Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Palm Harbor U.: Season preview

Two strengths

1. Quarterback. The position is in the capable hands of Shelton, a three-year starter. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is an athletic runner with a strong arm. "I think he'll be one of the top quarterbacks in the county," Just said. "He provides great leadership. He's a captain for us. He's very bright football-wise."

2. Offensive line. With three returning starters — Mark Hansson, Julian Matusewicz and Mitch Purse —the offensive line, once an area of concern, has become a strength. Hansson and Matusewicz also anchor an aggressive defensive line that causes confusion with its stunts and overall quickness.

Coach: Pete Just (third season, 7-13) | Last season: 4-6 | Class: 5A, District 9 | Colors: Burgundy, navy and white

With a number of underclassmen playing significant minutes in 2007, third-year coach Pete Just thinks this team is the most experienced he has fielded. According to Just, the Hurricanes are "mentally tough" with a "great attitude." Will those positives translate into the first winning season? Starting quarterback Sean Shelton thinks so. "Since I've played here, we didn't have a swagger," he said. "We're just starting to show it now. This year should be the best Palm Harbor team we've had."

Two questions

1. Will the defense improve after surrendering nearly 30 points a game last season?

It better, if the Hurricanes have playoff aspirations. Linebackers struggled last year reading plays. First-year defensive coordinator Mark Haye has turned up the intensity at practices.

2. Who will replace 1,000-yard rusher Dajuan Bush as the primary ballcarrier?

No back has separated himself from the pack. Senior Phillip Gandolfo as well as juniors J.J. Rivera and JaTyuan Landing will see most of the carries. Fullbacks Matt (Spike) McGinty and Ryan Hoyt will also be counted on.

Bryan Burns, Times staff writer

Palm Harbor U.: Season preview 09/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008 3:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.