NEW PORT RICHEY — James Tringali felt a little unsettled about his first Friday night as the starting quarterback for Wiregrass Ranch.
But he knew this was his shot to prove he could compete for the job in 2008. He took those first steps against mighty Pasco last fall and, as it turned out, the job became his permanently.
The Bulls, one of the county's newest programs guided by former Pasco star/coach Ricky Thomas, played last season without a senior class. And a freshman drove the offense.
"I went out for the first play and looked over most of the dudes," Tringali said. "They were real big."
Tringali didn't light it up that night.
The Pirates rolled 33-0, but Tringali had some good moments and learned one of many lessons when he threw an interception that was returned 63 yards for a touchdown. Tringali came back the next week and led the Bulls to their only win, a 40-20 victory over Sunlake.
"He brings a lot to the team," Bulls receiver Travis Duffey said. "We lost (former quarterback Angel Rodriguez). But when we turn around and (Tringali) has a cannon, it definitely helped."
Rodriguez transferred to Tampa Bay Tech in the offseason, making way for Tringali to be the No. 1 starter. He approached the job as if he owned it, becoming more vocal in huddles and in the locker room.
Last fall, he admittedly was hesitant when he should have been a spark plug.
"The guys are more supportive," Tringali said. "The guys last year didn't like the fact I was playing (varsity). Most of the guys like it now."
Watch a couple of his drives during the North Suncoast seven-on-seven league and it's easy to see why. Tringali can rip passes into tight spots with accuracy. And at 6-4, 170 pounds, he has the size to play the position.
"He is the future of our football team," Thomas said in May. "He throws well and moves a lot better than he did last year. He had a great spring and we're real excited about having him."
Sunlake gets former Chamberlain coach
Dick Rohrberg, Chamberlain baseball coach the past 12 seasons, will become Sunlake's baseball coach Monday. Rohrberg compiled a 162-138 record at Chamberlain, leading the Chiefs to the region playoffs five times, including a trip to the region quarterfinals last season.
Sunlake went 9-16 in its first year of existence under Billy Garcia, who resigned after the season.
Times staff writer Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this report.