Youth reigns with Raiders

With only a few seniors on this year's squad, quite a few sophomores, as well as other untested players, will see action this season.

Published August 25, 2006

PLANT CITY - New coach Kevin Kelly will look to keep the offense pretty much the same in his transition from assistant to head coach.

Kelly, a graduate of Leto, has been with Plant City 10 seasons, serving as defensive coordinator for the past three seasons; he also was at East Bay as a coach for 10 seasons.

Plant City will continue to run the spread offense and focus on the option.

"I don't want to say exactly what we'll do," Kelly said. "But we are going to throw some changes in there."

Kelly said the team goal is simple: Win the district, then "go on from there."

Kelly, who said his team is "thin on seniors," will start seven or eight sophomores.

Through the Air: Kelly said the Raiders are still deciding between junior Derrick Hargrove and sophomore Clint Stearns for starting quarterback.

"They both have looked pretty good," Kelly said.

Kelly said he will be watching practices closely to find out which potential quarterback adjusts best.

"We have got to get more consistency from the quarterback spot," he said. "With young quarterbacks, consistency is key. They both have a grasp of our system and I think they get our coaches very well."


On the Ground: Kelly said senior running back Jacari Bennett will be the focus of much of the offense this season.

"We are going to try and ride (Jacari's) back," Kelly said.

"We are going to get him as many carries a game as we can.

"He's been around a little bit. He's a great back and I hope we can open some holes up for him."


On Defense: Kelly said he's confident in the defense this season, especially after seeing the Raiders defense in the spring game against Armwood.

Kelly said he hopes the defense will serve as a "stepping stone" to motivate the rest of the team.