Around the North Suncoast in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in the North Suncoast
Coach: Bill Vonada (12th season, 55-56)
District: 4A-5 (Central, Gainesville, Ocala Lake Weir, Lecanto, Ocala West Port)
Last season: 7-3
Key losses: RB Mike Greco, RB/DB Bryce Hollingshead, QB James Mahla, OL/DL Stanley Miele, DB/FL/RB Ben Noury, SE/OLB Domnique Roberson, LB Nate Schafer, OG Dan Wilson, RB/LB James Wozniak
Who's back: OL Mitch Fischbach, RB/DB Devean Huff, OL Phil Lakin, OL/DL Jonathan McCloskey, OL/DL Christian Quinones, DE Lou Wendelstedt
What's new: Most of the skill guys. Vonada feels good about the experience along his offensive and defensive fronts, but has to replace a bunch of people behind them. As a result, he's not saying what his offense will look like. "We're still kind of evaluating," said Vonada, who graduated 14 starters. "And we will be evaluating up until after the first game if anybody wants to scout us." …Senior Chris Kelley and sophomore Brian Beeker are vying to replace Mahla, who totaled 1,948 yards last fall. Both are familiar with the Eagles' system, but neither has Mahla's 200-pound frame. …A committee of backs could get carries including Huff (60 carries, 322 yards in '08) and Thomas Watson, a diminutive sophomore whom Vonada says could be one of the fastest players he has had. …Defensively, Springstead must replace four out of five linebackers.
Audibles: "The reality is, you can sit and complain about it or you can look for the positive side of it. We choose to look at the positive side of it. We're going to get out of the area, we're going to see some different teams, our kids will get to play in some different atmospheres." — Vonada on his new district, which features six teams spread over four counties. The Eagles will travel a round-trip total of 482 miles for road games this season.
Did you know? Vonada said he has a contingency plan in place if defensive coordinator Mike Garofano or fellow Eagles assistant Mark Lee gets hired as Nature Coast coach. The Sharks are expected to name a replacement for Jamie Joyner at any time. …Springstead's longest road trip will be an Oct. 30 visit to Gainesville High, slightly more than 110 miles one way. …Vonada is the dean of North Suncoast football coaches, having been at his current school longer than any other Pasco-Hernando coach.
Spring game: Springstead hosts a three-quarter jamboree, including Hernando and Central, at 6 p.m. May 29.
Sept. 4 Hernando
Sept. 11 Nature Coast
Sept. 18 at Land O'Lakes
Sept. 25 at Lecanto
Oct. 2 Ridgewood
Oct. 9 Lake Weir
Oct. 16 at River Ridge
Oct. 23 at Ocala West Port
Oct. 30 at Gainesville
Nov. 7 Central
Joey Knight, Times staff writer