St. Petersburg Times

[Times photo: Kinfay Moroti]
Countryside High School quarterback Harrison Beck.

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Summer camps become a must for top recruits
Lakewood receiver Louis Murphy traveled nearly 1,200 miles this summer with his parents in the family BMW to go to football camps.
Contributions of correspondents often prove priceless
When it comes to covering prep sports, the newspaper relies heavily on correspondents.
For the fans
Post-season schedules and more...
Suncoast football districts
A look at districts around Tampa Bay...

The buzz about Beck
A virtual unknown a year ago, Countryside's quarterback has pushed his way into the elite of the nation's college prospects.
Picks for Pinellas
The favorites amoung public and private schools.
Returning stars give Falcons big hopes
DUNEDIN - Dunedin coach Mark Everett watched replays of the state final between Lake Gibson and Armwood and started to think about what might have been.
Viking to run, run, then run some more
Northeast's Wing-T attack is predicated on balance.
Future arrives with playoffs in mind
PALM HARBOR - Gut-wrenching 1-9 seasons in 2001 and '02 taught Mike June a lot about disappointment.
Don't call Green Devils pushovers
ST. PETERSBURG - Enough is enough.
Eagles seek better start, similar end
EAST LAKE - Bob Hudson's first season as coach did not have an auspicious beginning.
Barons' hopes rest on QB Tapp
Countryside coach John Davis, considered a pretty good authority on high school quarterbacks, watched Billy Tapp rip his secondary for 306 yards and three TDs - in only three quarters - and afterward declared the St. Petersburg Catholic senior had arrived.
Eagles stay positive despite losses
LARGO - By changing the offense and the mind-set of his players, Indian Rocks Christian coach Chris Westerfield helped the program gain respect last season.
Blue Jackets have replacements ready
ST. PETERSBURG - Chris Ah Leong takes over as coach at Admiral Farragut this season, but this is not a rebuilding year.
Cougars' offensive linemen bulk up
CLEARWATER - Harrison Beck went home after last season's region final loss to Armwood and struggled to make it up a flight of stairs.
Crusaders take load off quarterback
ST. PETERSBURG - Keswick Christian coach Rick Samson said he hopes to be "in the running" with the big three district opponents: Shorecrest, Admiral Farragut and Berkeley Prep.
Increased talent has Rebels confident
ST. PETERSBURG - An assistant coach at Dixie Hollins during the mid 1990s, Mike Morey can remember coaching players other schools could only dream about.
Gladiators hope experience helps QB
As a sophomore, he was as promising a quarterback as Pinellas County had. Tall, athletic and strong-armed, Gibbs' Josh McKinnon needed only time.
It can't get much worse for Spartans
ST. PETERSBURG - The good news for Lakewood this season is almost everyone returns.
Marauders enter with few concerns
CLEARWATER - Mike Jalazo doesn't have the problems of other coaches. He is not feverishly trying to fill positions, not placing kids in spots out of desperation or roaming the halls at Clearwater Central Catholic begging for players.
Talented QB gives Pirates high hopes
GULFPORT - Boca Ciega coach Jean Gordon will never be compared with, say, run-and-shoot inventor Mouse Davis. But to hear him talk about promising quarterback Terrell Skinner and a deep and talented group of wide receivers, there's always time for a conversion.
Mustangs can't sneak up on anyone
ST. PETERSBURG - It was one of the biggest turnarounds in recent prep football history. Northside Christian was 2-8 in 2002, the worst of coach Bob Dare's 15 seasons. The offense was dreadfully overmatched in most games. The future looked bleak.
Young talent gets best chance now
ST. PETERSBURG - Shorecrest coach Phil Hayford cringed as he roamed the sideline during the spring game against Daytona Beach Warner Christian.
Offensive line holds key for Warhawks
SEMINOLE - Building his team from the inside out, Seminole coach Sam Roper has relied on big, powerful offensive linemen to push it to the forefront of the county.
Packers turn star into two-way threat
LARGO - With a small roster, Largo coach Rick Rodriguez knew he would have to be creative in filling holes left by graduation.
Spongers keep it slower and simple
TARPON SPRINGS - Tarpon Springs has produced some of the most flamboyant players in county history, most recently standouts such as Atif Austin and Roshawn Marshall.
Patriots to test airborne attack
Luke Kademoff has offensive lineman written all over him. He looks like one, thinks like one, and used to be one.
Warriors to have several new starters
SEMINOLE - When it comes to rebuilding jobs, Osceola coach George Palmer might have no peers this season.
Warriors' offense needs to improve
CLEARWATER - "We may not be at the (Clearwater) Central Catholic level or the St. Pete Catholic level," Calvary Christian's first-year coach, Dave Compton, said. "But we can surprise some people."

