Saturday, September 22, 2018

HomeTeam 100: Players 71-80

Our sixth annual countdown of the top 100 football players in Tampa Bay — consisting of athletes who attend a public or private school in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco or Hernando counties. Past performances — spanning the fall, spring and summer — and promise of big things to come are all taken into consideration. Today: players 71-80.

71. Marterrence Holloway, Hillsborough

Position: Defensive back

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 5-9, 150

What's your favorite part about attending Hillsborough?

"First, I like the school and the people, my friends. It's fun. The football, that's more fun, just getting together and playing. (Coach Earl Garcia), he has a good side to him, he can be funny, but he can also be serious, too. He's a good coach."

Have you always played on defense?

"No, when I first came on varsity, I was planning on playing receiver, because I played receiver both years on JV. Then I wasn't getting reps at receiver, so I started DB on varsity, and then it went from there. I was good at it. I like it better now."

Which parts of your game have you been focusing on this offseason?

"I've been working on my man-to-man techniques, my footwork. Trying to get better at that, and keeping my eyes off the quarterback sometimes, because they mess me up."

HIGHLIGHTS: Marterrence Holloway.

Octavio Jones | Times

DB Marterrence Holloway

72. Dorien Gooch, Tampa Catholic

Position: Linebacker

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-1, 210

Three things to know about Gooch:

1. Dorien's father, Jeff Gooch, is a former NFL linebacker who spent 10 years in the league, eight with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Gooch said he's learned a lot from his father's football career, but having a football lineage can have its downside. "As a kid who has an NFL player as a dad, everybody has higher expectations," he said. "It gets a little frustrating at times, but other than that I just have to use it to my advantage."

2. Dorien was the Crusaders' second-leading tackler last season, and he'll join Raymond Benefield as one of two returning starters to Tampa Catholic's linebacking corps. With new faces, Gooch said, he's taken on a leadership role to help the new defenders adjust.

3. Besides his dad, Dorien looks up to other linebackers, too, especially former Alabama player Reuben Foster, who was recently drafted in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers.

HIGHLIGHTS: Dorien Gooch.

Scott Purks | Special to the Times

LB Dorien Gooch

73. Jaquan Hiers, Largo

Position: Running back/linebacker

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 5-10, 184

Hiers grew up around Largo legends. His cousin is Brynn Harvey, who set the Pinellas County record for rushing yards in a single season with 2,567 yards in 2007.

One of Hiers' childhood friends was Dexter McCluster, who became the first running back from Pinellas to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season in 2005.

For as long as Hiers can remember, he has been attending Packers game to watch others.

Now, he is playing on that same field.

The wins have not come as frequently.

Last season, Largo went 3-6, its first losing season since 1999.

"That was embarrassing," Hiers said. "That is not what Largo football is used to."

Hiers did his part to keep the Packers competitive, leading the team in rushing yards with 485 and finishing fourth in tackles with 56.

He is intent on breaking school records this season.

"I don't care which record I just want to break some," Hiers said. "I keep looking at the board and wanting to put my name up there."

The team goal is easy.

"We just want to win," he said.

HIGHLIGHTS: Jaquan Hiers.

Douglas R. Clifford | Times

RB/LB Jaquan Hiers

74. Mikey Roussos, River Ridge

Position: Wide receiver/defensive back

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 6-1, 180

Last year, Roussos was perhaps the Royal Knights' best skill player on both sides of the ball. On offense, he led the team in receptions (51) and yards (627), and also tied for the team lead in touchdown catches (six). Those numbers should only increase considering River Ridge graduated its other two leading receivers. Roussos' sure hands allowed him to make plays on defense, too. He had a team-leading four interceptions to go along with 36 tackles.

HIGHLIGHTS: Mikey Roussos.

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Charlie Kaijo | Times

WR/DB Mikey Roussos

75. Josh Bowers, East Lake

Position: Wide receiver/defensive back

Year: Senior

Height/weight: 5-9, 170

Douglas R. Clifford | Times

WR/DB Josh Bowers

Whenever Josh Bowers spots someone wearing a knee brace, he strikes up a conversation.

"I can relate to them," he said.

Last summer, Bowers tore his ACL. He missed all of his junior season.

That was not the worse part. Bowers had an offer from Florida Atlantic but has not heard from the school after the Owls went through a coaching change in the offseason.

"It's hard when you have something you love so much taken away, even if it was temporary," Bowers said.

He went through the grueling stages of rehabilitation. This spring, he resumed running track and was the Pinellas County Athletic Conference champion in the 100 and 200 meters. Bowers also was back on the football field.

He is expected to have an immediate impact on both sides of the ball. On offense, he can play just about any skill position, including quarterback in some Wildcat formations. His primary position in college will be as a defensive back.

"I just have to keep working," Bowers said. "I tell people wearing braces that what matters most is how you rebound."

HIGHLIGHTS: Josh Bowers.

76. Johnnie Brown, Middleton

Position: Linebacker/running back

Year: Sophomore

Height/weight: 6-1, 245

Brown has done more pushups the past few years than most people do in a lifetime.

