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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: Bill Vonada (13th season, 60-61)
Last season: 5-5
District: Class 4A, District 5
Key losses: OL Phil Lakin, OL/DL Christian Quinones, RB/DB Steven Walker, WR/DB Jake Kelley, OL Patrick Mentry, QB Chris Kelley
Who’s back: QB Brian Beeker, RB Devean Huff, RB/LB Tim Furchak, RB/LB Josh Santana, RB/DB Tom Watson, OL/DL Mitch Fischbach, OL/DL John McCloskey, DL Thomas Hyde, DL Lou Wendelstedt, OL/DL Dylan Gearhart, WR/LB David Stevens
What’s new: Vonada is one of those old-school coaches, who admits there’s very little he likes to change. The one area he can’t control is turnover of personnel, but the Eagles should have a more experienced roster this fall. Last season, Springstead had experience at five of the 22 starting positions entering September. This spring, there are some key battles going on the lines. Vonada expects his lines to carry more beef on their bones. He also notes the addition of assistant coach Dustin Kupcik, who came over from Central. Vonada has been impressed with Kupcik’s work with offensive skill players, like the running backs. Vonada also said Kupcik is the nephew of former Hudson coach Terry Voyles.
Audible: “You always want to win more than you do. I was fairly happy with how the guys performed (in 2009). We were inexperienced and usually outsized. We broke even for the season. We gave some pretty good teams a run. Now we have to build on it. You can’t be satisfied with breaking even.” — Vonada
Did you know? Huff became Springstead’s first 1,000-yard rusher in recent memory. Credit a stout offensive line with allowing the Eagles’ then-134-pounder to run with confidence up the middle or anywhere he could find space. This season, Vonada said “he might be up to 140.” Huff is one of those rare undersized players capable of making the most out of a play and using all of his strength and power to battle with more sizeable defenders.
Spring game: at Pinellas Park, 7 p.m. May 28
Sept. 3 at Hernando
Sept. 10 at Nature Coast
Sept. 17 vs. Land O’Lakes
Sept. 24 vs. Lecanto
Oct. 1 at Ridgewood
Oct. 8 at Ocala Lake Weir
Oct. 15 vs. River Ridge
Oct. 22 vs. Ocala West Port
Oct. 29 vs. Gainesville