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Spring football capsule: Middleton

Jason Stokes is a first-year coach again this season, taking over for Harry Hubbard at Middleton.

SKIP O\u2019ROURKE | Times (2008)

Jason Stokes is a first-year coach again this season, taking over for Harry Hubbard at Middleton.

Around the county in 30 days

A daily spring preview of every football program in the county

Middleton

Coach: Jason Stokes (first season at Middleton; 6-5 in one season at Bloomingdale)

Last season: 2-8

District: Class 2A-5 (Jesuit, Lennard, Robinson, Steinbrenner, St. Petersburg Catholic, Strawberry Crest)

Key losses: OL/DL Andrerel Coleman, OT/DL Luis Polanco, CB Travis Buie, WR Ricky Mann, LB Greg Hickman (transfer/TBT), RB Rodney Johnson (transfer/Hills­borough), QB Greg Windham (transfer/Chamberlain)

Who's back: QB Willie Clay, OL/DL Andre Gunn, OL/DL Matt Parker, OL Cortez Young, WR/CB Justin Sanders, DB Ernest Mingo

What's new: Pretty much everything is new for the Tigers. Harry Hubbard, the only coach Middleton has know since its reopening in 2002, is out. Stokes, who guided Bloomingdale to its best season then left after just one year, is in. Stokes turned the long-suffering Bulls into winners, but he will have to rebuild at Middleton, especially after the defections of Hickman, Johnson and Windham — three of the Tigers' biggest impact players. Still, Stokes believes he has the talent to succeed now. (The timing is good, with the Tigers dropping from 4A to 2A.) He spent the spring installing a new spread option offense and a 4-4 defense. "The main things we worked on were installing the new schemes and preaching fundamentals," Stokes said. He believes those formations will mesh well with the talent he has, though he lost good in-the-trench players Polanco and Coleman to graduation.

Audible: "I did have to sell these kids when I got here. I told every one of them that if everyone stayed, Middleton could become the face of Tampa. We have so much history and talent here." — Stokes

Did you know? Clay, who came out of practice as the team's No. 1 quarterback, had never played the position. Last season he was playing tight end, but Stokes said the 6-foot-3, 190-pound rising senior proved to be a great leader and a solid quarterback. And he owns a 4.3 weighted GPA to boot.

Spring game: Defeated Gaither 13-3

2009 schedule

Sept. 11 at Plant City

Sept. 17 vs. Blake

Sept. 25 vs. Robinson

Oct. 2 at Lennard

Oct. 9 at Strawberry Crest

Oct. 16 vs. Steinbrenner

Oct. 23 at St. Petersburg Catholic

Oct. 30 vs. Jesuit

Nov. 6 at Leto

Nov. 13 at Jefferson

Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer

Spring football capsule: Middleton 05/28/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 28, 2009 8:25pm]
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