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One half can prove a whole lot

Tonight's jamboree at Dunedin doesn't count for anything, except for coaches and players trying to see how far they've come.

By JOHN SCHWARB, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 30, 2002


Watching their teams play just one half of good football next Friday probably would drive coaches crazy. Tonight at Dunedin, however, it's plenty.

In a jamboree, it's all they get anyway.

"We can get a lot accomplished in a half," Dunedin coach Mark Everett said. "That's enough to get momentum for next week."

Six teams play one half starting at 7 p.m. They are looking to put a cap on August's practices and iron out kinks before the Sept. 6 openers.

The matchups are intriguing, with Tarpon Springs and Palm Harbor U. leading off, followed by Lakewood against East Lake and Gibbs against Dunedin.

At Tarpon it has been a preseason of new faces, as 20 starters were lost from last season's 8-3 playoff team. Nearly every position has been up for grabs since spring practices.

"We want to see if the 22 that we've got in place are the 22 we need," coach Don Davis said. "And it's a chance to hit somebody different for once. We've been beating on each other for three and a half weeks.

"We need to see if we can do that to other teams."

The Spongers' opponent, PHU, needs to see if it can score on another team. The Hurricanes offense was the worst among county public schools with 5.3 points a game last season, and Dunedin beat PHU 34-0 in the spring.

PHU coach Mike June has had a quarterback battle this month between Scott Cahoon and Mike Kampel, and both may see action tonight.

The host Falcons could not have been more impressive in that spring game, but they know the caliber of opponent will be greater in tonight's jamboree.

Gibbs, with former quarterback Ron Mathis and a loaded offense, beat Dunedin 36-16 and 62-13 in the regular season the past two seasons

"They've shellacked us," Everett said. "We saw them run a lot in the spring (game), but you always suppose they'll go back to the run-and-shoot."

Dunedin returns to an option-based offense, which it abandoned last season. Quarterback Aaron Ford proved he could run it in the spring, rushing seven times for 82 yards and throwing for a touchdown.

"I feel like it is extremely ready to go," Everett said of the offense. "We'll hang our hat on it until we have a reason not to."

In the second jamboree game, East Lake may have the toughest assignment with Lakewood, a popular preseason choice as the county's top team.

The Spartans earned such billing because of highly touted quarterback Pat Carter and a number of other weapons, but the Eagles showed a potent offense in the spring with a 22-6 win at Largo.

"We played pretty good in the spring. I think we're going to match up pretty well," East Lake coach Tom Keeler said. "It's just important to play a sound game, go back and say we got this going and that going.

"In the spring it's a lot different. You can lose by 50 points and you still have all summer to recoup. In this game you want to keep it close."

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