Saturday, April 21, 2018

Five newcomers on offense you need to know

We're previewing what's ahead on the bay area gridiron. Today: Five newcomers on offense you need to know.

Spencer Shoun, Hudson

For the past three seasons, Hudson has specialized in producing 1,000-yard rushers. Last season, the Cobras had two, Nate Munson and Billy Werner. With those two now graduated, Spencer Shoun is in line to be the next.

A backup last season, Shoun will get the bulk of the carries in an offense that traditionally has big linemen who can pave the way for running backs to put up big numbers.

Shoun, a senior, had just five carries for 43 yards last year. But he showed what he can do in a more prominent role in the spring with 190 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries in a win over Dixie Hollins.

"Spencer is outstanding," coach Rob Mahler said. "He is the leader of this team and our best player on both sides of the ball."

Shoun also will play linebacker and had a team-leading 107 tackles last season. But the headlines will come whenever he has the ball on offense.

Mahler has weapons with Fivay transfer Cyler Doran at quarterback and other solid skill players such as Justin Griffin, Dominick Rutigliano and Remy Turner. Shoun, though, could be the difference maker.

"I'm always hesitant to say a kid should get 1,000 yards rushing in a season," Mahler said. "But we do produce 1,000-yard backs year in and year out and Spencer is one of the best we've had in a long time."

Keon Gulley, Northeast

Northeast is going to field a young team. Coach Jeremy Frioud said he'll likely start five freshmen, something he would never normally do. It didn't help that receivers Adul Yates, Jalynn Williams and Bryce Green all transferred to St. Petersburg.

But there does seem to be a bright spot. Sophomore Keon Gulley will take over at quarterback after guiding the junior varsity to an undefeated 2015. He did see some varsity action late in last year's 2-8 campaign. He threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns in parts of five games, but also had five interceptions.

With a spring game under his belt, Gulley said he is ready to take over.

"I'm comfortable with everybody now," he said. "Ever since the spring I've been comfortable. And now I'm going to take over the leadership role."

Gulley is not big at 6-foot, 147 pounds. But he does have speed and arm strength. He might need the speed part because the Vikings don't have the biggest offensive line. And he won't be the only offensive weapon. Shaquan Johnson is a 1,000-yard back.

There is no doubt Gulley will be key to a successful Vikings season.

"I know the plays very well. I can get out of the pocket and throw," he said. "I can always extend the play with my feet. I think people are going to be very excited by what they see this season."

Max Campbell, Jesuit

He is 5 feet 8, 154 pounds, but you'd better watch out for him.

Meet Jesuit senior receiver Max Campbell.

"What he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed, focus and work ethic," coach Matt Thompson said. "He has worked himself into a great football player."

Particularly in the past year.

Consider that last season as a junior, Campbell played in seven games and caught eight passes for 120 yards. But by the time the spring game came around he had worked himself into full-time role where in a 28-6 victory against Gibbs he caught seven passes for 112 yards.

"That was a great night for everybody," Campbell said. "It was great to be a part of it."

Campbell also said it was the end result of endless sprints to get faster, countless cutting drills to sharpen routes, hundreds of hours in the weight room and an average of 1,000 passes caught every week, including hundreds thrown by his father in the backyard.

"I know that I have to be the hardest worker out there," said Campbell, who is slated to play full time at slot and wide receiver. "Now I can't wait for this senior year. I can't wait to get out there and help our team."

Nathan Sims, Springstead

After starting at quarterback on junior varsity last season, Nathan Sims knew he would have to find a new position with Jordan Wright firmly entrenched as the starter.

Sims, a sophomore, will be in several spots. He will catch passes. He will run the ball. He will handle kick returns. He might even play some defense.

"It's a different role," Sims said. "In practice, you have to stay focused and change your mindset to playing at new positions. But I always do that. I prepare myself for any position and any situation."

Sims has always been accustomed to having the ball in his hands. In youth leagues, he was primarily a running back, the position he would like to play in college. As a freshman last season, he played quarterback.

Now he is everywhere.

