Monday, February 19, 2018
Sports

HomeTeam Huddle: Heavy graduation losses leave Anclote a bit green

HOLIDAY

The top two rushers are gone. So, too, are three of the five starting offensive linemen and all 11 starters on defense.

With Anclote's roster depleted (22 players are graduating), the biggest goal the program has this spring is finding reinforcements to contend for a third straight postseason appearance.

"We're going to have some growing pains," coach Matt Wicks said.

What Anclote does have is a pair of experienced, undersized guards who are the cornerstone for Wicks' plan to run the wing-T.

Denver Eldredge and Dakota Kerns weigh about 195 pounds. But they are extremely mobile. That allows them to pull and block effectively, skills particularly important in an offense that relies on traps and sweeps.

Jonte Scott, the top returning rusher with 195 yards last season, should get most of the carries.

"I like to cater to the strengths that we have," Wicks said. "Our two guards are our top returning linemen, but they can move well.

"The wing-T just seemed like the perfect fit."

Wicks is familiar with the formation. He used it when he first came to Anclote five years ago, and now the Sharks are the only team in Pasco County that will run it.

"The offense is difficult to prepare for if you don't see it on a weekly basis," Wicks said.

The confusing and consistently effective offense usually begins with running backs plowing through holes on traps, misdirections and sweeps. The ground game attacks the offense on all perimeters and sets up the play-action pass. The Sharks should be well-equipped in the passing game with the return of quarterback Brandon Vinkler.

By using ball control, Anclote's offense hopes to stay on the field long enough to help a defense that will be green to start the fall.

"We have some work to do," Wicks said. "But we think we can still compete within the district."

Bucs have a quarterback quandary

NEW PORT RICHEY — Gulf went through its final workout Wednesday in preparation for tonight's spring game against Weeki Wachee.

Expect Gulf to run its regular offense or the wildcat. That's because two quarterbacks, Avery Welch and KeShaun Peters, are academically ineligible to play. That leaves Morgan Smith as the only available quarterback.

"If something happens to him, then we'll play in the Wildcat set," coach Jason Messamore said. "I expect Morgan to get 100 percent of the reps."

Messamore said Welch and Peters will take classes over the summer in hopes of becoming eligible.

Another point of emphasis for tonight is the offensive and defensive lines. The Buccaneers were pushed around during last year's 1-9 season. While all of the starters return, Messamore, who coaches the linemen, said he would like to see a different attitude.

"I'd like to see them be more aggressive," he said. "We have good-sized kids, but they have to control the line a little better in order to give our skill guys room to operate."

Messamore said he should have about 27 players available tonight and expects to have about 30 in the fall.

Bulldogs get game

Zephyrhills will play a spring game after all. The Bulldogs head to Orlando Oak Ridge on May 29 for a 7 p.m. contest, coach Reggie Roberts said. Zephyrhills had to scramble for an opponent after Ridgewood withdrew earlier this month due to roster numbers.

Tonight's matchups

• Mitchell at Hudson, 7

• Springstead at Anclote, 7

• Weeki Wachee at Gulf, 7

Times staff writers Matt Baker and Rodney Page contributed to this report.

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