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Harris looks to measure up in win column

Gaudy stats aside, the Viking quarterback focuses on team goals.

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2002


Gaudy stats aside, the Viking quarterback focuses on team goals.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Josh Harris has grown in inches and pounds during the offseason, but as a quarterback, he wants to be measured in wins.

"This is my last year and I want to go out right," said the 6-foot-3 Harris, who hit the weight room this summer and added muscle to his 195-pound frame. "I want to win every game."

Harris has gone from a player who was unknown and unsure of his abilities, to a quicker, stronger athlete who threw for 1,441 yards as junior last season and led Northeast to the region semifinal.

"Josh has done a good job and has worked to become better," coach Jerry Austin said. "He's definitely a kid who will be playing college football next year."

These days, when Harris walks onto the field, he draws stares from the crowd, fear from opponents and interest from nearly every Division I college. With most of his receivers returning, he will have the chance to lead Northeast back into the playoffs.

THROUGH THE AIR: Harris will play ringmaster to an aerial circus that includes two of the top returning receivers in the county, flanker Dominique Flower and tight end Ryan Ross. Both averaged more than 24 yards per catch last season. Split end Dontae Poole is an added target.

ON THE GROUND: Aside from Harris, the backfield will be new. Bo Washington, last year's leading rusher, graduated. Earnest Fields, a senior, will get some of the carries, as will Sherman Clemons, a 5-foot-7 dynamo who moves up from junior varsity. Tommy Herr and Richard Evans anchor an offensive line. DEFENSE: The Vikings still have some playmakers from a unit that ranked second in the county in yards allowed and third in points given up. Herr and Evans form a strong duo at linebacker and Flower, Clifford Bragg and Sammy Edwards provide coverage in the secondary.

JUST FOR KICKS: Kelly Dewitt, who kicked five field goals and 39 extra points last season, returns. Asmir Pervan will do the punting.

NORTHEAST

AT A GLANCE

COACH: Jerry Austin (24th season, 170-78).

ASSISTANTS: Jay Austin, Shawn Austin, Bob Celeste, Jim Cornillaud, Brian Goldych, Roman Johnson and Todd Weber.

COLORS: Red and white.

STADIUM: John Sexton Stadium, 1717 54th Ave. N., St. Petersburg.

CLASS: 5A, District 8.

PLAYOFF HISTORY: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001.

LAST APPEARANCE: Beat East Lake 28-0; lost to Naples 58-28.

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