Spring football capsule: Gaither

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

Gaither

Coach: Mark Kantor (eighth season, 38-38)

Last season: 4-7 (region quarterfinal, lost 54-6 to Chamberlain)

District: Class 5A-5 (Alonso, Chamberlain, Plant)

Key losses: OL Matt Childs, LB George Daines, RB Jarvis Giles, QB Kamren Hawkins, TE/LB Justin Lattimore, WR/DB Ronnie Mills, OL John Nenos, WR/LB Yemi Oyegunle, WR/DB Blake Smith

Who's back: DB Jamal Allen, DL Angel Alvarez, DL Derek Bavol, OL/DL Demetrius Best, DB Nate Ellis-Williams, QB Dylan Fisher, OL Trey Gonzalez, LB Josh Scarberry

What's new: Kantor's task this spring is helping a youthful roster gain valuable repetitions while learning to jell with the experienced players. Gaither lost 13 starters from last year, including Tennessee signee Giles. His departure could signify a shift in offensive philosophy, primarily from a run-based offense to a more balanced scheme. Kantor has moved Fisher from receiver to quarterback to replace Hawkins. Fisher played some quarterback last season, and Kantor said he is receptive to his new role. In the backfield, Chadd Pierson and Chris Joseph are vying to fill the void left by Giles. Defensively, the Cowboys were young last year under former player Brian DelValle. Now in his second season, DelValle has an experienced group and suddenly defense will be key to earning wins. Kantor said he expects big things from players such as Scarberry, Ellis-Williams, Alvarez and Allen.

Audible: "Because of our youth we're trying to get into a rhythm of playing at a high level of intensity. We're young and we're trying to get young guys to jell. We just want them to focus on the job at hand and to get them playing at a high rate." — Kantor

Did you know? Kantor has welcomed eight Cowboys back to serve as assistants including DelValle, Gene Clemons, Jose Jordan, Norberto Davila, Wes Booth, Tyrone Thomas, Pedro Ortiz and Quintyn Eldridge. And these are guys with significant roles such as defensive coordinator (DelValle), quarterbacks coach (Clemons), running backs coach (Thomas) and linebackers (Booth). Why did they come back? "I think they just want to give back to the school that gave them an opportunity to have an education and play football," Kantor said.

Spring game: At Gaither, with Chamberlain, Hillsborough and Middleton, 6:30 p.m. today

2009 schedule

Aug. 28 at Durant (classic)

Sept. 4 vs. Sickles

Sept. 17 at Wharton

Sept. 25 at Freedom

Oct. 2 vs. Hillsborough

Oct. 9 at Plant

Oct. 16 at Plant City

Oct. 22 vs. Chamberlain

Oct. 30 vs. Armwood

Nov. 6 at Alonso

Nov. 13 vs. Newsome

Izzy Gould, Times staff writer

Spring football capsule: Gaither 05/21/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 21, 2009 9:39pm]

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