The man behind the trophy
Football players and coaches in Hillsborough County are well aware of the prestige that comes along with the Guy Toph Award, but few know of the man who created, or the history behind, the award.
Guy Toph winners - where are they now?
The newspaper clippings, many saved in a photo album by Guy Toph's wife, Marjorie, are fascinating. Year after year, the yellowed articles honor the names of boys who accepted the Guy Toph Award. Even better are the pictures - checkered polyester pants, afros, bellbottoms, wing-tipped eyeglasses.
Great expectations greet Dragons
TAMPA - Jefferson coach Mike Simmonds always has his eye on the future.
No longer a sleeper opponent
Corey Brinson spoke before last year about the possibility of Bloomingdale having a .500 season. Sure, it was a modest goal, but few in the area football community took the first-year coach seriously, considering Brinson was inheriting a Bloomingdale team that had gone 1-19 over the previous two seasons.
Gryphons reach for new heights
TAMPA - Nothing could have prepared Sickles for this season better than coach Jim Leavitt's football camp at the University of South Florida. For three days, the Gryphons attended two practice sessions a day, at two hours each, on USF's practice fields.
Cowboys ready for turnaround
TAMPA - Entering his third season as coach of the Cowboys, Mark Kantor is coming off consecutive 4-6 records.
Depth is an issue for the Chiefs
TAMPA - Chamberlain coach Billy Turner found himself looking at a completely different team when the first day of fall practice began.
Standout QB propels Sharks
RIVERVIEW - Riverview has a run-first offense, much like most teams in the area. But unlike most teams, the Sharks feature a legitimate blue-chip prospect at quarterback.
Extra conditioning renews Eagles
BRANDON - As the season rapidly approached, Jim Wilt was aware of the daunting task ahead of him.
Diversity is key for Lions
TAMPA - King opened the 2003 season thinking it would see the return of tailback sensation Ray Neal. When that didn't materialize because of Neal's off-field legal problems, the Lions limped to a disappointing 2-8 record.
Eagles' strength lies in fitness
TAMPA - Coach Steve Lewis' teams rarely consist of the biggest or most experienced players.
Falcons search for r-e-s-p-e-c-t
TAMPA - After Leto ended last season by falling to Gaither for the Falcons' ninth loss, first-year coach Jerrell Cogmon had seen enough. That Friday night he gathered his team for a meeting and scheduled conditioning to begin on Monday.
It's all in the attitude for Knights
TAMPA - Robinson had quite a season in 2003. Rebounding from a 2-8 record, first-year coach Mike De Pue led the Knights to a 9-3 mark, a spot in the playoffs and was chosen coach of the year in Hillsborough County.
Wolves eye improvement
VALRICO - Newsome coach Floyd Graham said the good news about his team this season is it has 22 starters back. But, in their second season, the Wolves have a tough schedule.
Tough road ahead for the Crusaders
TAMPA - The future of Tampa Catholic football is bright.
Steady does it for the Tigers
TAMPA - Change was everywhere a year ago at Jesuit.
Fresh faces drive the Titans
TAMPA - Under third-year coach Mike Bradley, Tampa Bay Tech continues to rebuild with a roster of young, but skilled, players.
Success from start to finish?
TAMPA - Coming off a state championship run in 2002, Wharton's Melvin Cunningham knew what the expectations were for his first season as coach of the Wildcats.
Lancers start on firmer ground
TAMPA - It's fair to say there were expectations at Cambridge last year when the Lancers' first football season began.
Rivals, titles on minds of Terriers
TAMPA - Coach Earl Garcia passed the century mark in victories last season, but he probably would have traded that honor for a playoff victory over Durant.
Better things ahead for Hawks?
SEFFNER - Is it possible for Armwood to improve on last season?
Indians place faith in sophomore QB
GIBSONTON - The seed was planted in East Bay coach Brian Thornton's mind late last season.
Third year the charm for Tigers?
TAMPA - The term "moral victory" isn't a favorite among coaches, but it fits Middleton's game against Chamberlain last year. The second-year Tigers gained 100 more yards than the Chiefs, who were on the way to their fifth straight playoff berth. But Chamberlain won 17-6 and Middleton, at 1-3, appeared on its way to a disappointing season.
New tests for untried Cougars D
DURANT - For the Cougars, improving on or even matching last season's 12-2 record will be tough.
Repetition is starting to sting
TAMPA - Coach Ricky Reynolds can relate to Bill Murray's role in the movie Groundhog Day. But instead of repeating the same day, Blake repeats the same record.
Patriots full of confidence
TAMPA - Entering their second season of varsity play, the Patriots feature little history and few seasoned veterans, but their attitude is as brash as one might find at a football powerhouse like Jefferson.
Panthers' progress on schedule
TAMPA - The task was simple for new Plant coach Bob Weiner when he arrived at Dads Stadium for the first day of practice: Install a new offense, new defense and rejuvenate the special teams.
Raiders in an offensive state of mind
PLANT CITY - With most of its offensive players back and a solid plan, the Raiders may have the formula to return to prominence and restore their winning tradition this season.
Ravens look for repeat performance
TAMPA - Coach Mike Heldt took Alonso from a 2-8 season in 2002 to an 8-2 record last season as the Ravens reached the playoffs in only their third year.

