St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Panthers have tasted success, want more

The school had its first winning season, but is in a tough district.

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 6, 2002


LECANTO -- Three days after Lecanto whipped Eustis to complete the Panthers' first winning season, coach Dick Slack was back at work and his players had returned to the weight room.

They had 2002 on their minds.

"Last year, we proved we could do it," Slack said. "This year, we want to continue building on that foundation. I think everybody knows the expectations have gone way up. ... We want to look at (last season) as our starting point."

In 2001, Lecanto ended a 17-year run of mediocrity (that's being generous) by going 6-4 -- 3-0 against Hernando County opponents. Highlights included the Panthers' 65-28 win at Hernando and their second-place finish in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference standings.

But that's all in the past.

Ever the optimist, Slack is confident Lecanto will ascend to an even higher level

"We finally got over the top," he said. "We don't have to worry about that anymore. Right now, the natural progression is getting into the playoffs."

It won't be easy.

The Panthers' district (Class 3A-3) is one of the most competitive in the region. Crystal River, Dunnellon and North Marion advanced to the playoffs in 2001 and have enough talent to do so again.

"There's very good football played in this district," Slack said.

Lecanto is not without its share of quality players.

The Panthers return eight starters on each side of the ball, including versatile seniors Jarvis Patterson and Phil Reed, who play multiple positions.

Patterson, who does most of his damage at running back, rushed for 1,141 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. He is expected to get 25-30 carries a game. Reed, the Panthers' emotional leader, starts at quarterback and splits time between linebacker and safety on defense.

The supporting cast is solid, too. Steven Brainaird, Nate Edwards, Casey Potts, Chris Reeves and Jimmy Sudlow anchor the offensive and defensive lines, Ron Curtis is a factor on the offensive line and at linebacker, and Bruce Emberley is a threat at receiver and defensive back.

"If we're going to be a force, the line is going to have to be the engine to drive this thing," Slack said.

Now the bad news: Because Lecanto lacks depth, it will have nine two-way starters.

"We feel very good one-deep," Slack said. "But we've got a lot of 48-minute kids. If we get a couple of kids hurt, we're in trouble."

PANTHERS PLAYBOOK

OFFENSE: Lecanto runs the Power-I, which features three running backs and one receiver. It's no secret what the Panthers like to do -- hammer an opposing team with the ground game. To keep defenses from stacking 11 players on the line, Lecanto mixes in an occasional pass. The Panthers' offensive line, led by Chris Reeves and Jimmy Sudlow, is solid. The backfield's top threat is senior Jarvis Patterson, a big, fast and powerful runner who will get the majority of the carries. He's more than capable of rushing for 150 yards a game. Quarterback Phil Reed is another good one. He's a physical presence and might be the area's best short-yardage runner. Reed also has a better-than-average arm.

DEFENSE: The Panthers' 4-4-3 alignment is designed to let linemen and linebackers make plays. What the line can't get to, the linebackers are expected to cover. When opposing teams face passing situations, Lecanto's linebackers are mobile enough to drop into coverage. The Panthers aren't particularly fast ("We have average speed," said Reed), but have strong, physical players who love to hit and take pride in mastering the fundamentals. Nate Edwards, Reeves and Sudlow anchor the front. The hard-hitting Reed plays linebacker and safety.

LECANTO PANTHERS

Back to Sports

Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

U.S. Open Tennis
  • Sampras whips the kid
  • First Hewitt-Agassi match was a stunner
  • Davenport and Mauresmo up against Williams wall

  • On the Net
  • Tennis sites top NFL in searches

  • Colleges
  • 'Canes' DBs face big test
  • State practice reports
  • Silence isn't golden for DTs
  • Loss leads to better days
  • Beavers cruise to victory
  • Around the Nation

  • Baseball
  • AL: A-Rod reaches 50 HRs in rout
  • NL: Four-run first helps Schilling get 22nd win
  • Baseball notebook
  • Streak is nice, but A's want division

  • Motorsports
  • Stewart nips Harvick for rare Truck victory

  • NFL
  • 49ers win season opener
  • Around the NFC
  • Around the AFC

  • Sports on TV, Radio
  • Fox trio of announcers paving way to top spot

  • Preps
  • Mitchell promotes JV coach
  • Bears open with victory
  • New Chiefs, same dreams
  • Why run when they can fly?

