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Spring football capsule: Central

Around the North Suncoast in 30 days

A daily spring preview of football programs on the North Suncoast


Coach: Cliff Lohrey (fourth season, 18-12)

District: 4A-5 (Gainesville, Ocala Lake Weir, Lecanto, Springstead, Ocala West Port)

Last season: 4-6

Key losses: OL Kevin Grier, RB Austin Forte, QB Dallas Waugh

Who's back: WR/DB Steven Read, WR Artie Gartner, FB/LB Zach Rice, K/LB Nick Rosario, LB Brody Judd

What's new: The district. Thanks to the Florida High School Athletic Association's new state series assignments, the Bears no longer are in the race with many of their former North Suncoast rivals for a state playoff berth. Gone are Tarpon Springs, River Ridge, Land O'Lakes and Ridgewood.

Audible: "I think our program is at a point where we felt embarrassed last year. Our team is ready, not only individually but collectively, to put a better product on the field." — Lohrey

Did you know? The benchmarks of Central football, according to Lohrey, are versatility and defense. With the loss of Forte, the program's lone 1,000-yard rusher, and Waugh, there are gaping holes in the Central backfield. Read (tailback) and Gartner (quarterback), star wideouts from last season, look to be the frontrunners to fill those holes. Rice and Judd will be asked to set the tone and get back to the hard-hitting style that has made the Bears defense so strong in the past.

Spring game: May 29, at Springstead, 7 p.m. (Hernando County Jamboree, will play Springstead in first half and Hernando in second)

2009 schedule

Sept. 4 Nature Coast

Sept. 11 at Wesley Chapel

Sept. 25 at Lake Weir

Oct. 2 River Ridge

Oct. 9 West Port

Oct. 16 at Ridgewood

Oct. 23 Gainesville

Oct. 30 at Lecanto

Nov. 7 at Springstead

Nov. 13 Hernando

Derek LaRiviere, Times correspondent

Spring football capsule: Central 05/05/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 3:51pm]
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