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PINELLAS PARK // Patriots ready to begin a new era

(ran CTI LTCTNT)

Who says spring jamborees don't count?

Certainly not James Adams. Take a look at what his Pinellas Park team did at its jamboree: rushed the ball as well as it ever has, played inspired football from start to end, and actually led at one point 19-6. All this against Clearwater, a traditional Pinellas County power.

"Clearwater's certainly no slouch," said Adams. "I think the kids now know we can play. We shut down their running game. I was pretty pleased."

The Patriots eventually showed their inexperience with leads, losing on two late scores. But the game told Adams and his players that this could be the year the county's longest losing streak ends.

It did last Friday, with a 15-0 Kickoff Classic victory over Hudson.

Now comes the regular-season challenge.

And there are other indicators that point to Pinellas Park finally winning a game after three straight 0-10 seasons. The schedule is easier. The team has depth and an experienced backfield. And the junior varsity team was undefeated last year.

"We expect to win," said Adams.

On the ground: Senior Kevin Glenn (5-foot-10, 180 pounds), one of the fastest kids in the county, and Steve Shine (5-10, 175) will start. They combined for 125 yards rushing in the jamboree, and that was in only a half of action. Adams expects his running game to be a strength.

The line, which features four seniors and and a junior, can be impressive. The group is headed by left tackle Mike Zalampas (6-4, 220) and Jason Acree (6-3, 240).

Through the air: Having a sophomore quarterback isn't generally a good thing in high school football. But when that quarterback is nicknamed "Cool" by his teammates, it makes it more reassuring.

"Cool" Joe Vaughn (6-1, 170) returns as the starter. He may only be a sophomore, but he endured a baptism under fire last season as injuries made him the starter as a freshman..

Vaughn's primary target will be senior tight end Rob Barnes, who was a first-team all-conference selection last year.

Defense, defense: There's a lot of speed here, starting with senior tackle Deaunte Sanders (6-2, 265), senior end Courtney Burge (6-4, 240), and Bobby Burr (6-1, 230). Junior Jay Keese (6-2, 180) is a big corner with good jumping ability, with Glenn and Shine helping out in the defensive backfield.

Just for kicks: Junior Chris Gunteradd will handle the place kicking and punting. Adams on the losing streak: "I don't focus on that. I know our seniors have never won a game and they don't want to go out like that."

AT A GLANCE

Coach: James Adams, second year (0-10).

Assistants: Tom White, Luke Kademoff, Doug Olsen, Stacey Simmons, James King.

Nickname: Patriots.

Stadium: Richard Allen Memorial Stadium.

District: Class 5A, District 9.

1994 record: 0-10. Losses: East Lake 35-7, Boca Ciega 31-9, Clearwater 28-0, Largo 26-7, Gibbs 27-0, Northeast 41-8, St. Pete 44-21, Osceola 42-6, Dixie Hollins 19-3, Tarpon Springs 41-17. Playoff history

1983: Lost to Lakeland 14-7

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