Around the county in 30 days A daily spring preview of every football program in the county
Coach: Harry Hubbard (first year; 35-33 in seven years at Middleton)
Last season: 1-9
District: Class 3A-8 (Dixie Hollins, Jefferson, Lakewood, Osceola, Spoto)
Key losses: DE/P Montrey Pride, LB Demetrius Delvin, WR/DB Jermaine Chin, OL/DL Jeremy Green
Who's back: WR Michael McFarland, QB Eugene Davenport, WR/S Phillip Davis
What's new: After building the Middleton program from the ground up, Hubbard joins its rival school to take on another rebuilding project. He brings with him all but three of his assistants from Middleton. His biggest battle will be numbers. He had 20 kids show up the first day of spring practice, so most players will have to play on both sides of the ball and his linemen are small even by Class 3A standards. Hubbard, who always had the support of his players at Middleton, plans to scour the hallways for players. Blake already has its share of raw athleticism, including the 6-foot-5, 230-pound McFarland, a UF recruit, as well as Davenport and Davis. So this year's focus will be on fundamentals and getting the Yellow Jackets out of the losing mentality that has plagued the program for years.
Audible: "I'm not looking for the walls to shake and stuff, but I'm looking for them to play. If they play and give it their all, that's all that I'm asking for. They've worked hard in the offseason and I'm pleased with that. We'll go from there. We do have talent. It's a little raw, but we do have talent. … The good thing about the spring is that it's not your season, so you go into it with a different viewpoint instead. You can't change up on kids too much."
Did you know? When he was an assistant at Jefferson, Hubbard applied for the Blake head coaching job when the school reopened in 1997. "I thought I was ready to be a head coach then, but God guided me in a different direction," Hubbard said. … As Middleton's coach, Hubbard was 5-1 against Blake in the teams' annual rivalry game.
Spring game: at Plant, 6:30 p.m. on May 22
Sept. 4 vs. King
Sept. 11 at Sickles
Sept. 17 at Middleton
Sept. 25 vs. Spoto
Oct. 9 at Osceola
Oct. 16 vs. Hillsborough
Oct. 23 at Dixie Hollins
Oct. 30 vs. Lakewood
Nov. 6 vs. Jefferson
Nov. 13 at Plant City
Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer