Spring football capsule: Plant City

Plant City

Coach: Jason Strunk (second season, 3-7)

Last season: 3-7

District: Class 5A-6 (Bloomingdale, Durant, Newsome, Riverview)

Key losses: RB/DB Duran Lowe, LB Denzel Drone, QB Clint Stearns, C Eddie Rosenbaum, LB Travis Vollick, DB Brian Goodman

Who's back: RB Dasmond Patterson, WR Cortez Hargrett, TE/DL Jordan Prestwood, DL Durrell Lowe, QB Bennie Coney, DB Raheem Billington, WR Michael Harris

What's new: Strunk admits last year was his most difficult season. He got a late start coaching the Raiders (teaching commitments kept him in Pennsylvania), a problem with new turf on the Raiders' field forced them to play their first four home games on the road, and Plant City never seemed to jell regardless. Strunk loses some bona fide playmakers in Lowe, a Wake Forest recruit, and Drone, who signed with Michigan State, but he's excited about the youthful talent he has returning. "About 90 percent of our team is freshmen and sophomores from last year," he said. Since last year, he has set into effect a no jewelry rule — "I haven't had any resistance." Strunk is also excited about Coney, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound rising sophomore who became quarterback at last season's end and Prestwood, a 6-6, 250-pound rising junior who he believes can be a factor in the passing game. Combine them with Patterson, another rising sophomore who showed flashes of promise in the backfield last year, and it has given Strunk confidence to diversify his offensive playbook after last year's vanilla variety.

Audible: "I feel like I've finally settled in. It now finally feels like it's my team now. I think this year we've also developed a lot of team chemistry. Last year we had bad team chemistry. This year we definitely feel more like a family." — Strunk

Did you know? Strunk said 68 kids have been actively participating in workouts since last season ended.

Spring game: Lost 14-7 to Newsome

2009 schedule

Sept. 4 at East Bay

Sept. 11 vs. Middleton

Sept. 17 at Brandon

Sept. 25 vs. Newsome

Oct. 2 at Chamberlain

Oct. 9 at Bloomingdale

Oct. 16 vs. Gaither

Oct. 22 vs. Riverview

Oct. 30 at Durant

Nov. 13 vs. Blake

Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer

Spring football capsule: Plant City 05/29/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 29, 2009 8:34pm]

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