He starts with 100 as soon as he rolls out of bed.

He adds more in during his daily weightlifting workout.

Then, during commercials while watching a game with his father, he will dip his hand into a jar filled with slips of paper with numbers written on them — 10, 15, 20 and 25. He will then do the number of pushups on his piece of paper. He does this during every commercial break.

Sometimes, at any random moment of the day, his father, also named Johnnie, will pull out a deck of playing cards and Brown will pick out a card. Whatever number is on the card (face cards are rated 20 and aces are 25) is the number of pushups Brown will do at that moment.

Every night before he goes to sleep he does 100 more.

Add it up and there have been days that Brown has done 500 in a day.

Guess what?

Brown has grown strong.

The first time he ever lifted a weight was last year as a freshman, because his father didn't want his son starting too young with weight training. Brown promptly pressed up 225 pounds 10 times.

His current bench press max is 325.

"But I'm pretty sure that's going to go way up," Brown said. "I just keep getting stronger and stronger."

By the way, when Brown isn't doing pushups, he's running or lifting weights or doing calisthenics.

A few months ago he was timed with a 4.7-second 40-yard dash.

Already, three major universities — Georgia, USF and Mississippi State — have taken serious notice and offered Brown a football scholarship.

HIGHLIGHTS: Johnnie Brown.

Scott Purks | Special to the TImes

LB/RB Johnnie Brown

77. Larry Hodges, Jesuit

Position: Tight end

Year: Junior

Height/weight: 6-2, 198

Three things to know about Hodges:

1. Hodges didn't originally love the idea of attending Jesuit because it's an all-boys school, but once he toured the campus, he said he fell in love with the environment and the football program. "The alumni come back. It's like a brotherhood here. It's a family."

2. Hodges started playing football at 4 years old for the East Tampa Bay Bandits, and although it was flag, he didn't let that stop him from showing off. "I played quarterback, and all I did was get the ball every play and just run."

3. When he's not playing football, Hodges said he enjoys helping people. He often volunteers at Metropolitan Ministries, and he enjoys helping out at youth football camps when he gets the opportunity. When he graduates from college, he's interested in a profession like sports medicine or physical therapy.

HIGHLIGHTS: Larry Hodges.

Scott Purks | Special to the TImes

TE Larry Hodges

78. Terence Doston, Hillsborough

Position: Athlete

Year: Junior

Height/weight: 5-10, 200

Special to the Times

ATH Terence Doston

Being a two-sport athlete and straight-A student, Doston already had a lot on his plate — then he added an entirely new environment to the mix.

In January, Doston transferred from Armwood to Hillsborough, a move he made, he said, because his mother felt it would be a better fit. And it didn't take long for Doston to feel right at home.

During the spring, Doston was an outfielder on the baseball team, hitting .371 with 19 RBIs as Hillsborough took home a district title before falling in the region semifinals.

"It's a cool environment," Doston said about his new home. "(It wasn't hard) because I can fit in anywhere. When I got there, I built relationships with the whole baseball team and the football team."

And in the classroom, Doston is excelling, too.

Doston has a 3.9 weighted grade-point average, and he loves science. He dreams of earning a business degree and becoming an entrepreneur. But first, he's excited about continuing to play baseball and football — the sports he loves equally.

"I just like helping my team out in some type of way. Whether it's football or baseball, I just want to contribute to the whole team and not just worry about myself."

HIGHLIGHTS: Terence Doston.

79. Keyvone Lee, Superior Collegiate

Position: Running back/defensive back

Year: Sophomore

Height/weight: 6-0, 185

2 High schools Lee has attended. He played at Clearwater Academy as a freshman

3 Positions Lee will play this season: running back, defensive line and outside linebacker

4 Times Lee rushed for more 100 yards in a game last season

4 Sacks Lee recorded in a game against Duval Charter last year

11 Offers from colleges, including Florida, Louisville, Mississippi State and North Carolina

57 Yards Lee gained on his first high school carry, which went for a touchdown

805 Yards rushing last season, despite missing two games and only getting 54 carries all year

HIGHLIGHTS: Keyvone Lee.

Andres Leiva | Times

RB/DB Keyvone Lee

80. James Gordon, Plant City

Position: Linebacker

Year: Junior

Height/weight: 6-1, 220

With a solid showing in his upcoming junior year, Gordon has the potential to become one of the most attractive linebackers in the country before his senior year. At 6-1, 220 pounds, Gordon runs a legitimate 4.5-second 40-yard dash and hits like a hammer, according to Plant City coach James Booth. "He's very aggressive but he also has great play recognition," Booth said. "He is most definitely the complete package." USF and East Carolina have shown strong interest but Booth expects the list of interested colleges to grow tremendously after the 2017 season.

HIGHLIGHTS: James Gordon.

Scott Purks | Special to the Times

LB James Gordon

Compiled by staff writers Rodney Page and Bob Putnam, and correspondents Kelly Parsons and Scott Purks.


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