Reaves ready to put Panthers in spotlight
[Times photo 2001: Thomas M. Goethe]
|Stephen Reaves, a senior, takes over as the Panthers quarterback this season and is listed as one of the top 100 recruits in Florida by rivals.com.
By EMILY NIPPS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 6, 2002
The senior quarterback will get help from a sizeable offensive line and perhaps the best defense the team has had in years.
TAMPA -- Watching what teammate Mike Williams went through last year -- the recruiters, the accolades, the attention -- Plant quarterback Stephen Reaves can't believe it's happening to him.
So maybe he isn't touted as the best of the best, but he is expected be the county's best quarterback this season. The 6-foot-1 senior was listed as one of Florida's top 100 recruits by rivals.com, a recruiting Web site, and the Panthers are excited to have him as their leader.
But even growing up in a sports-crazy family, imagining being in the spotlight since he was a little boy, none of it was enough to prepare him for the recruiters, the accolades and the attention.
"It's mind-blowing," Reaves said. "I'm thinking, I can't believe these colleges are looking at me."
For a moment -- a full season, actually -- Reaves hopes to put his college dreams to sleep while he focuses on getting Plant to the playoffs. The Panthers went 5-5, and this season they want to be better than so-so.
"Our offense needs a leader, and Stephen Reaves is that leader," Plant coach Darlee Nelson said.
"I feel really good about this team, and Stephen is the starting point."
Reaves welcomes the responsibility.
"I've got three coaches always yelling at me on the sidelines," he said. "I like how the ball is always in my hands. If we win, I feel like it's because of me. And if we lose, I feel like it's my fault."
THROUGH THE AIR: There's no ambivalence here: Reaves is the No. 1 guy, and he is crucial to Plant's success. He is the top county quarterback of 2002, and spent the summer developing his accuracy. He has got his work cut out for him with the range of options he'll have at receiver: Quinton Williams, Graham Clark, Corey Brown and Tavaris Grant will all play roles.
ON THE GROUND: The key to the Panthers' ground game is its line, which returns as one of the largest in Panthers history.
The relatively young linemen lack the experience of last season's group, but are an eager bunch. They stick together on and off the field and are looking for the chance to reach their potential together.
Left guard Alex Maldonado spent much of last season injured, but should come back healthy and strong. Two-year starter Chris Allen brings his wisdom, and left tackle Chaz Weissing brings 280 pounds, though he has got a bit to learn.
DEFENSE: Nelson said the Panthers are "better defensively than ever," perhaps the best Plant defense he has coached. This is saying a lot for a guy who has been at the helm since 1998.
Senior linebacker Barrett Scruggs is expected to be one of the best in the county, and Tampa Catholic transfer Kyle Pupello brings strength to the middle. Cornerback Wayne Lawton and safety Eric Pelaez top the secondary, and Clark should also shine at safety..
THE BIG GAME: Jefferson, Sept. 27.
Like most of Jefferson's opponents, the Panthers can't wait to get their hands on the Dragons. It's the "ultimate task," according to Reaves, and it's a district game.
- COACH: Darlee Nelson (fifth season, 18-23; 20th season overall, 108-93).
- ASSISTANTS: Darryl Gordon, Allen Johnson, Michael McWilliams, John Rutledge and Al Smith.
- COLORS: Black and gold.
- STADIUM: Dads Stadium, 2415 S Himes Ave., Tampa.
- CLASS: 4A, District 8.
- PLAYOFF HISTORY: 1965, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1999.
- LAST APPEARANCE: Lost to Clearwater 28-3.
Introducing QB Stephen Reaves
|Birthday: Dec. 5, 1984
Birth weight: 7 pounds, 8 ounces
Birthplace: Womens Hospital, Tampa
Current weight: 182 pounds
Current height: 6 feet 2
In the genes: Stephens dad, John, was a star quarterback at Robinson, the University of Florida and several professional teams.
Multiple sports: Stephen played football, baseball and basketball, but during the past few years has given them all up except football.
Eat your vegetables: Stephens grandmother always told him to eat his broccoli, but he hated it. So I used to stick the broccoli in the plants and cover it up and tell her that I ate it, he said.
Back to Sports
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
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
'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
AL: A-Rod reaches 50 HRs in rout
NL: Four-run first helps Schilling get 22nd win
Streak is nice, but A's want division
Stewart nips Harvick for rare Truck victory
49ers win season opener
Around the NFC
Around the AFC
Sports on TV, Radio
Fox trio of announcers paving way to top spot
Mitchell promotes JV coach
Bears open with victory
New Chiefs, same dreams
Why run when they can fly?
UT ready to honor its best
Daily fishing report
NFL Football preview 2002
Light up the cannons and hold your ears
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
What to bring and what to leave home
Dilger site knocked off-line by Sept. 11
NFC South capsules
Confidence still strong despite loss of talent
So fast, they're scary
Buccaneers defensive capsules
Buccaneers offensive capsules
The Florida Keys
'I am making a guarantee'
Buccaneers at a glance
Bucs: High Hopes
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
RaysRays, Kennedy get swept away
Naimoli says deal should help sport
Nash to get out of jail
Up next: Rangers
BucsProductive 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