It looks as if Pasco found itself a new quarterback to replace the record-breaking Jacob Guy. The Pirates have inserted Jujuan Henry to fill the row, and after playing mostly defense last season, Pasco turns to the senior, who is also learning a new spread offense that includes playmakers David Emmanuel and Janarion Grant.
"We changed the whole offense. It's just going to take repetition and getting a core group of guys in there," Pirates coach Tom McHugh said. "I thought when we ran it, we ran it pretty good."
Henry finished the night with three scores, including going 7-for-8 passing for 106 yards and two touchdowns. But he stood out the most on QB keeper plays, including his first rush that resulted in a 76-yard scamper into the end zone.
"Not bad for a guy who only played JV quarterback two years ago," McHugh added.
Most know that defensive lineman Joey Ivie will be a force against opposing offensive lineman, especially after forcing a fumble Friday. But Pasco wants to see him on the field even more. So the Pirates lined up him at fullback and tight end in a few plays, even giving him the ball three times where he gained 14 yards. McHugh would even like to get Ivie out in the flats more as a tight end, giving Pasco a big target that most corners would be hard pressed to tackle.
"That's the plan," McHugh said with a smile.
A new Roberts
Jamal Roberts was synonymous with Zephyrhills' turnaround season that had the Bulldogs narrowly missing the state tournament in 2011. So, coach Reggie Roberts turns to so-to-be junior receiver/defensive back Jordan Roberts, the younger brother of Jamal, who is headed to Kent State.
Jordan looks the part, especially after the 6-foot-2 first-time football player took a screen pass 77 yards on Zephyrhills' first offensive play. The track standout is already garnering looks from Florida, Michigan State, Michigan and Navy.
"He's raw," Reggie Roberts admits. "He's still learning how to play football. We're going to get him the ball, but he's still trying to pick up this game, but we do feel like he can do some good things for us."
Royal Knights focused
River Ridge was easily the team that won the Anclote jamboree, winning both of its quarters, a 7-0 decision against Anclote and a 35-0 win vs. Gulf.
For Royal Knights coach Ryan Benjamin, what most impressed him was how driven his players were.
"It was our work ethic and attitude," Benjamin said. "If you are doing your job, we don't need heroes. If we do that, everyone does their job, then collectively, we will win."
Anclote showed it will be tough to score points on in its two quarters, one against Hudson, a 28-0 win, and holding River Ridge to a lone touchdown in a 7-0 loss.
"We had a shutout to start and then we held River Ridge to seven points so I am very happy," Anclote coach Matt Wicks said.
Part of the reason was the defense's ability to turn a turnover into six points. Defensive back Kishuan Dampier picked off a Hudson pass, dodged and zigzagged his way through the Hudson defenders and scored on a 32-yard interception.
Dampier credited his teammates with both his return for a touchdown, and the defense making big plays.
"We trust each other and that gives us the ability and the confidence to go out and take chances," Dampier said.
A new name
Ricky Trinidad was one of Mitchell's best athletes in recent years. A two-sport star, Trinidad shined on both the football field, and running track.
Now at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, there's another Trinidad on the Mustangs roster hoping to step away from Ricky's shadow.
This would be Christian Trinidad, Ricky's younger brother. Christian showed flashes of speed like his brother by running for touchdowns of 37 and 36 yards as Mitchell beat Gulf 26-0.
"I'm just trying to make a name for myself," Christian said, when referencing his brother. His goal, he said, was not to be known as Ricky's younger brother, but for Ricky to be known as Christian's older brother.
Hudson needs OL help
Spring games are often used by a coaching staff to gauge an area that needs to be improved on through summer brainstorming sessions and summer two-a-day practices.
For Hudson, the element that will need the most work is up front on the offensive line. In its lone quarter of play Friday in a five-team jamboree at Anclote, the Cobras' offensive line was exposed.
Hudson allowed six quarterback sacks. The lack of protection was so bad, that halfway through the quarter, Hudson gave up even trying to a pass on clear passing downs. Instead, freshman quarterback Joey Caruso ran draws – which worked quite well – and quarterback keepers.
There appears to be little doubt that QB Ethan Weilant has a firm grasp on the starting job for Land O' Lakes.
The senior-to-be was a very efficient 12-for-17 for 125 yards by halftime of the Gators' spring game against Fivay. He threw two interceptions while under pressure in the third quarter, but looked very comfortable in the position. He also rushed six times for 22 yards.
Fivay seems locked into a two-quarterback rotation with Tyler Degen and Eric Vitale. Degen played the first half and was 4-for-13 for 83 yards and an interception, while Vitale finished 6-for-16 for 117 yards and an INT in the third quarter, as Fivay tried to rally from a deficit.
Nine of the 10 passes completed by Fivay's QBs went for 15 yards or more, and the shortest pass was nine yards, showing the Falcons' propensity for trying to stretch the defense.
Falcons coach Chris Taylor did the same thing last season before giving Degen the starting job prior to the season opener.
Bulls adjusting to new system
Wiregrass Ranch struggled a bit in last Friday's three-team jamboree at Sunlake as the Bulls lost in both halves to Sunlake (21-3) and Wesley Chapel (21-7).
The Bulls are trying to adjust offensively and defensively, with both sides of the ball featuring new coordinators in former Kansas State running back Mike Lawrence (offense) and former Fivay defensive line coach Adaam Oliver (defense).
On offense, Wiregrass Ranch, in its new spread look, was not able to amount much of anything on the ground, rushing for minus-20 yards on 11 attempts. Through the air, the Bulls found more success by completing 3-for-5 passes for 27 yards. Bulls coach Jeremy Schobe saw many positives with his squad in the first scrimmage against Sunlake and sees his team as a work in progress.
"I don't feel like we got outplayed," Schobe said. "(We've) got to do better offensively and quit making mistakes. It's all about having a belief system. Got to get going early and shift momentum. We've got a good group of kids and they have to start buying in. We know we're a better football team by far from last year."
Mike Camunas, Lee Diekemper, Bart O'Connell, Andy Villamarzo