(ran TP edition)
Great, energetic, great blocker, great hustler, excellent blocker.
Excuse Hillsborough running back Derrick Edmonds for getting carried away with superlatives, but he just can't produce enough compliments about the mighty offensive line that will block for him this season.
Of course, a lot of adjectives are needed to describe a group that averages 280 pounds.
"I know I've got some big boys in front of me," Edmonds said. "I've got nothing to worry about.
"The offensive line is stronger than last year and quicker than last year."
That's saying a lot considering the bulk of the unit helped departed senior Jamall Anderson rush for nearly 1,500 yards last season. This unit, led by Joey Sipp and Ishmael Knight, is capable of blowing holes through a defensive line.
So really it's up to Edmonds, who hopes to continue the success of his predecessors. Anderson followed in the footsteps of another 1,000-yard rusher Morris Harris, who was preceded by 1,000-yard rusher Corey Durant. The flashes of brilliance displayed by Edmonds (13 carries, 167 yards, 12.8 yards per carry) indicate he's up to the task.
"He's more of a slasher than Morris and Jamall," Terriers coach Earl Garcia said. "He's coming in behind a third-team all-state running back (Harris) and a first-team all-state running back (Anderson), that's pretty illustrious company.
"But he has something those other guys didn't have, blazing speed."
Gaither transfers Steve Hillmon and Esaw Scruggs are hoping to strengthen the program, but days before the season-opener, their eligibility remained in question because Gaither principal Ken Addum had not signed their blue waiver forms.
Passing game: Hillsborough's passing attack rests in the hands of junior Jeremy Earle, who threw for more than 600 yards in a limited role last season.
Earle's potential and a deep and talented receiving corps will prompt Hillsborough to throw more this season. Hillmon, the former Gaither quarterback, produced 20 receptions for 400 yards as a sophomore in 1993.
Hillmon runs a 4.4, as does Jariya McIntyre, who is a legitimate Division I prospect after scoring a 23 on the ACT. Hassan Wajd and Jon Beynon will bolster the pass-catching crew, while Scruggs should do well at tight end.
Running game: Edmonds is just one of a number of players who can carry the ball for Hillsborough. The Terriers also have Phillip Clark, who broke a 40-yard run against Plant in the spring jamboree. The improved passing game should open up more holes for the ground attack.
Offensive line: Sipp (6-0, 273) is a two-time All-County guard. Knight (6-4, 320) earned all-county honors last year. Joining them will be tackles David Fleming (6-4, 294) and Dietrick George (6-1, 323) and center Jeremy Strange, the lightweight of the group at 6-4, 240 pounds. The quintet combines talent with size, and 6-3, 241-pound Isaac Bristol makes the group even more formidable.
Defensive line: Hillsborough's front four is big and quick, but it's also young and inexperienced.
Only 6-2, 195-pound defensive tackle Marcus Boldon, a transfer from Miami American, started for an entire season in 1994. Quincy Gordon (6-3, 294) played in the second half of the season and sophomores Jon Cochran (6-6, 254) and Charles Crowley (6-3, 254) step in after playing at Van Buren.
Linebackers: Outside linebacker Andrean Mathis and inside linebacker Aleous Chambers will be the standouts on this unit. Mathis is described by defensive coordinator Craig Frey as a great technician, while Chambers needs only to combine his great speed (10.7 in the 100 meters) with a more physical approach.
Defensive backfield: There's at least two players who should contribute at every position in the Terriers' secondary. The talented group only became stronger when Brandon quarterback Mario Porter moved in to play safety.
Michael Green, David McNeil and Cedric Roberts are expected to start, but backups Keynodo Hudson, Maurice Green and Casey Robinson should see considerable playing time.
Kicking: Senior Paul Bibeau returns for another season to handle field goals and punting. Kevin Czypha will back him up and handle kickoffs.
The coach: Garcia's goal since taking over at Hillsborough has been simple: Set the standard for high school football in Hillsborough County. He may succeed with one of the county's most talented teams in recent memory, but he has to make sure the egos of his standout players don't disrupt team chemistry.
Outlook: The Terriers are the clear favorite to win Class 6A, District 7, and should at least make a credible showing in the playoffs. Anything less would have to be labeled a disappointment.
AT A GLANCE
Coach: Earl Garcia, third season (18-4, 51-42 in 10th season overall).
Assistant coaches: Dean Eychner, Richard Earle, Craig Frey, Jeff Rawlins, Charles Roberts, Mike Rush, Mike Simmonds, Roy Tomas, Ike Williams.
Colors: Red and white.
Stadium: Marcelino "Chelo" Huerta Field, 5000 Central Ave., Tampa.
Class: 6A, District 7.
Playoff appearances: 1968; 1993; 1994.
Last playoff appearance: Class 6A _ Lost to Apopka 34-8.
1994 results (9-2)
at Tampa Bay Tech 26-23 W
Leto 35-6 W
at Jefferson 12-0 W
at Brandon 31-10 W
Plant 49-18 W
at Chamberlain 34-16 W
East Bay 40-0 W
at Gaither 21-14 L
King 34-0 W
Robinson 47-0 W
Class 6A state playoffs
at Apopka 34-8 L
It was longtime Chamberlain coach Billy Turner who helped produce one of the Terriers' best seasons. In 1969, Hillsborough went 10-0 and Turner was carried off the field at Tampa Stadium after the Terriers beat Plant 16-7 on Thanksgiving Day before 11,000. The next week, Hillsborough bolted to a 17-0 lead against Sarasota in the regional playoff before 10,000 at Tampa Stadium, but the Sailors scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win 20-17. The Terriers outgained Sarasota 328-163.