The prophecies of Jamaladamus
The all-seeing, all-knowing, always-there-by-the-second-quarter prophet of Pasco County football is the great Jamaladamus, mysterious oracle of the gridiron (and in the spring, track).
3A-9 primer
4A-7 primer
Gators go back to basics
After enjoying the talent of some flashy offensive performers in recent years, Land O'Lakes fans may see a more straightforward attack this season.
Grit and grin
It takes a certain kind of personality to enjoy the pounding a lineman takes day in and day out.
History is a hill to climb
The Cobras have little to fall back on except the hope that a new coach will usher in a new tradition.
Choice is clear for best ever
NFL lineman and Zephyrhills grad Ryan Pickett has solidified his place in county history.
The rest of the best
Former Zephyrhills' great Ryan Pickett was the unanimous No. 1 choice as the greatest lineman in Pasco County. The rest? Well, let's just say there was some disagreement among county experts. So in the interests of bipartisanship here's the best of the rest (ranked by their senior year):
O-line give Harris room to run
As a sophomore, Jason Harris ran for 912 yards.
On the line: Blaise Simon
"Every single play, you're in the middle of the action, you're always hitting somebody."
On the line: Danny Tolley
"(I love) eating linebackers' faces."
On the line: Gary Smith
"It's the best position to be playing on the field, because you get to be mean and nasty."
On the line: John Walsh
"I love the feeling, the adrenaline of pancaking someone, just the rush it gives you when you know you made someone go into the ground."
On the line: Justin Brown
"I just love being in that 3-yard box and being able to do whatever you want. It's just pure blood and guts."
On the line: Khalil Madani
"I don't think you could convince me that scoring a touchdown is better than the feeling of knowing the play is coming right behind you."
On the line: Mike Toncich
"We don't get any fame or anything. But we know when a running back scores a touchdown it's because of our hard work."
On the line: Ross Hughes
"I like it because it's rough, it's in your face. These little backs catching balls, it's not for me."
On the line: Tony Fiscarelli
"When I was younger I used to have an anger problem. Playing football is how I get my anger out."
On the line: Zach Johnson
"I don't like pass blocking. But I like pulling and going to hit some guy who doesn't see it coming."
One on one: Anthony Rawson
Playing quarterback for Wesley Chapel coach John "Wing-T" Castelamare might get a little boring, what with handing the ball off all the time. But senior Anthony Rawson managed to throw for 1,239 yards last year. Now fully recovered from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, the 5-foot-11, 198-pound senior goes one-on-one with staff writer Jamal Thalji.
One on one: Mike Galizia
After two nondescript junior varsity seasons, Ridgewood's Mike Galizia made a name for himself by leading the county with 1,190 rushing yards. But for the senior tailback, it was a bittersweet season considering the Rams' 0-10 record. Galizia, who plans to run over - not so much around - defenders, did not run over staff writer Steve Lee. But they did go one-on-one.
One on one: Nathan Toole
There aren't many specimens in Pasco County like Nathan Toole. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Hudson running back/linebacker can bench 360 pounds and deadlift 500, and ran for 882 yards and scored five touchdowns last season. Now the senior goes one-on-one with staff writer Jamal Thalji.
One on one: Ray Sousa
Ray Sousa is getting his act together. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound senior was ineligible his sophomore and junior years at Ridgewood. But he has worked hard to get eligible, moved into the Gulf zone and will play outside linebacker/running back for the Bucs. Now he goes one-on-one with staff writer Jamal Thalji.
One on one: Scott Mays
A ferocious tackler and fierce competitor, Land O'Lakes fullback/linebacker Scott Mays was the county's leading tackler last season and named the Times Defensive Player of the Year. Going one-on-one with staff writer Steve Lee, Mays says it all comes down to how bad he wants to win. Er, that would be real bad.
Rams look for pendulum swing
A winless season came on the heels of a playoff appearance. So is another turnaround in the future?
Bishop McLaughlin starting its first steps toward varsity
The program plays a JV schedule this season, its first in competition.
Bulldogs unusually untested
The program's plan of development is out the window for coach Tom Fisher, leaving prospects unsettled.
More stunners in store?
The Buccaneers were downtrodden mo more in 2003 and return enough talent to inspire optimism for this season - and next, too.
Sunshine Athletic Conference primer
LAST SEASON: The main event was Land O'Lakes-versus-anybody. Pasco, Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills all scored wins over Drew Weatherford's Gators, often playing with more passion and fire against Land O'Lakes than each other in district play. But by season's end it was Land O'Lakes that reached the region semifinal playoffs; Wesley Chapel, Mitchell and Pasco were all trounced in the first round. Gulf was the SAC's biggest surprise, going 5-5 in the school's first non-losing season in a decade.
Third year was the charm yet again
Centennial joined the county's elite, marking consecutive times a third-year program did so.
Tradition leads to expectations
The Wildcats have been impressive in the regular season, but look to solve the playoff riddle.
Mustangs think time is right
Coming off back-to-back playoff appearances (both in losing seasons) Mitchell figures it's their season to get more.
Overturning close losses is priority
The Royal Knights need to overcome a lack of experience and a lingering disappointment after last season's veteran squad went 3-7.
Pasco teams at a glance
Pirates chart new course
There is a lot of athleticism but the question is, will Pasco come together in coach Dale Caparaso's second season?

