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Riverview: Season preview

Coach: Bruce Gifford (first season) | Last season: 5-5 | Class: 6A, District 6 | Colors: Royal blue, black and silver

A-listers Devin Ray

Ray, a three-year starter at linebacker, is fully qualified and has drawn interest from several Ivy League schools as well as service academies. "In terms of our defense," coach Bruce Gifford said. "He's the guy."

Eric Lampe

The senior tailback waited in line behind Jahleel Addae and is poised to make a name for himself in Riverview's run-heavy offense. Though the Double Wing-T is gone, Gifford's I-form attack should get the downhill-running Lampe plenty of touches.

Ryan Gascon

The senior offensive tackle's strength is …well, his strength. One of the strongest players on the team — Gascon benches 375 pounds and squats 575 — he spent this summer honing his pass-blocking skills at various offensive line camps.

Rising star Shannon Burch

A torn ACL wiped out his junior season when he was injured midway through the year against Hillsborough. But Gifford said the 6-foot-2 Burch "looks great (in the preseason) and just as good as before he got hurt."

Stunt man Willie Timmons

Guy who does the dirty work

Like Lampe, Timmons had to wait his turn but the senior safety is now a fixture in the defensive backfield and plays on all the special teams.

Cutting-room floor

Three things the Sharks need to avoid

Mistakes. Though the Sharks are moving away from the Double Wing-T, their conservative offensive approach makes turnovers more costly.

Poor chemistry. Gifford said around 70 players came out every day for offseason conditioning. He hopes the camaraderie will translate throughout the season.

Injuries. Sharks are young and not exceptionally deep. Staying healthy is a priority.

Review

"Because Riverview is close by and they're always blessed with talent, our game with them is always something special. It's always a battle." — Durant coach Mike Gottman

Final cut

The Sharks missed the postseason last year and return just seven starters, so there might be some early growing pains. But Gifford, who installed an I-form offense this year, likes Lampe and the look of the new scheme. "With such a young team, the kids coming in knew they had some big shoes to fill," Gifford said. "And I think they're ready."

Brandon Wright, Times correspondent

Riverview: Season preview 09/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 3:48pm]
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