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Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in Hillsborough County
Coach: David Mitchell (sixth season, 34-21)
Last season: 2-8
District: Class 5A, District 7
Key losses: MLB John Collins, DL Eric Hammond, S Terrence Hicks, RB Shane McEwen, C/NG Blake Nold, OL/DL Eric Nordlund, RB/LB Malik Williams
Who’s back: QB Ryan Hatter, OL Conrad Jones, RG Jacob Meier, DE Chowdele Pierre, DE Emmanuel Simon, S/QB Tanner Stocker, LB/RB Kyle Wilcox
What’s new? Attitude. Mitchell suggests the Wildcats’ abysmal 2009 season has forged continuity in this group, which remains very young. Don’t be surprised, Mitchell said, if the offensive line consists exclusively of sophomores at times this fall. Hatter, who took a majority of the snaps last season, played most of the one-half victory against King in last week’s jamboree, but Mitchell said Stocker — also a safety — remains a serious competitor for the job. Wesley Chapel transfer Jon Mahan (5-8, 170 pounds), an 1,100-yard rusher for the Pasco County school last season, should capably fill the backfield void left by the graduation of McEwen. Defensively, Wharton returns only four starters, but Pierre and Simon are solid bookends on the line.
Audible: “These guys are much more motivated. It’s like night and day. These kids have been through that (2-8) experience and don’t want to experience that again, so I think that will help.” — Mitchell
Did you know? Mitchell won a 2010 Ford Focus at the recent Hillsborough County Coaches Banquet sponsored annually by the Steinbrenner family and New York Yankees. …Mitchell indicated a possibility exists that rising senior WR/DB Xavier Fisher, who sustained a cracked lumbar in a game last September, could return. Mitchell, however, remains very cautious with his optimism.
Spring result: defeated King 17-14 in first half of May 21 jamboree at Wharton
Aug. 27 vs. Bloomingdale (preseason)
Sept. 3 at Spoto
Sept. 10 vs. Chamberlain
Sept. 16 at Gaither
Sept. 24 at Armwood
Oct. 1 vs. Jefferson
Oct. 8 vs. Brandon
Oct. 22 at Freedom
Oct. 29 vs. East Bay
Nov. 5 vs. Tampa Bay Tech
Nov. 12 at Sickles