Forging a new path

Published August 25, 2006

SEMINOLE - For years, Seminole was a model of stability.

As other schools changed coaches, styles, schemes, there were the Warhawks, suffocating opponents with their punishing Wing-T attack.

Now, Seminole is shucking its roots and taking to the air.

In the spring game, quarterback Tyler Bradley was 7-of-7 for 88 yards, helping the Warhawks beat St. Petersburg.

"We're not going to go crazy throwing the ball," coach Sam Roper said. "But we want to try to open it up a little more."

The new look came out of necessity. Seminole was counting on having Greg Harvey and Antonio Patterson in the backfield, but both transferred to Largo.

"We just were not as prepared to run the ball in the spring," Roper said.

Seminole will continue to use old-school principles such as limiting turnovers, running the ball and letting the defense win games.

But the offense will now be more formidable, thanks to a controlled aerial attack that can complement its running game.

ON THE GROUND: The tailback position, once well-stocked, was thin in the spring. Lyndon Rowells, a second-team, all-county selection last season, graduated. The loss of Harvey and Patterson made things worse. Still, there are some positives.

Mark Santini, who is playing varsity for the first time, scored on a 15-yard run in the spring. Other backs who could get carries include Blake Ambrester and Billy Uiker.

The line has depth and experience, so much that Roper has enough big guys to field two units. Andy Schallert, Damion Bennett, Derek Eling and Ryan Gibb are the key starters.

THROUGH THE AIR: Bradley and Bryant Lumpkin are battling to be the starting quarterback. Lumpkin, though, will likely line up as a receiver so the coaches can take advantage of his game-breaking talents. Kevin Keesey has the athletic ability to get open and caught a 48-yard touchdown in the spring. Tight end T.J. Grzesikowski is big (6-3, 245 pounds), catches well and has developed into a solid blocker.

DEFENSE!, DEFENSE!: Craig Foster and Terry Thomas anchor the line. Bennett, Schallert and Gibb provide depth. The linebackers should be strong with Santini, John Thornton, Sean Clement and Santini The biggest concerns are in the secondary. Lumpkin is the returner.

"We've got to find some people back there," Roper said..

JUST FOR KICKS: Grzesikowski is the punter. The team is searching for a kicker.