'Round the County 30 Days: Hillsborough

By Keith Niebuhr, Times Correspondent
Published May 15, 2007


Coach: Earl Garcia (14th season, 132-32; 165-70 overall)

2006 record: 6-5 (lost in first round of Class 4A playoffs)

District opponents: Armwood, Freedom, Middleton, Tampa Bay Tech

Jamboree date/opponent: Friday vs. Gaither (at Chamberlain)

Who's gone: UT Kendall Brown, OT Darrell Meckley, UT Kashief Steen

Who's back: DB Andreas Ashwood, DB Erik Fennell, DB Chuck Grace, OL/DL Charlie Hughlett, RB Lindsey Lamar, WR Terrence Mitchell, LB Marc Thomas, RB/LB Izaiah Wyche

What's new: The offense. In 12 of Garcia's 13 previous seasons, the Terriers were an I-formation team. Now they've turned to the run-and-shoot. The reason? Speed. Garcia says this likely will be the fastest team he has fielded, and when you think about Hillsborough's recent history that's saying a lot. Under the direction of quarterback Tarean Austin, a rising sophomore who transferred in from Tampa Bay Tech, the Terriers' goal is to get the ball into the hands of their many playmakers. Of the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Austin, Garcia said: "He's got a chance to be special." Look for Mitchell, also a track standout, to be one of Austin's top targets. Lamar, a young running back with promise, will be among those who lead the rushing attack. On defense, Thomas is a likely Division I-A recruit. South Florida is among the many schools interested in acquiring his services.

Audibles: "Last year, we were unhappy with the record, but not unhappy with the effort. We have so many kids back (15 starters) and are so fast, we're very upbeat right now." - Garcia

Did you know?: The Terriers had one player sign with a college program in February. During the previous 13 years, they averaged eight signings per season.

Schedule: Aug. 24: Lakeland (kickoff classic); Aug. 31: Jefferson; Sept. 7: at Alonso; Sept. 14: at Chamberlain; Sept. 21: Middleton; Sept. 28: at Riverview; Oct. 5: at Freedom; Oct. 12: Plant; Oct. 18: at Armwood; Oct. 26: Gaither; Nov. 2: Tampa Bay Tech