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Spoto: Moate's speed works for the Spartans

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

Spoto junior running back/cornerback Eric Moate knows he's going to be one of the fastest players on the field in any game.

And he plans to always use that to his advantage.

Moate clocked a 10.8 finish in the 100 meters and a 21.4 in the 200 during track and field last season, when he was also a member of Spoto's 4x100 relay team. He can also run a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash.

"If he can get past the linebackers, he can go," Spoto coach Dale Caparaso said. "He's not going to make a lot of people miss, but he is the fastest I've coached since I've been here, and that's saying a lot."

Last season, Moate was primarily used on special teams at kicker and punter. He punted 10 times for 348 yards and had 30 kickoffs for 1,214 yards. He also returned seven kicks for 187 yards. Moate was a backup to former starting running back Danny Taylor last season, but this year, along with senior Tim Adam, will be expected to lead the rushing attack for an offense that averaged 177 rushing yards per game last season.

"I talked to Danny about it and he said just go full speed on every play," Moate said.

Caparaso said he will also use Moate (5-foot-11, 160 pounds) at receiver and try to get him the ball coming out of the backfield.

"He really put on a show in 7-on-7," Caparaso said. "We never knew he could catch the ball like that this summer. We're going to be able to throw to him more than we thought."

Defensively, Moate will play some at cornerback, a spot left open with the graduation of Nick Addison, now at Bethune-Cookman. Last season, Moate recorded 17 tackles. In practice, Moate defends senior receiver Geronimo Allison, a 6-foot-4 Division I prospect.

"I know all of the routes," Moate said. "I like being physical. Even though I have speed, I play them close."

Paired in a district that included 2010 Class 3A state champion Jefferson and district runner-up Lakewood, Spoto finished 6-4 last season and missed the playoffs for the second straight year. Moate said he's looking forward to trying to lead the Spartans back to the postseason, a place they haven't been since 2008.

"I've been waiting for this since my freshman year," he said. "I told (Caparaso) I wanted to play more and he told me to work harder. I came out on practice and I showed him what I can do."

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