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

printer version

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

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, 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.


Introducing QB Stephen Reaves
photoBirthday: Dec. 5, 1984
Birth weight: 7 pounds, 8 ounces
Birthplace: Women’s Hospital, Tampa
Current weight: 182 pounds
Current height: 6 feet 2
In the genes: Stephen’s 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: Stephen’s 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

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