Around the North Suncoast in 30 days A daily spring preview of every football program on the North Suncoast
Coach: John Castelamare (11th season, 60-44; 23rd season overall, 100-124)
District: 3A-7 (Anclote, Gulf, Land O'Lakes, Mitchell, Pasco, Sunlake, Zephyrhills)
Last season: 4-6
Key losses: FB/S Arron Duncan, OG/DT Kamran Joyer, OT/DT Patrick Pate, RB Keenan Reynolds, LB/TE Sean White, WR/S Mitch Wozniak
Who's back: TE John Ayers, OG Jacob Battin, QB/WR Geoff Degroot, OG Jacob Fisher, FB/LB Hunter Joyer, WR/DB Jon Mahan, C/DL Raymond Nixon, TE/DE Chris Pierre Charles, WR/DE Sebastian Pinkney, QB C.J. West
What's new: The district. After spending recent years at the 5A level, where it was one of the smallest schools in the classification, Wesley Chapel is back to 3A. "But when you have eight teams in your district, you can't lose," Castelamare said. "You've got to stay healthy every doggone game." … Physically, this is one of the most impressive teams we've seen this spring. Joyer, who could line up for some Division I teams right now, is coming off a 1,000-yard rushing season. Pierre Charles (6-foot-2, 230 pounds), who appears destined for a breakthrough year, returns to an imposing offensive line that lost only two starters. Castelamare is concerned about the tackle position, has some holes to fill defensively and lost Wozniak — last year's top receiver — to Pasco, but the athletes appear in place to fill those needs. Three of Wesley Chapel's losses last season were by a combined 11 points.
Audibles: "We've had in the past steaks (for the winners) and Beanie Weenies (for the losers). We've had chicken and carrots. I've got a good one for this game. Nobody knows." — Castelamare on tonight's intrasquad game, where the members of the winning team earn a sumptuous meal. The losers aren't so fortunate.
Did you know: In addition to the traditional wing-T offense Castelamare has long employed, look for the Wildcats to again use the "spread" wing-T in certain situations. … Joyer won the Wildcats' recent Ironman competition, where participants get points based on their effort in a series of strength, speed and agility drills. His 835-pound leg press broke older sibling Kamran's school record. … Castelamare is entering the final year of the state's Deferred Retirement Option Program and, like Land O'Lakes' John Benedetto, may not have his teaching contract extended after the 2009-10 school year. Would he still coach if he couldn't be on campus during the day? "That's not a good thing," he said. "It's not a good thing when you're not here with the kids all day."
Spring game: 7 tonight, (intrasquad)
Sept. 4 at Clearwater Central Catholic
Sept. 11 Hudson
Sept. 18 at Wiregrass Ranch
Sept. 25 Pasco
Oct. 2 at Mitchell
Oct. 9 at Sunlake
Oct. 15 Land O'Lakes
Oct. 23 Zephyrhills
Nov. 6 Gulf
Joey Knight, Times staff writer