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First final bow

The Hurricanes' first senior class is looking to go out with a bang - and a winning season.

By DEREK LaRIVIERE
Published August 25, 2006


SPRING HILL - The irony is amazing.

As Bishop McLaughlin's football program enters its first season with senior players, young men like starting quarterback Coleman Hengesbach prepare to conclude what seems like long careers.

The Hurricanes program is still in its infancy as it enters its second season of Class B, District 6 play. Hengesbach has led the team from under center since its inception three years ago.

Hengesbach is prepared to let it all hang out this season as he leads Bishop McLaughlin toward some lofty goals. After going 1-7 last season, Hengesbach was adamant the seniors have no excuses for 2006.

"We just want to win football games," Hengesbach said. "There aren't high expectations on us because of how old the program is, but all of us know it's our last chance. We want to experience a playoff game before we leave here."

The quarterback threw for more than 700 yards during the team's first varsity campaign, but that number is bound to rise with his onfield experience, off-field maturity and coach Jim Ceccarelli's ability to put the ball in his hands a little bit more.

The team unveiled a willingness to go to three- and four-wide receiver sets from the shotgun during its spring game against Hernando Christian Academy.

Hengesbach thrived when given the chance. He made one eye-opening play after another. He oozes the confidence a quarterback at any level must have.

"I like playing out of the spread because I know that the ball is in my hands," Hengesbach said.

"If I can keep my interceptions low, then we will always be competitive, and that's my job."

His athletic expertise has resided on the basketball court for most of his life, and when he decided to give football a chance three years ago, Ceccarelli saw some untapped potential.

"The strides that Coleman has made on the field are astounding," Ceccarelli said.

"He makes such good reads and has the rare ability to roll to his left as a right-handed quarterback."

Ceccarelli emphasized the run-pass balance when talking about offensive success this season.

When thinking about Hengesbach's opportunity for success, thoughts immediately point to running backs Cal Kuenzel and Rob Gallagher. That tandem's ability on the ground should be the top factor in determining how open Hengesbach's receivers will be.

"All of us seniors are so tight on and off the field," Gallagher said. "We have common goals when it comes to football, and we all trust that Coleman is the one who can lead us there."