  • Etc.
  • In brief
  • UT ready to honor its best

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • NFL Football preview 2002
  • Light up the cannons and hold your ears
  • Gimme Five
  • Gruden's path littered with historic hurdles
  • League site gives fans what they want
  • Bucs by the numbers
  • Kiffin's in charge of the defense, as always
  • Bucs Q&A
  • What to bring and what to leave home
  • Dilger site knocked off-line by Sept. 11
  • NFL Q&A
  • New rules
  • NFC South capsules
  • Confidence still strong despite loss of talent
  • Saints notebook
  • Bucs coaches
  • Falcons Notebook
  • So fast, they're scary
  • Buccaneers defensive capsules
  • Buccaneers offensive capsules
  • The Florida Keys
  • 'I am making a guarantee'
  • Staff predictions
  • Buccaneers at a glance
  • Bucs: High Hopes
  • Coaching changes
  • On the road with the Bucs
  • Team by team breakdown
  • Dolphins: For the fans
  • No more excuses for Miami
  • New NFL stadiums
  • Jacksonville looking dim without its stars
  • Jaguars: For the fans
  • NFL: By the numbers
  • What they're saying about the Bucs
  • What they're saying about the Dolphins
  • What they're saying about the Dolphins
  • What's past is past for Panthers, unless you hang on for motivation
  • Panthers: Special teams must keep scoring points

  • Prep football preview 2002
  • 4A-6 DISTRICT PREVIEW: Defending champ faces tough road
  • Losing season doesn't sit well with Hawks
  • Team's continued rise depends on cohesion
  • Graduation forces Spongers to ''reload''
  • Barons look forward to tough schedule
  • New-look Warhawks boast lofty goals
  • New Pats coach plans plenty of changes
  • Devils welcome fresh cast of characters
  • 'Canes in playoffs? Not that far-fetched
  • Explosive Felton to carry Warriors' load
  • Small Mustangs must rely on experience
  • Harris looks to measure up in win column
  • Packers boast new weapon at quarterback
  • Loaded Spartans have talent to dominate
  • Crusaders hope to make success a habit
  • Numbers to give Eagles breathing room
  • Gladiators trying to stay more grounded
  • Eagles likely to finally get off the ground
  • Seniors have Falcons thinking playoffs
  • Rebels pinning hopes on healthy veterans
  • Cougars must surmount rugged district
  • Healthy Marauders pose playoff threat
  • Nucleus has Tornadoes primed to rebound
  • Pirates hope confidence is the difference
  • New coach looking to stretch the field
  • Big dreams without big heads
  • You've come a long way baby!
  • The small things come first for county's newest teams
  • Hillsborough distric outlook
  • From the editor:
  • Team's character, offense are focus
  • West Preview: Could this be the season the west finally fights back?
  • Veteran leadership strength of Cougars
  • This Cowboys coach promises to stay put
  • Don't be surprised by Indians this time
  • It's now or never for the Dragons
  • Potential for title run has Lions' attention
  • One loss motivates Tigers to improve
  • Leto's new offense, season hold promise
  • Reaves ready to put Panthers in spotlight
  • Rebuilding Raiders must grow up fast
  • It's Hicks' turn to carry load for Knights
  • New-look Titans plan to pass first
  • Too many veterans not to be optimistic
  • Crusaders continue rebuilding project
  • Wildcats begin to whisper about playoffs
  • Last season's woes strengthen Eagles
  • Ravens' growth will determine success
  • Last season's stars are tough to replace
  • Bucs want early wins then trip to playoffs
  • Nine-game skid shakes team's foundation
  • Bulls out to end trend of one-win seasons
  • Depth in trenches crucial for Eagles
  • Pasco County: For the fans
  • Playoff losses big motivation for Gators
  • The word little's a big deal for Mustangs
  • If Pirates can remain healthy, watch out
  • This season's schedule bound to have more surprises
  • New coach, offense give Rams new hope
  • Juniors out to resurrect Knights' success
  • Wildcats prepare for tougher challenges
  • Bulldogs are lacking in numbers, as usual
  • 10 Games to Watch: A week-by-week county primer
  • 10 Questions: Setting the record straight for 2002 ... sort of
  • Gators begin making big waves
  • National Signing Day will be a big deal this time around
  • Bucs sport a new look called the Spread-I
  • Conference race has new meaning
  • Offense has promise, defense a concern
  • Weightman to test reloading Hudson
  • New Bears coach is all about approach
  • Hernando: For the Fans
  • On the Net
  • Castillo, Leopards ready to break into open
  • Eagles to take field with winning feeling
  • Hernando County's college players to watch
  • Eagles in for rocky start, strong finish
  • Springstead ready to push Central
  • Scheme stays same but faces change
  • Panthers standout isn't very hard to find on field
  • Pirates bent on dismissing doubters, foes
  • Panthers have tasted success, want more
  • Buoyed by experience, athleticism
  • Tigers have playoff potential if they unite
  • A whole new offensive ballgame
  • Citrus County football from A to Z

  • Rays
  • Rays, Kennedy get swept away
  • Naimoli says deal should help sport
  • Nash to get out of jail
  • Up next: Rangers

  • Bucs
  • Productive Saints QB still looking for respect
  • Lightning forces players into garage


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts