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Spring football capsule: Freedom

Around the county in 30 days A daily spring preview of every football program in the county


Coach: James Harrell (first season)

Last season: 4-6

District: Class 5A-7 (Brandon, Tampa Bay Tech, Wharton)

Key losses: QB Josh Grady (transfer to Armwood), DL Coril Joseph, OL/DL Carl Saunders, LB/RB Sherrod Cunningham, WR Rodney Lyons

Who's back: LB Keith Lewis, DL Josh Tanner, WR/DB T.J. Mutcherson, WR Jacari Campbell, RB Amonty Dilisea, OL Jimmy Dunphy, WR/DB Robert Lohnes, K Alex Landeta

What's new: Plenty of changes, including first-year coach Harrell arriving from Plant to replace Marquel Blackwell, who resigned after a misdemeanor DUI arrest in January (which has yet to be resolved, according to court records). Harrell was the defensive coordinator for the Panthers for three seasons. He believes defense will be the cornerstone of this year's team. Harrell also promises lots of passing, though that took a hit with the transfer of Grady to Armwood. That leaves quarterback duties to Dustin Rauh, who moves into the position after playing tight end and some defensive line. … Getting work done has been tough with recent rain forcing at least one practice indoors, and a swine flu scare closing school and practice for one week.

Audible: "Practice has been going pretty good. Those days set us back some, but I think we've made up that ground. All you want to get is quality reps, if you're getting that. What we're doing is pretty simple. We'll add more and more pieces to the puzzle as the year goes on. It's new learning for the kids." — Harrell

Did you know? Harrell's coaching staff boasts 37 seasons of NFL playing experience. James Jones played 12 years (Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks), Tony Mayberry 10 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Donnie Elder seven (primarily with the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay), and Harrell eight (Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit). "It's intriguing," Harrell said. "The key is everyone is into teaching and doing what the kids can do. We're not trying to implement pro stuff, just trying to maximize the kids' potential."

Spring game: At Freedom, with Wharton, King and Tampa Bay Tech, 6:30 p.m. Friday

2009 schedule

Aug. 28 vs. Alonso (classic)

Sept. 4 at Riverview

Sept. 11 at King

Sept. 17 vs. Sickles

Sept. 25 vs. Gaither

Oct. 9 at Tampa Bay Tech

Oct. 16 vs. Bloomingdale

Oct. 22 at Wharton

Oct. 30 vs. Leto

Nov. 6 vs. Brandon

Nov. 13 at Lennard

Izzy Gould, Times staff writer

Spring football capsule: Freedom 05/20/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 9:11pm]
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