tampabay.com

Tight Tornadoes

By ERIC MUSKATEVC
Published August 25, 2006


CLEARWATER - Luke Loucks doesn't need the press. Heck, he doesn't need to play football.

One of the county's most versatile players going into this year's winter basketball season, Loucks, a junior at Clearwater, will first take his 6-foot-6 frame to the gridiron where he hopes to transfer his ability to see the basketball court into touchdown passes on the football field.

"He's progressing with throwing the ball. He's doing a good job," Clearwater coach Tom Bostic said. "But we're looking for a No. 1 starter."

Then again, maybe he won't play at all. Going into the new season with A'Darrius Anderson and Loucks competing for the quarterback position might seem like a nightmare of a decision for Bostic. Anderson was backed by fans as a sophomore in 2005, taking on a starting role as the Tornadoes' 2-8 season wound down..

Loucks is reminiscent of Magic Johnson on the hardwood. He can move the ball with precision and has a sturdy arm to go along with his vision, though he didn't play football last year and spent most of his summer playing basketball.

As for Anderson and Loucks, "They'll have to keep working hard for the opportunity," Bostic said.

WELCOME BACK: Some of Bostic's better teams haven't been his best. "This one seems to be bonded already, which bodes well with our history," Bostic said of this year's squad that returns its offensive and defensive lines, running game and linebackers. Junior Chris Sackman, senior Wesley Kier and junior Brett Bostick will handle the carries. Senior Cass Carter will likely be used in a variety of ways. Antwan Liverpool, who started as a freshman last year, is back alongside Sackman and Carter as linebackers. Seniors Kirk Moncol and D.J. Ryder will captain the lines. Rob Kazanowski, a tight end/defensive end, will be a big target. Also expect to see Sackman and Tim Carter, who will also kick, in as receivers.

GET CARTER: When things went bad last year, at least Cass Carter was there. He made diving catches in games that didn't matter and is known to never quit on a play. "He's got a great nose for the ball," said Bostic.

NEW SCHEME: A shake-up in the coaching ranks for the Tornadoes has led to the addition of Bill Berry as defensive coordinator. Berry, who coached the Countryside Cougars in the 1980s and was a defensive assistant with Palm Harbor University, has a little different philosophy that Bostic says will take a while to learn. Jarvis Smith and Rafael Castro will play corners. Tim Carter and Rusty Melges return as safeties.