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BRANDON EAGLES // Brandon kicks into a program of rebuilding

(ran TP edition)

Robbie Salvog has caused Brandon head coach Ron Flott to spend a lot of time on the phone and reading letters from college coaches, mostly division I. Many of them want Salvog to play college ball for them.

The 6-2, 175-pound kicker could be the key to a successful program for some fortunate college. This year the senior soccer-style kicker will be a major factor in the Eagles' rebuilding program.

Flott says he will be starting many sophomores and juniors this year and it will take a while for the inexperienced players to mature into a team as strong as last year's 7-3 Eagles squad.

Salvog's kicking will be a major factor in the Eagles offense this year.

"He has nailed field goals from 63 yards out in practice and I have him on tape putting kickoffs beyond the track 10 yards behind the stripe at the end of the field," Flott said. "If it is fourth down around the other team's 40, we have a chance to score a field goal with Robbie."

Including Salvog, the Eagles have five starters back and they will once again run the trap option offense to take advantage of the talent and speed, though inexperienced, on the young team.

Passing game: Chris Harris and Kevin Thomas will share the quarterbacking duties. Both are 6-3, 195 pounds and both can drop back or throw from play action.

Tony Jefferson can get to the ball consistently from his split-end position and should be on the receiving end frequently.

Tory Brown is a sophomore bright spot for Flott as a starting flanker. Flott says he has speed and good hands.

Scott Harris, Resche Hines and James Stewart will also be on the receiving end of some passes.

Running game: Both Thomas and Harris can move the ball with the option and junior fullback Laterance Clark, 5-8 and 205 pounds, will be the straight-ahead tough-yard gainer.

Clark has a low center of gravity and loves contact. He started for Naples Lely last year.

Another junior, Wayne Giese, is backup at fullback. The 6-2, 225-pounder, is a starting linebacker.

Senior tailback Derrick Reaves is the primary ground gainer for Brandon. The returning starter ran for 500 yards and six touchdowns last season.

Mark Gaynor and Carie Mitchell will also get some time carrying the ball according to Flott.

Offensive line: Flott says his offensive line is small and capable of being very good. But he says they will need some time to jell.

Bill Webber, Pat Cromie, Mike Pucillo and Mark Gibson have secured starting spots up front. Danny Valentin and Chris Bodie are still battling for the left tackle spot and Lance Talmadge and Chad Mauck will be getting some backup playing time.

Defensive line: Flott describes his defensive line as a rangy, tenacious, hard-working, blue-collar bunch.

Chris Sands is the strong-side end and Tommy Holloman is on the weak side.

Four players should see time at tackle: Alex Jenkins, Brian Boglin, Fred Gains, Gibson and Mike Pucillo.

Linebackers: Giese and senior David Schonacher are the inside linebackers responsible for everything between the tackles.

"Giese and Schonacher are a couple of work horses and very physical," Flott said. "They are a pair of bright spots on the defense."

Outside are Trey Thomas, a starting wide receiver last year, and Cesare Myles.

Battling for playing time at linebacker are Ryan Clark, Carl Gunn, Will Shook and Chris Foley.

Defensive backfield: Junior free-safety Marvin Johnson directs the defensive backs for Brandon. Flott says he is a tough kid who roams the field and moves forward to make a hit.

Also getting time in play will be Pat Williams, Dwayne Lockett, Jovan Scott, Tory Brown, Terrell Wallace and Tommy Thompson.

"Our secondary is small and quick," Flott said. "I hope they can stop the pass. They are all young and it may take a while for them to come together."

Kicking: "Robbie Salvog is our kicking game," Flott said. "To just talk to him you would never think he has so much talent. He is unassuming, never brags and everybody on the team likes him. And I think every college coach in the country is trying to get him."

The coach: Flott made a successful debut as the Brandon coach last year and it appears his continued emphasis on defense and ball-control should bolster the Eagles' efforts.

Outlook: Brandon is young, talented and inexperienced.

"I expect them to get better every game," Flott said. "I don't know how long it will take them to mature, but they will do as good as they determine they want too."

AT A GLANCE

Coach: Ron Flott, second season (7-3, 13-17 in fourth season overall).

Assistant coaches: Ernest Hayes, Tom Howell, Earl Lane, Barry Hudson, Jim Trice, Charlie McGuire and Jim Delap.

Colors: Maroon and white.

Stadium: E.

F. McLean Stadium, 1101 Victoria, Brandon.

Class: 6A, District 8.

Playoff appearances: 1969; 1977; 1985.

Last playoff appearance: Class 5A _ Beat Gaither 36-8; beat Merritt Island 10-6; lost to Pensacola Woodham 27-14.

1994 results (7-3)

at Armwood 30-7 W

at Chamberlain 28-21 L

Plant 32-12 W

Hillsborough 31-10 L

at Tampa Bay Tech 10-6 W

Gaither 21-14 L

at Plant City 14-10 W

at King 31-17 W

Leto 22-12 W

Bloomingdale 21-20 W

Glory Days

The Eagles have had some powerful teams at times, but only once have they played in the state championship game. Brandon's 1969 squad, under coach Charlie Livingston, finished 10-1-2, including playoff victories over Clearwater (20-6) and Miami Jackson (7-6). But in the Class 2A title game, Tallahassee Leon stopped the Eagles 24-14.

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