Coach: Atif Austin (first season)
Last season: 10-3 (lost 41-20 to Orlando Edgewater in Class 4A region final).
District: Class 4A-6
Key losses: WR Savvas Damalos, CB/RB Josiah Fisk, RB Adrian Golden, DT Broderick Lee, OT/DT Clay Paino, LB Kosta Vavlas, CB Darrien Wood
Who's back: RB/CB Darius Daniels, OL/DL Zach DeBell, WR Joel Hardy, K Michael Hill, DT Broderick Lee, QB Louis Pappas, QB Wyatt Wikle, WR Runaldo Wright.
What's new: Austin, a former standout at the school, returns after spending the past five seasons as running backs coach at Northern Iowa, a Division I-AA school. He replaces George Kotis, who resigned in February to spend more time with his family. The Spongers lose a solid core of seniors from last year's team, which was one of the school's most successful in the past two decades. The depth along the offensive line and at the skill positions was thinned. But Tarpon Springs still has a solid nucleus of returners. Pappas and Wikle are still battling to be the starting quarterback. Daniels should be the main ballcarrier with the departure of Golden. DeBell, one of the most recruited players in the county, will be the anchor of the offensive line. On defense, the line should be a force with DeBell and Michael Kontodiakos. The linebackers and secondary will have plenty of new faces after losing nearly every starter to graduation. Hill is one of the most accurate kickers in the county.
Audible: "The biggest change is tempo. We're trying to get a lot done in a short amount of time." — Austin
Did you know? Austin was the county player of the year in 1997 after rushing for 1,995 yards, including 368 in one game.
Spring game: vs. Lakeland, 7:30 Friday
Sept. 4 vs. Palm Harbor University
Sept. 11 at Dunedin
Sept. 17 vs. East Lake
Sept. 25 vs. River Ridge
Oct. 2 vs. Largo
Oct. 9 at Ridgewood
Oct. 15 at Countryside
Oct. 23 at Wiregrass Ranch
Oct. 30 vs. Hudson
Nov. 13 at Clearwater
Bob Putnam, Times Staff Writer