Around the county in 30 days
A daily spring preview of every football program in the county.
Coach: David Mitchell (fourth season, 23-10)
Last season: 5-6
District: 5A-5 (Gaither, Mitchell, Wesley Chapel)
Key losses: LB Xavier Fareed, OL Alonso Jones, LB Joshua Powell, TE Andreas Shields, WR/DB Dominique White
Who's back: OL Chase Boswell, QB Andrew Clifford, WR Brent Holloway, DB Jairus Jones, DL Ricky Noel, DL Blake Nold, LB Chris Oliver, OL Hunter Stout, WR Khiry White
What's new: The offense. An I-formation team in recent seasons, Wharton will use various sets this fall in an effort to become a more balanced squad. Clifford has a lot to do with this switch. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound signal caller, a likely Division I-A prospect, has a strong, accurate arm, not to mention a considerable amount of poise. It helps that he will work with a solid group of receivers and will operate behind a veteran line that includes Stout, another probable I-A player. If all goes as planned, Clifford should easily surpass his 2007 numbers (about 1,500 passing yards). Defensively, the Wildcats will be young but not without talent. Jones, who counts LSU among his various scholarship offers, leads the way.
Audible: "We're so young. We're trying to find our groove, really. We've got to get used to playing with each other. We have to grow together as the season goes on." — Mitchell
Did you know? Mitchell played at Yankton College (S.D.), the same school NFL legend Lyle Alzado attended. The college closed in the mid-1980s.
Spring result Lost 14-13 to Tampa Bay Tech
Aug. 29 at Plant (classic)
Sept. 5 vs. Freedom
Sept. 12 at Armwood
Sept. 19 vs. East Bay
Sept. 26 vs. Sickles
Oct. 3 at Plant City
Oct. 10 vs. Wesley Chapel
Oct. 16 at Middleton
Oct. 24 at Mitchell
Oct. 31 at Riverview
Nov. 7 vs. Gaither
Keith Niebuhr, Times staff writer