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Riverview: Sharks ready to face the challenges

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 08:28 PM
RIVERVIEW -

Sean Shapiro wants to go out a winner.

In his first three seasons at Riverview High, the Sharks have managed only five victories.

If Shapiro has anything to do with it, that all changes this season and future seasons, as well.

"It's not like we're just trying to have one great season," Shapiro said. "We're trying to build a program.

"We've got to influence the younger players and make sure they're doing what they need to be doing.''

If there is a big turnaround this season for the Sharks, Shapiro, the starting middle linebacker, and the defensive unit would deserve a lot of the credit.

"We are 11 men to the ball at all times, everyone just swarming,'' said Shapiro, who led the team in tackles with 83 last year. "We call ourselves the black hole because once you go in, you just never go out.

"We just dominate on defense with everyone swarming in and it just looks like you get lost in our defense.''

That swarm mentality will be necessary in Riverview's new district, which features teams with strong ground games, including Newsome and Plant City. The Wolves averaged 319 rushing yards per game and the Raiders, led by Dazmond Patterson, averaged 169 rushing yards per game last year.

"That's a great challenge for us," Shapiro said.

To help in that effort, Shapiro and his teammates hit the weight room hard in the offseason. Shapiro's gone through a big transition since his first year at Riverview.

"I'm a lot different,'' he said. "I'm 40 pounds heavier. I'm a lot smarter and I'm making reads and not just going off of talent alone.''

Shapiro didn't start out on the defensive side of the ball. He was an offensive lineman during his youth football days and became a linebacker in high school.

"I like the glory that comes with being a linebacker,'' he said. "I like Derrick Brooks. I like his attitude on the field. He just gets football and does it the right way."

The same can be said for Shapiro, who carries a 4.9GPA and 1,230 SAT score.

"I'm not a loudmouth or a talker,'' he said. "I lead by example.''

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