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Leto begins new era with Grajales

Special correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 01:33 AM
TAMPA -

Senior quarterback Adner Grajales is undefeated at Leto High.

The Falcons haven't won a football game in two years, but Grajales, a transfer from Gaither, hasn't been a part of those losses. Leto has struggled, but as far as Grajales is concerned, he's undefeated as the Leto quarterback and he is already making an impression as a leader.

"This is a new era,'' Grajales said. "That's what I have been saying in the huddle before every play since I got here. I am new here, but this year it is up to me to get this team over the hump. We are more focused than ever and, if we can get some consistency, we can compete.''

Grajales said he isn't concerned about the trouble Leto has experienced. As far as he's concerned, he is undefeated.

"I have never lost a game at Leto,'' Grajales said. "It's all brand new now and we think we can compete.''

Grajales, who also plays free safety, knows he may take many beatings behind center for Leto, which scored only 14 points in all of 2010. The Falcons upped the total to 114 in 2011, but still went winless. Still, almost all of last year's juniors are coming back for more and Grajales has stepped up to be the leader of a team that simply wants to compete with the big boys in their district.

"Our kids are starting to buy into what we are trying to do,'' said Leto coach Matt Kitchie. "Adner is a leader and I knew he would be great for us. That's the type of kid he is. We are making big strides and he's a big part of it.''

Kitchie, entering his second year at Leto, said he isn't making any guarantees, but he thinks the Falcons can at least compete with powerhouses on the schedule such as Hillsborough and Armwood.

"With guys like Adner and our seniors who have stuck with it, I know we will be more competitive and that's the goal this year,'' Kitchie said. "These guys are building something and they are in it for the long run.''

Leto might not have won a game over the past two seasons, but the offense improved dramatically. Special teams are a concern, however. The Falcons allowed nine kick returns for touchdowns last year, and that's a key to turning things around, Kitchie said. He added not to expect any miracles, but just to look for signs of improvement as Leto tries to turn itself around.

Grajales said he plans to stick around until the last down.

"I am going to do what I can to lead this team and help turn things around,'' Grajales said. "You have to start somewhere and I want to be one of the building blocks.''

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