DL R.J. Marshall, WR/LB Eric Bickhardt, OL/DL Luke Phelan, WR/DE Jeff Bickhardt, OL/DL Curtis Hatfield, OL/DL Taylor Foster, WR/LB Mike Powers, WR/DB Alex Graham
Who’s back: WR/DB Dontaie Collins, RB/DB Kyrie Rodriguez
What’s new: Along with new coach Fenton coming over from Mitchell, the Cobras welcome one of the area’s top defensive standouts in Land O’Lakes transfer Gary Myrick. The rising senior defensive end will be playing for his third program in three years after stops with Nature Coast and the Gators. He should play a big role in bolstering the front line. Fenton, the former defensive coordinator for the Mustangs, will bring a new attitude with him in contrast to the wide-open offensive-minded approach Mark Nash had for many years with the team. The Cobras were senior-laden, so the new coaching staff will start mostly from scratch. 2009 captain Dontaie Collins (505 receiving yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions) and Kyrie Rodriguez (47 tackles, top kick returner) are the lone returning standouts from last year’s squad.
Audible: “The one big thing we’ve instilled so far is that we don’t walk around here, we run. Football comes down to want to and hustle. That’s what wins games.” — Fenton
Did you know? The hiring of Fenton was an abrupt change in philosophy by new athletic director Andy Schmitz, also a former member of the coaching staff at Mitchell, where his father Scott Schmitz was the coach for nine seasons. …Nash took the Cobras from one of the least successful programs on the North Suncoast to postseason berths in three out of the past five seasons, including a 10-3 record and a spot in the final eight in 2005. …With 48 kids in spring practice, Fenton’s focus is on discipline. He will have a lot of players starting on both sides of the ball. He is bringing over his 3-5 base defensive scheme from Mitchell, and Andy Schmitz will serve as his offensive coordinator.
Spring game: At Wesley Chapel, 7 p.m. May 28
Aug. 26 at Mitchell (preseason)
Sept. 3 at Gulf
Sept. 10 vs. Wesley Chapel
Sept. 17 vs. Sunlake
Sept. 24 vs. Fivay
Oct. 8 vs. River Ridge
Oct. 14 at Fleming Island
Oct. 22 at Ridgewood
Oct. 29 at Tarpon Springs
Nov. 5 vs. Wiregrass Ranch
Nov. 12 at Land O’Lakes