RIVERVIEW — On Monday afternoon behind Riverview High School, there were more than 90 teenagers running around wearing football uniforms, sharpening skills under the watch of a bunch of coaches in floppy hats.
The pace was quick, the energy high.
Riverview? The same school that hasn’t had a winning football season since 2007?
“I believe things are turning around,” said third-year coach William Mosel. “You can feel it.”
You sure can: On the field, in the halls, around the community and on the stat sheets.
Riverview, after all, is 4-0 to start the 2019 season and — though nobody wants to get ahead of themselves — the Sharks appear capable of beating every team remaining on their schedule, including Strawberry Crest (1-2) on Friday.
Would Riverview be the favorite in every game? Not necessarily. But they at least have a chance to win every one.
Mosel quickly cautions, “First things first,” which on Monday meant making sure sophomore quarterback Stazion Gage followed all the proper fundamentals and repetitions, and the linemen clicked on all their drills and the skill guys ran the proper routes, and so on.
Gage, for one, says a big part of the turnaround is the coaching staff, which has worked extra hard to get athletes out of the halls and onto the field. Once on the field, the coaches have instilled discipline along with a great deal of care and fun.
“Plus our coaches know what they’re talking about,” Gage said. “When they talk, everybody listens.”
That’s good because a lot of players get involved in the action on the multiple-front defense and the no-huddle, go-go-go, spread offense.
In the receiving stats, for instance, nine players have caught at least one pass and none of them has caught more than eight. The leading receivers include Cheyenne Greaves (eight catches, 210 yards), Kadeem Robinson (eight, 105), Ricky Lundstrom (eight, 40) and Colby Thornton (six, 58).
Add them all up and the nine receivers have 43 total catches for 585 yards and six touchdowns.
The rushing stats are similar with five players with at least 10 carries, led by Gage, who has 46 carries for 376 yards, David Haynes (21 carries, 191 yards), Greaves (27 carries, 173 yards).
“But it only works because everybody has bought into the team concept,” said Gage, who has 10 total touchdowns (five passing, five rushing). “This team has a bond. We play for each other. That’s another big difference between this year and the past.”
Another big reason are the big guys up front on both sides.of the ball, including offensive linemen Shamar Crawford, Aidan Smith, Montreal Holmes, Antwon Mccollum and Oliver Cushman, who average about 6-4, 280 pounds.
On the flip side, there are defensive linemen Timothy Tyson, James Moore, Ryan Peacock, Jacob Poirot, Luis Marisical and Antonio Brown, who are all quick and athletic.
“Our linemen have been so key,” Mosel said. “Yes, we have the skill guys who can run, but those linemen have done their jobs to set everything up.”
Leaving no stone unturned, Riverview has also been solid in the special teams department with a kicker, Cody Szelc, who is 13-for-13 on extra points and 3-for-3 on field goals, while averaging 35 yards a punt.
Football schedule, Week 5
All games Friday night.
Shorecrest at Bishop McLaughlin, 7
Pasco at Dixie Hollins, 7
Bayshore Christian at Merritt Island Christian, 7
IMG White at Berkeley Prep, 7
Admiral Farragut at Carrollwood Day, 7
North Port at Tampa Catholic, 7
Indian Rocks Christian at Out-of-Door, 7
Keswick Christian at Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic, 7
Northside Christian at St. Stephen’s, 7
Steinbrenner at Hillsborough, 7:30
Clearwater Academy at American Collegiate, 7:30
River Ridge at Wiregrass Ranch, 7:30
Land O’Lakes at Sunlake, 7:30
Wildwood at Hernando, 7:30
Chamberlain at Armwood, 7:30
Bloomingdale at Plant, 7:30
Durant at Newsome, 7:30
Tarpon Springs at East Lake, 7:30
Braden River at Lakewood, 7:30
Palmetto at Largo, 7:30
Nature Coast at Central, 7:30
Crystal River at Springstead, 7:30
Anclote at Fivay, 7:30
Mitchell at Cypress Creek, 7:30
Gulf at Dunedin, 7:30
Alonso at Sickles, 7:30
Blake at King, 7:30
Brandon at Middleton, 7:30
Bradenton Christian at Cambridge Christian, 7:30
Plant City at East Bay, 7:30
Freedom at Wharton, 7:30
Jefferson at Spoto, 7:30
Riverview at Strawberry Crest, 7:30
Seminole at Boca Ciega, 7:30
First Academy at Calvary Christian, 7:30
CCC at Sebring, 7:30
Countryside at Palm Harbor U., 7:30
Gibbs at St. Petersburg, 7:30
Osceola at Northeast, 7:30