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East Lake: Spring football capsule

Around the county in

30 days

A daily spring preview

of every football program in Pinellas County.

East Lake

Coach: Bob Hudson (sixth season, 27-26)

Last season: 7-4 (lost in first round of Class 5A playoffs to Largo)

District: Class 5A-9 (Clearwater, Countryside, Dunedin, Palm Harbor University)

Key Losses: RB/DB Richie Bailey, RB/LB Jerry Bourland, OL/DL Thomas Ducey, DB Bryan Groc, TE/DL Justin Kresz, WR/DB Brian Lesniak,

K/P Drew Petzoldt, RB/DB Micah Powell, WR/DB Jacob Rachel, QB Blake Robles, WR/DB Kevin Sadeghpour

Who's back: RB/LB Billy Byrne, WR Nick Franz, RB/LB T. J. Herman,

WR/LB Chad Hill, OL/DL

Phillip Trump, OL/DL

Dillon Varanay, OL/DL Ryan Weitz

What's new: A lot of the faces on the Eagles sideline, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where only Byrne and Hill are proven veterans. A running back last season, Herman will play on defense as well this year and will line up at outside linebacker or safety. Robles, last year's starter at quarterback, transferred to Countryside. Rising junior Sam Shaffer, who performed well for the JV squad last season, will get the start under center. Hudson has been impressed with Shaffer's quick reads and sound decisionmaking. With Powell and Bailey graduated, seniors-to-be Derek Hunter and Herman will split carries in the backfield. Franz, a top receiving threat, is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. The offensive line should be solid with three three-year starters — Trump, Varanay and Weitz — returning. East Lake hosts Lakewood in a preseason game Aug. 29.

Audible: "We've got some kids that can play; they've just got to learn the system and adjust to the speed of varsity. I think they'll be okay." — Hudson

Did you know?: Shaffer is No. 1 in his class academically, Hudson said. "He might be the smartest kid I've ever coached," he said.

Spring game

May 23 at Port Charlotte

2008 schedule

Sept. 5 at Largo

Sept. 12 vs. St. Petersburg

Sept. 18 vs. Tarpon Springs

Sept. 26 at Clearwater

Oct. 3 vs. Pinellas Park

Oct. 17 vs. Northeast

Oct. 24 at Dunedin

Oct. 31 vs. PHU

Nov. 7 vs. Countryside

Nov. 14 at Gulf

Bryan Burns,

Times staff writer

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East Lake: Spring football capsule 05/15/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 15, 2008 9:51pm]
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