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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
DEFENSE: ANDREW IRICK, COUNTRYSIDE SENIOR NOSE TACKLE
Countryside senior nose tackle Andrew Irick says there's one big difference between his new position and his old one (linebacker):
At nose tackle, "You get hit every single play," he said. "From guys twice your size."
But lately, the 6-foot, 195-pound senior has gotten the better of the bigger guys. In Friday's win over St. Petersburg, Irick racked up eight solo tackles, including two for loss and one sack. Often warding off double teams, the speedy and savvy Irick has a team-leading 16 tackles and three sacks this season.
"He's a hard-nosed kid," Countryside defensive line coach Leo Govoni said. "He's quick. He's smart. He tries to confuse the center by lining up different ways."
Irick may be the center of attention again on Friday, as Govoni says Palm Harbor University is a team that "likes to run right at you."
That's fine to Irick, who has welcomed the physical punishment that came with his position switch last spring.
"It's fun to fight for your life every play," he said.
OFFENSE: CALVIN WOOD, TARPON SPRINGS, SENIOR TAILBACK
With his quick burst, exceptional vision, unearthly cutback ability and aptitude for juking and shredding tacklers, Wood strikes fear into the heart of defenders when he touches the ball.
"I'm looking to score on every play," he said.
The senior tried his best to make that happen last week.
In the second quarter against Seminole, Wood encountered a roadblock before darting around defenders for a 45-yard touchdown run. That was just one of many highlights Wood had as the Warhawks hopelessly gave chase to him all night.
In the third quarter, Wood scored on a 95-yard run. That was all the Spongers needed in a 14-0 win.
"My running style is pretty versatile," said Wood, who ran for 178 yards on 11 carries against Seminole. "I can run with ease or with power, go up the middle or around the end.'"
Last year, Wood ran for 960 yards, including several big games down the stretch to help the Spongers win their district. Though he is splitting carries with Worthy Jackson and Steve Bennett, Wood knows his number will be called whenever his team needs a big play.
"Whatever it takes to help the team win," he said.