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Barons can only show off
By JOHN C. COTEY
Published August 25, 2006
[Times photo: William Dunkley]
Purdue, Duke, Akron and Toledo, all Division I programs, are interested in Barons quarterback David Girardi.
ST. PETERSBURG - Barring a miracle on appeal, St. Petersburg Catholic's hopes for the county's first state title are dashed before the first ball is ever teed up.
With that in mind, coach Dan Mancuso said other goals will be the focus of 2006: Going 10-0 and showing off for college scouts.
And not necessarily in that order.
"It'd be nice to have a chance to go to the playoffs, but our goal here is to put kids in college," Mancuso said. "People think that that's not true, but it really is our goal here to help the kids move on."
The county's black sheep program has had other postseason bans to deal with, most recently in 2001 when quarterback Chris Davis and safety Mike Ross were the stars. Mancuso said he put nine kids in college that year, which made it a satisfying year.
Whether he can make it feel the same for his players this year might be his toughest coaching job yet.
GROUND GAME: Jock Sanders has an outstanding 2005 season, doing a little bit of everything. Sanders rushed for more than 1,000 yards, threw for 700 when filling in due to an injury and caught another 300 yards worth of passes.
This year, Mancuso believes the diminutive Sanders will do even better.
"He's older now, more mature and we have a fullback who will help him by opening holes," he said.
That fullback is 5-10, 210 pound Jaboki Wheeler. Last year, then-freshman Darris Bellamy shared the backfield with Sanders. Mancuso had to split carries and said Bellamy wasn't a particularly good blocker, so Sanders should see better results.
One of the biggest offensive lines in the county won't hurt either. Senior tackle Elvis Fisher (6-6, 315) is being recruited by a slew of Division I-A schools and could be the county's most sought-after player. He'll line up with senior center Devin Turner (6-3, 300), sophomore tackle Jon Hapalino (6-4, 285) and guards Zach Pridham (a 6-2, 290-pound senior) and Adam Condron (a 6-2, 260-pound junior).
THROUGH THE AIR: Senior David Girardi (6-3, 180) led all returning quarterbacks in yardage last year, and is drawing the interest of Purdue, Duke, Akron and Toledo. He'll be throwing to another potential Division I-A recruit, Andrew Harris, a 6-3, 190-pound senior and Darrin Hess, both of whom had good years in '05.
DEFENSE! DEFENSE!: SPC may not even need it with the way the offense is expected to explode this year. But if they do, they'll rely on defensive ends Shawn Micholson and Noah Huges (and fill in the middle with any combination of their big O-linemen), linebackers Will Johnson, Mitch Pettit, and A.J. Butler, and defensive backs Courtney Feazell (a Lakewood transfer who started at running back last year), Donald Warren, Nick Hess and Jay Trotter.
JUST FOR KICKS: Brian Meehan will do the placekicking. Girardi will punt.