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Springstead: Spring football capsule

James Mahla

James Mahla

Around the North Suncoast in 30 days

A daily spring preview of every football program on the North Suncoast.


Coach: Bill Vonada (11th season, 48-53)

Last season: 5-5

District: Class 4A-8 (Central, Land O'Lakes, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Tarpon Springs)

Key losses: OL Luis Delgado, LB Jake Earp, OL Corey Hess, DL Carlos Ramirez

Who's back: TE/DL Zach Bailey, RB Mike Greco, WR Bryce Hollingshead, RB/FB Devean Huff, QB James Mahla, ATH Ben Noury, DL Christian Quinones, MLB Nate Schafer, RB/LB James Wozniak

What's new: Aside from Mahla's beefed-up physique, not much. Which is to say, the Eagles return a ton of people. Mahla, a 6-foot-1 senior who really came on in the second half of last season, put on roughly 15 pounds over the winter and now weighs around 200. "His decision-making has really improved," Vonada said. "He's a tough kid, a little bit larger, and with us running some option that's certainly a big advantage for us." … Mahla is one of at least a dozen key returners for the Eagles, who legitimately should contend for a district title after consecutive 5-5 seasons. Another one that caught our eye at Monday's practice was Schafer (5-11, 210), who was burying people during individual tackling drills. "He's a monster," Mahla said.

Audible: "I just hope that we'll realize the potential that's there and work as hard as we can to achieve it. I think there's some great things that can be achieved, we've just got to get our shoulder to the wheel and get it done." — Vonada

Did you know?: Admission to Friday's intrasquad scrimmage is $3. Vonada said proceeds will benefit the Dawn Center, a local domestic and sexual violence shelter. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

Spring game: at Seminole Osceola, May 30, 7 p.m.

2008 schedule: Sept. 5 vs. Crystal River

Sept. 12 at Nature Coast

Sept. 19 vs. Belleview

Sept. 26 at Land O'Lakes

Oct. 10 vs. Central

Oct. 16 vs. Hernando

Oct. 24 at River Ridge

Oct. 31 vs. Ridgewood

Nov. 7 at Tarpon Springs

Nov. 14 at Lecanto

Springstead: Spring football capsule 05/20/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 23, 2008 2:35pm]
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