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Eagles not worried about getting wings clipped

Sure, South Lake is a formidable foe, but Springstead feels it is up to the challenge.

By VINCENT THOMAS
Published September 15, 2006


SPRING HILL - Springstead will be heading east on S.R. 50 this afternoon, and when the Eagles arrive at South Lake High and make their way to the field, they might be moments away from a good ol' whoopin'.

That's no knock on the Eagles. Like, coach Bill Vonada intimated to the squad last Friday, the team is starting to round into shape. Their win against Hudson was solid. They all spoke positively after the game about how the team is beginning to click. They currently sit atop the District 8 standings. The Eagles are cool ...really.

But South Lake? The other Eagles have beaten their opponents a combined 143-34. The Orlando Sentinel ranks them right on the cusp of its Super Six. Even the local Eagles - normally a very even-keeled squad - have not hidden the fact they've been impressed by what they have seen on film.

Still, they aren't too worried about a whoopin'. It's not in their nature. Cornerback Derek Skinner barely changed the pitch of his voice or moved a muscle on his face when discussing the prospect of being on the bad end of another one of South Lake's blowouts. Perhaps, he and Vonada and his teammates have looked at South Lake's three previous opponents (Mount Dora (0-3), Lake Weir (2-1) and St. Cloud (0-2)) and surmised they're a better team than the squads South Lake has faced thus far.

Or perhaps Springstead isn't as worried about scores and talent and speed as it is concerned about itself. Vonada acknowledged that the Eagles couldn't match South Lake - a team he said has shown "dominant force" - talent for talent, but he said there are always things the less talented squads can do to even the deck.

"You have to concentrate on things you can control," said Vonada, particularly concerned about the game-breaking potential of running backs Jeff Demps and Bob Evans.

So all week, Springstead practices have been like one huge geometry class. Angles. That's been the talk.

Skinner talked about it a lot, so did safety Bryan Villegas.

Vonada said he has been stressing "staying in your lanes," "staying in the right position" and "taking the right angles and not chasing them." Much of practice has been spent focusing on "pursuit drills."

Villegas is the Eagles' last resort if one of South Lake's backs break away into the secondary.

He said he plans to "overestimate their speed."

It'll be a challenge, but one the Eagles claim they are up for. Villegas doesn't envision anything close to a whoopin'.

"We can take them," the senior said. "If we play our game, play the angles - we can definitely take them."

Vincent Thomas can be reached at (352) 848-1430 or vthomas@sptimes.com.