The first four-year class at Steinbrenner laid a solid foundation, going 20-19-1 and securing the rare winning record for a fledgling high school football program. • Now, minus 27 graduated seniors, second-year Warriors coach Andres Perez-Reinaldo plans to build on that foundation in the fall.
“This is really an opportunity to grow this program the way we want,” Perez-Reinaldo said. “We can take it to that next level.”
Perez-Reinaldo is going through his first spring practice as a head coach. He was promoted to that position in July after spending several years at Steinbrenner as an assistant under Floyd Graham.
The transition didn’t give Perez-Reinaldo much chance to leave his imprint on the program and, accordingly, the Warriors got off to a slow start in 2012. They lost three of their first four games, the only win coming against East Bay in Week 2.
That was a disappointment for a program that had been planning on its first playoff berth, especially with three college recruits (Kendall Pearcey, John Marc Carrier and Trey Wilson) primed for big seasons.
Steinbrenner closed the season on a roll, winning its final three games by a combined score of 106-41 but still falling short of the postseason.
Perez-Reinaldo hopes the program can build on that momentum this spring and fall, starting with returning quarterback Curtis Fitch.
“He’s everything you would want your son to be, let alone your quarterback,” Perez-Reinaldo said of the rising senior.
Well, almost everything: Fitch is, um, generously listed at 5-foot-11 but is probably closer to 5-8.
Nonetheless, Fitch should prove to be a steady signal-caller for the re-rebuilding program, throwing for nearly 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns last year. He and the Warriors will lean heavily on fellow rising seniors Jake Carroll and Shaheem Barthel to give the Warriors a potent running threat.
And Fitch, the son of former USF offensive coordinator and current Boston College assistant Todd Fitch, plans to fill some of the leadership void that was missing in that first class of four-year seniors.
“That’s where I and some of the other guys come in,” he said. “Five and five just won’t cut it here, and I embrace the challenge of helping us to get better.”
Number of the day
8 Sacks registered by Plant City’s defense, led by edge pressure from defensive ends Sedrick King and John Broome, in the Raiders’ 81-play scrimmage over the weekend
Spring jamboree/game schedule
Thursday (at 6:30 unless noted)
Jamboree at Freedom (Freedom, King, Tampa Bay Tech, Wharton)
Jamboree at Middleton (Blake, Chamberlain, Hillsborough, Middleton)
Jamboree at Newsome (Bloomingdale, Brandon, Newsome, Tampa Catholic)
Jamboree at Armwood (Armwood, Durant, Plant City, Strawberry Crest)
Jamboree at Lennard (East Bay, Lennard, Riverview, Spoto)
Jamboree at Steinbrenner (Alonso, Gaither, Sickles, Steinbrenner)
Jamboree at Plant (Jefferson, Leto, Plant, Robinson)
Seffner Christian at Santa Fe Catholic, 7
Dixie Hollins at Jesuit, 7
Cambridge Christian at Calvary Christian, 7
Compiled by staff writers Joel Anderson and Joey Knight.