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Wildcats get another Pirate

Gabriel Montelongo is the latest Pasco football player to jump ship to Wesley Chapel.

The sophomore kicker transferred to Wesley Chapel on Monday and said he intends to participate in spring football and play sports there next season.

He follows in the footsteps of his older brother, Gilbert, a senior, who was one of the county's top kicker when he transferred from Pasco to Wesley Chapel last year. He led the state in punting average and was named to Class 3A first-team all-state after the 2001 season.

"I like the school better," Gabriel Montelongo said. "It's the atmosphere here, I like the guys here."

At Pasco, Montelongo handled kickoff duties and shared extra-point and field goal duties with junior Amanda Newsome, who last season became the first female to play high school football in Pasco County. Montelongo said sharing playing time was a factor in his decision.

Montelongo said he had not spoken to Pasco coach Ricky Thomas before transferring under the school district's school choice rules. Thomas said sophomore Kyle Hobbs will now join Newsome as the team's kickers, but otherwise had little else to say on the subject.

"None at all," Thomas said. "You go with what you've got."

Montelongo made his only field goal attempt last season, connecting on a 28-yarder, but said his range has extended to 50-plus yards in practice kicks. He also converted 12 of 17 extra-point attempts and had a 32.7-yard punting average.

He becomes the latest Pirate to switch schools. Former Pasco outside linebacker Maurice Standifer transferred to Wesley Chapel in February. In 1999, former Pasco junior varsity quarterback Matt Glavich transferred to Tampa Catholic and then to Jefferson, where he helped the Dragons to the Class 4A state semifinals. Pasco lineman Donnie Woods joined him at Jefferson, transferring for the 2001 season.