Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in the county
Palm Harbor University
Coach: Mark Haye (first season)
Last season: 7-3
District: Class 5A-8 (Clearwater, Countryside, Dunedin, East Lake)
Key losses: OL/DE Julian Matusewicz, FB/LB Matt McGinty, FB/LB Barry Owens, QB/DB Sean Shelton
Who's back: OL/DL Mark Hansson, QB/RB Ja'Tyuan Landing, RB/WR/S Steven Luke, K/P Patrick McDonald, WR/CB Mike McNeely, RB/WR/LB Scott Santangelo
What's new: Palm Harbor University had its most successful season last year, posting a winning record for the first time and narrowly missing the playoffs after finishing third in a three-team tiebreaker. If the Hurricanes expand on that success, they'll have to do so with a new cast. Haye takes over as coach after running the 'Canes defense last season. Only one assistant from former coach Pete Just's staff was retained. Twenty-seven seniors graduated from last season and just three starters — Landing, McNeely and Santangelo — return. Landing was the Hurricanes' primary ballcarrier last season, but he's getting a look at quarterback, battling rising sophomore Billy Pavlock. Pavlock is PHU's fastest player, but the 'Canes aren't exactly the fleetest of foot. "We've got 16 guys with a 4.4 — that's GPA though, not 40 time," Haye joked. Santangelo, Luke and McNeely are versatile and will see plenty of touches from a variety of positions. Santangelo is also the team's hardest hitter from his linebacker position. Every starter was lost from the offensive and defensive lines, but Haye likes the quickness and athleticism from his young linemen. At 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, Hansson is the 'Canes' top collegiate prospect. He slid under the radar last year because he didn't start, but Haye feels he could be one of the county's best. McDonald has a strong leg and is working to consistently kick the ball into the end zone on kickoffs.
Audible: "We'll be young. We're going to take our lumps, but the kids have been working hard. The seniors that we do have have been working hard, and I'm proud of them. I love the kids here. I've got no complaints. I guess we'll find out Friday night how good we really are." — Haye
Did you know? PHU will operate out of the spread after running a pro-style offense last season.
Spring game: Friday at Pinellas Park, 7 p.m.
Sept. 4vs. Tarpon Springs
Sept. 11vs. Pinellas Park
Sept. 17at Seminole
Sept. 25at Gibbs
Oct. 2vs. St. Petersburg
Oct. 9vs. East Lake
Oct. 23at Countryside
Oct. 30at Dunedin
Nov. 6 vs. Clearwater
Nov. 13at Largo
Bryan Burns, Times staff writer