Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in the county.
Coach: Harry Hubbard (seventh season, 33-25)
Last season: 6-4
District: Class 4A-11 (Armwood, Freedom, Hillsborough,
Tampa Bay Tech)
Key losses: QB DeAndre Presley, RB Carlton Jones, WR Jeremy Blount, WR DeNario Johnson, LB ReShaud McFadden
Who's back: OL Luis Polanco, OL Andre Gunn, OL Alex Harris,
OL Andreal Coleman, DL Matt Parker, WR Justin Davis,
WR/QB Justin Sanders, DL Wendell Lewis, DL LaVaughn Ford, DB Philip Jones, DB Travis Buie
What's new: There is rebuilding that must be done in terms of the offensive skill positions. Jones and his 1,228 rushing yards are off to Florida State, and the Tigers lost their starting quarterback and top two receivers. Middleton's strength — and most experience — heading into the preseason will be at offensive line, anchored by the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Polanco, a talented player from the Dominican Republic who could be the program's most highly recruited despite having played just one year. Hubbard hopes running back Rodney Johnson (31 attempts, 329 yards, five touchdowns last season), a Hillsborough transfer and rising junior, can fill Jones' shoes in the backfield. Davis can be an explosive target at wideout. The quarterback position is a question. Sanders showed poise under center in the spring game — that after just two weeks practicing at quarterback — and might be the starter heading into the season while Hubbard grooms a more natural signal-caller.
Audible: "This spring, our main goal was to get some of our newer guys playing with the older guys and see how they came together. We're not trying to tear the wall down, just trying to get everyone on the page. I think we were successful with that."
Did you know?: Former Bucs receiver Reidel Anthony, interested in pursuing a post-playing career in coaching, has joined the Middleton coaching staff as a volunteer assistant and will work with the wide receivers.
Spring game result: Lost to Gaither 13-7
Sept. 5 vs. Brandon
Sept. 12 at Chamberlain
Sept. 19 at Plant
Sept. 26 vs. Hillsborough
Oct. 3 at Blake
Oct. 16 vs. Wharton
Oct. 24 vs. Freedom
Oct. 31 at Tampa Bay Tech
Nov. 7 at Armwood
Nov. 14 vs. Jefferson
Eduardo A. Encina,
Times staff writer