In the spring, he had a big impact in the passing game with six catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran three times for 33 yards and returned a kickoff 71 yards for another score in a 53-26 win over Anclote.

"Nate's dynamic," Eagles coach Mike Garofano said. "He was probably somewhat under-the-radar in the spring. That's not going to be the case anymore."

Tarrell Wymes, Dunedin

It did not take long for first-year coach Todd Brooks to notice the playmaking abilities of Tarrell Wymes in practice.

"From the first time I saw Tarrell in the spring I knew he could be special for us," Brooks said.

The only thing Wymes lacked was playing time at the high school level.

As a freshman two years ago, he opted to play on his youth league team. Last season, Wymes suffered a groin injury the third week of the season and finished with 150 yards rushing.

That was under former coach Matt LePain. Brooks was hired in the spring. With a new coach and new role, Wymes has found new life.

In the spring game, Wymes shined, rushing for 143 yards on 15 carries. He scored on a 63-yard run and ran in a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter that turned out to be the difference in a 15-14 win over Seminole. The biggest problem Brooks has is where to put Wymes.

"Tarrell will play receiver and he'll play at running back for us," Brooks said. "We'll try to put him in as many different spots as possible to defenses guessing. He has a good chance to get 1,000 yards from scrimmage … rushing and receiving."

Correspondent Scott Purks contributed to this report.

Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

The Rays have made it official – or as official as things can be with them – in naming RHP Yonny Chirinos as the fourth starter in their rotation.The Rays had been using three, and two "Bullpen Day" slots when playing five straight days.B...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
2018 NFL schedule: All 256 games ranked

2018 NFL schedule: All 256 games ranked

When the NFL released its schedule Thursday night, we were going to rank the best and worst games. Instead, we entered the Times schedule-evaluation laboratory and ranked all 256 based on their attractiveness and the quality of the teams involved.One...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs not listening to outsiders, but expectations remain high for 2018

Bucs not listening to outsiders, but expectations remain high for 2018

TAMPA —Wait 'til this year seems to be the refrain at One Buc Place, even though the team was strangled by expectations in 2017. But a solid offseason that has already brought a rebuilt defensive line, new center and place-kicker has renewed th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Man, 20, arrested in killing of Durant High football player

Man, 20, arrested in killing of Durant High football player

Deputies arrested a man late Friday they say shot and killed Durant High School football player Grover Wills.Samuel Morrissey Jr., 20, was being held without bail Saturday at the Hillsborough County jail and faces a second-degree murder charge, accor...
Updated: 2 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

Not that Friday's game went as planned, but the Rays ended up with an 8-7 10-inning win, and they're going to trot out the same lineup tonight in hopes of doing it again.RELATED: Rays find a way to prevailLHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Devils top D Vatanen out today vs. Lightning

Devils top D Vatanen out today vs. Lightning

TAMPA — Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen will not play today because of an upper body injury suffered during the first period of Game 4, coach John Hynes announced this afternoon.Mirco Mueller will replace Vatanen in the lineup.Game 5 be...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Archer’s sparkling start precedes surreal finish

Archer’s sparkling start precedes surreal finish

By now, we presume you've had a few hours to digest the Rays' improbable 10-inning triumph Friday night.So instead of rehashing the whole bizarre body of work, how 'bout a closer look at the workmanship. Specifically, Chris Archer's.Partially lost in...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

HARTFORD, Conn. — Craig Breslow is 37 years old, with a dozen years of experience as a left-handed reliever in the major leagues. He is pitching now for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, just getting to know his teammates. In their openin...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

TAMPA — Shaquem Griffin wakes up knowing each day will be better than the last and barely unable to wait until tomorrow."It's just a whirlwind,'' Griffin said.On Thursday, he will walk the red carpet with his family, including his twin brother,...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Live blog: Lightning aims to eliminate Devils in Game 5

Live blog: Lightning aims to eliminate Devils in Game 5

Follow our live coverage of the opening-round NHL playoff series between the Lightning and New Jersey Devils. Times reporters, editors, sports columnists and photo journalists will chronicle the action on and off the ice through updates, analysis, ph...
Published: 04/21/18