(ran TP edition)
For years, Hillsborough County football had a council of elder statesmen: Plant's Roland Acosta, Hillsborough's Dick O'Brien and Chamberlain's Billy Turner.
The trio had racked up nearly 100 years of coaching experience, but O'Brien departed after the 1992 season and Acosta hung up his whistle and clipboard last year.
Other longtime coaches such as Brandon's Larry Bass, Plant City's Floyd Kelly and Berkeley Prep's Al Pisano have given up the profession. Even Billy Reed, the longtime Hillsborough baseball coach, celebrated his retirement from teaching this year.
Yet Turner remains.
"I'm not the godfather, I'm the grandfather," said Turner, 57. "I kind of wish O'Brien and Acosta and Billy Reed had stayed around. I think I'm going to put some coloring in my hair so it won't look so gray, maybe get a facelift. But my wife says I would still have the same old motor inside."
The motor may be the same, but it's revved up and ready to go. After two consecutive losing seasons, a Turner-first at Chamberlain, he's more determined than ever to bring winning back to the program. The Chiefs led in the fourth quarter seven times in 1994, but ended up going 3-7.
"But we're not talking about the past," Turner said. "If we catch a player talking about "last year,' he's in trouble. We've put that behind us.
"My coaches are coaching harder than I've ever seen them coach. I'm a little more enthusiastic, but you have to be. When you slip, you work harder."
Turner said he hopes to coach for at least another five years, and may coach until he's 65. Losing makes it more difficult for Turner to stay in the business, but he thinks this year's team _ which he describes as a no-name group that's excited _ will give him one of his most enjoyable years.
Passing game: Turner said his team will be adequate at throwing the ball, "but we're not going to major in it." Senior Billy Matthews, a clone of 1960s Baltimore quarterback Tom Mattie according to Turner, will pull the trigger.
His targets will be Kevin House, son of the former Buc, Robert Bivens, Mike Enning, and tight ends Ryan Fugit and Mark Ennis.
Running game: Power first, option second, pass third. That's how Turner describes his offensive philosophy for 1995. Matthews, who helped the junior varsity team to a 5-1 record in 1993, can run with the ball. Tony Nelson is back after rushing for nearly 400 yards and averaging 8.6 yards a carry behind departed senior Eugene McCaslin.
Offensive line: The power of the Chamberlain offense will be provided by 6-foot-3, 290-pound tackle Butch Hostetter and 6-3, 285-pound guard Geoff Odermatt. The senior Division I prospects will be the strong side of Chamberlain's strong-side, quick-side line.
Guard Kevin Mallory and tackle Ryan Kall will play on the other side of center Craig Baker.
Defensive line: Returning starter Pedro Aquino-Baez leads one of the deepest units on the team. Aaron Stover and Nick Holley also will play in the tackle positions, while three players are vying for the defensive end spots in the Chiefs' 4-3 attack: Brad Holmes, Blake Talbott and Henry McGriff.
Odermatt and Hostetter also can jump in on the defensive side if needed.
Linebackers: Three underclassmen _ Gabriel Galdos, Chauncy Scott and Ed Rosa _ will handle the three conventional linebacking spots. The "savage" spot, a linebacker/strong safety position, is expected to be handled by Khary Malone or Matt Stratton. Backup quarterback Terry Myers also may see time at savage.
Defensive backfield: Quincy Williams and Shawn Winters should anchor the cornerback positions, while Clarence Cooley should step in at free safety. House, David Wilson and Jermane McCloud may also see time in the secondary.
Kicking: Ian Dyer returns as the Chamberlain placekicker. Winters should handle the punting duties.
The coach: On more than one occasion, Turner has outcoached some of his counterparts. He doesn't always have the most talent, but he often gets the most out of his players.
Outlook: Turner has mostly seniors on offense, but almost all underclassmen on defense. There are some question marks, but he's optimistic that Chamberlain will finish with more wins than losses in 1995.
AT A GLANCE
Coach: Billy Turner, 14th season (102-65, 151-91 in 25th season overall).
Assistant coaches: Bobby Diaz, Jim Gee, Steve Myers, Terry Myers, Max Risler, Norman Soash, David Tenney.
Colors: Green and gold.
Stadium: Chamberlain Field, 9401 North Blvd., Tampa.
Class: 6A, District 7.
Playoff appearances: 1982; 1983; 1984; 1987; 1989.
Last playoff appearance: Class 5A _ Lost to Bradenton Manatee 28-13.
1994 results (3-7)
at Jefferson 21-7 L
Brandon 28-21 W
at Sarasota 23-14 L
at King 32-7 W
Manatee 21-14 L
Hillsborough 34-16 L
at Bloomingdale 16-13 L
Leto 7-6 L
at Plant City 17-14 W
Gaither 20-3 L
The 1980s were a glorious period for the Chiefs, who previously had a history that included more lumps than triumphs. Chamberlain reached the playoffs five times _ 1982, '83, '84, '87 and '89 _ with three of those teams posting 9-2 records. The Chiefs lost in the first round of the playoffs each of those years, but four of the losses were to Bradenton Manatee, which has won four state titles, including '83 and '89.