Finding home behind center
James Thomas might give up defense to be Hernando's quarterback.
By the book
Lecanto's Bob LeCours goes by the book - a 200-page playbook, that is. He hopes it's the start of showing a losing team how to win.
By necessity, it's all new to them
The first-year program will rely on a few transfers and a well of enthusiam to get off the ground this season.
A second start
BROOKSVILLE - Where an empty field once stood, there is a stadium.
Wald lets his team in on his thoughts
The Springstead senior quarterback is a vocal leader, lending both admonishment and encouragement to his offense.
Central's Owen mobile in more ways than one
The junior has moved all over the field and now will see time at fullback and linebacker.
Leopards look to ease losses
An off year on the field was followed by a coaching change and some prominent players transferring.
New team graded on the curve
Expectations are realistic for the Lions, who play a slate full of Class A and 2A schools.
Small group, big dreams
BROOKSVILLE - For his senior season, Britt Tafalski had other options besides this.
Skill meets experience
The top ballhandlers fo the Eagles are known quantities
System's a go in third year
Coach John Wilkinson has integrated his methods into his team, which seeks its first playoff victory.

'Canes confident after slow spring
The new system under coach Rik Haines took some getting used to, but now the players are ready to go.
Tigers keep momentum, tradition going
DUNNELLON - Things were lean when Perry Brown came to Dunnellon from Pasco in 1996. The once-proud program had not posted a winning season since 1985 and many longed for the days of the 1978-79 state championship squads.
Tightening the reins
Crystal River's Craig Frederick is a take-charge kind of coach and isn't afraid to let his players know it.
A new tradition
Rik Haines brings dedication, family tradition and vast experience on all levels to the Hurricanes.
Pirates laden with questions
New coach Craig Frederick needs to replace almost all of the players that led the team to three playoff appearances the past four seasons.
Raiders seek eighth consecutive postseason appearance
BUSHNELL - Expectations are high around here.
Task is to erase, then make history
A new coach tries to establish a winning attitude at a school with one winning season in 21.
Panther junior is multi-dimensional
Richard Chaney has done damage as a halfback and returner and looks for more chances.

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