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Offense has promise, defense a concern

Cobras have depth in backfield, but stopping foes is another matter.

By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 6, 2002


HUDSON -- The Cobras often have relied on a premier rusher, who, after countless beatings playing for yet another losing team, is physically and emotionally spent by season's end.

If you ask coach Terry Voyles, those days are over. With a slew of running backs and receivers vying for touches, Hudson has more weapons than ever.

"Truthfully, I see us having a little more offense than in the past," Voyles said. "For the first time I've got depth in the backfield. And I don't think we're going to be scared to put the ball in the air."

Fullback Kenny Eva, who ran for 401 yards and scored four touchdowns last year, should be the Cobras' leading rusher.

Returning quarterback Josh Bunting has plenty of options from a group that includes Shannon Eva, Travis Miller, Tommy Snow, Nathan Toole, Drew Woodall and Brian Kirby. Tight ends Jesse Jordan and Mark Baker are also in the mix.

Walter Truzack, an all-county lineman, and Jimmy Schumacher lead the blocking, but depth is a problem and the offensive line will struggle at times.

While the offense has the potential to improve on last year's 139 points, Voyles is not as optimistic about the defense.

"How good we're going to be is how good our defense is going to be," Voyles said. "They have to keep us in games."

Former coach Ernie Pollock, now the defensive coordinator, agreed: "At every level of football, the defense wins games."

Schumacher and Truzack are the best linebackers and Bunting will see time at defensive back. That trio gives the defense leaders, Pollock said, adding that the Cobras' biggest holes are on the line and in the secondary.

The Cobras are set at special teams with Kenny Eva, who averages about 40 yards punting, and Tim Cook as the kicker. Shannon Eva is the primary return man.

Unlike the county's other teams, Hudson will only play nine games due to a scheduling quirk.

A Sept. 13 matchup against Colorado Class 4A state champion ThunderRidge at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex was canceled after organizers rescheduled the game for Aug. 30.

"It's good news and it's bad news," Voyles said. "We lose a game, but we don't have to play the state champions of Colorado."

With one less game, Voyles predicted it would be tough to match last season's four wins.

"We had some luck on our side last year," he said. "If we're as lucky, we could match it."

Voyles feels his team is "faster, stronger" than last year's, but lacks depth, most notably on the offensive line.

COBRAS PLAYBOOK

OFFENSE: Coach Terry Voyles' Wing-T scheme has ample weapons this year. Though fullback Kenny Eva is expected to take the most handoffs from quarterback Josh Bunting, a slew of running backs and receivers will shuttle in and out of the lineup. That list includes Shannon Eva, Travis Miller, Tommy Snow, Nathan Toole, Drew Woodall and Brian Kirby. The Cobras' bread-and-butter play is Lead Right. Bunting spins to his left, fakes a pitch to Shannon Eva swinging wide from left to right, and hands off to Kenny Eva, who follows Toole's blocking between the guard and tackle.

DEFENSE: In the Cobras' 3-4 defense, nose tackle Jimmy Schumacher centers a line that includes interchangeable parts in Justin Brown, Matt Quinn, Brad King and John Caruso. Schumacher and Walter Truzack, an inside linebacker, are key offensive linemen, so they will need an occasional rest. Other linebackers in this scheme are Jesse Jordan, Ryan Jones, Kevin Tomecsek and Mike Meares. The secondary is solid and deep with the Eva brothers, Toole, Snow, Miller, and even Bunting in the back.

HUDSON COBRAS

Directions

COBRA STADIUM: 14410 Cobra Way, Hudson. From the west, take U.S. 19 to S.R. 52, turn east. Travel 6 miles to Hicks Road and turn north, travel 2.5 miles to Hudson Avenue and turn east. Cobra Way is ahead on the left. From the east, take U.S. 41 or Interstate 75 to S.R. 52, turn west and travel 8 to 13 miles to Hicks Road and follow above directions.

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