Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zephyrhills football looking for a fresh start

Chris Reaves says he prefers lining up at receiver, but he will take his share of snaps from under center in the fall.

ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES | Special to the Times

Chris Reaves says he prefers lining up at receiver, but he will take his share of snaps from under center in the fall.

WESLEY CHAPEL — The arms, legs and mouth of Chris Reaves will have a big impact on Zephyrhills' success in the fall.

The starting quarterback was vocal when the school fired coach Jerrell Cogmon last summer in the wake of a recruiting scandal.

And Reaves was barking commands Tuesday, giving high-fives and making key plays at Pasco County's unofficial seven-on-seven league. He was the main guy behind center last season, commandeering an offense that mustered just 74 points during a 2-8 season.

Some should consider giving the Bulldogs a mulligan after Cogmon's very public dismissal two days into preseason conditioning with no Plan B in place.

It's safe to say most teams would have wilted.

Now with Reggie Roberts in place for his first season as coach, it's time to move on and Reaves sounds motivated.

"I was born here," Reaves said. "… I just want to do something with my life."

That glance into Reaves' soul might be the gateway Roberts enters to revive Bulldog pride, which has become his mantra.

That pride has been lacking, Roberts said.

"In general the motivation level is different from when I played at Zephyrhills High School," Roberts said. "All the distractions and all the things going on around these young men, the attitude is different. That's what we're trying to change."

Reaves certainly has the talent, though it's unclear how much he has improved since last fall when he threw for 408 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He briefly transferred to Land O'Lakes last spring, and due to Florida High School Athletic Association rules was ineligible to play in the Bulldogs' spring game against Pasco.

Roberts has seen enough in the short time he has been on campus.

"Having Chris is definitely an advantage," Roberts said. "He is that athlete. He can throw, run and catch the football. That's dynamic for us in the spread offense. It's a threat. I'm definitely happy to have Chris."

Reaves, who admits he prefers playing receiver, will have an opportunity to play various positions, sharing time at quarterback with junior Jacob Smith. The duo seems to be on the same page in terms of improvement and sharing snaps.

"It works out pretty good," Smith said. "If one of us struggles, the other can come in and succeed at the same level."

Roberts described Smith as a quiet leader, but had high praise for him after working with him for a month.

"I tell anybody I talk to, Jacob Smith was the surprise of the spring," Roberts said. "From Day 1, nobody has worked harder. He's an incredible athlete. He's just like Chris. I'm happy to have him. He's an athlete and a young kid. I think the Bulldog fans will be hearing a lot from him."

Together, Reaves and Smith have the opportunity to do more than deliver touchdowns. They can be advocates for Roberts, helping instill a passion for the game Roberts saw in the Bulldogs locker room in the late 1980s. It's a feeling he hopes will flood his locker room again — and soon.

"There have been improvements," Roberts said. "As far as the motivation, we work on it daily. But I have seen kids' attitudes change for the better."

Izzy Gould can be reached at or (813) 421-3886.

Zephyrhills football looking for a fresh start 06/17/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 17, 2010 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  3. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater


    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.
  5. Bucs' O.J. Howard ends big day with BP, first pitch for Rays


    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard is known for his athleticism at 6-foot-6, 251-pounds. As an outfielder, he took his Autuaga Academy High School baseball team to the state tournament in Alabama as a junior.

    On Monday, after a little instruction from Steven Souza, Jr., the left-handed hitting Howard started making …