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Pirates hope confidence is the difference

More veterans and a win in the spring game bolster Bogie.

By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2002


More veterans and a win in the spring game bolster Bogie.

GULFPORT -- Jean Gordon doesn't want a repeat of last season, and the coach is not talking just about Boca Ciega's 2-8 record.

He's talking about injuries. The Pirates lost a key defensive starter in the preseason game and their starting running back in the regular-season opener.

"We had three seniors, and two get hurt right away," Gordon said. "We ended up putting a couple of young guys in there. It was ugly, it was long. I felt like I was in KinderCare."

Gordon hoped for a 5-5 season, maybe 4-6. The Pirates won once and got another win via forfeit by Gibbs.

This year, he again is hoping his team can reach .500. The Pirates posted a 22-6 victory over Sarasota in the spring game, a result Gordon doesn't want his players reading too much in to. But there's no denying the positive effect it has had.

"That's my job, to keep things good enough for them to have some confidence," Gordon said.

THROUGH THE AIR: Starting quarterback Jimmy Connors, a senior, returns. Gordon said Connors worked harder than he ever has this summer and is throwing the ball better.

His top targets will be a pair of seniors: Marcus Ferguson and Carl Berman. Ferguson, at 6 feet 1, 180 pounds, is the more physical of the two. Berman, only 5-9, had a great spring game with more than 100 yards receiving.

ON THE GROUND: Darryl Wilson stepped in and did a good job after Ricky Williams was hurt on last season's opening play. Ralston Garvey got on-the-job training as well, and along with Mike Harrington, the Pirates have a senior-filled backfield that Gordon is high on.

Gordon also has the luxury of two seniors on his offensive line, with center Ryan Daignault (5-10, 255) and guard Larry Lindsey (6-2, 265). The rest of the positions are up for grabs, he said.

DEFENSE: The Pirates are still a little thin numbers-wise, so many of the offensive players will pull double duty. Some of those that won't are defensive end Kevan Hanson, who had a sack and a handful of pressures in the spring game.

Lajuan Harrell, a defensive tackle, is back after missing last season with an injury. Garvey will also see time on the line.

At linebacker, Gordon said he probably will rotate a group of six players, including Harrington, until a few grab starting jobs, but called it a "good mix."

Berman and Ferguson will play defensive back.

JUST FOR KICKS: Brandon Abbaspour is solid and will punt and placekick.

BOCA CIEGA

AT A GLANCE

COACH: Jean Gordon (ninth season, 28-52).

ASSISTANTS: Ken Crawford, Paul Hanson, Ed Henia, Pete Snider, Shane Wheeler and Ralph Young.

COLORS: Blue, gold and white.

STADIUM: Beauchamp Stadium, 924 58th St. S., Gulfport.

CLASS: 5A, District 8.

PLAYOFF HISTORY: 1971, 1986, 1992.

LAST APPEARANCE: Lost to Lakeland Kathleen 6-0.

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