'Round the county in 12 days: Wesley Chapel

By Izzy Gould
Published May 17, 2007

Coach: John Castelamare

Last year: Won first two games before dropping five of six. Won final two games, handing playoff-bound Zephyrhills its first loss in eight games, then shut out district rival Mitchell 38-0.

District: Class 5A-5 (Gaither, Mitchell, Wharton, Wesley Chapel)

Did you know? Wesley Chapel is 1-9 in district games since joining Class 5A, District 5. Before the 2006 season, the Wildcats dominated Class 3A, routinely claiming district titles.

Breakout player: Ray Rouch. The former outside linebacker has developed into a bona fide leader and should fill in nicely after the departure of Times' Defensive Player of the Year Vince Chalecki. Rouch was seventh in the county with 105 tackles in 2006. He should enter the fall as the starting middle linebacker and wingback.

Who's back: Starting quarterback Greg Jenkins returns to a team hit hard by graduation. Jenkins has blossomed into a playmaker and has the character to lead. Immaturity proved costly last season, though he seems more focused, setting up what should be a solid senior season.

What's new: Defensive coordinator Bud Hodgens takes over for Tom McHugh, who left for the head coaching job at Pasco. Hodgens is no rookie, rather a veteran of the coaching game since 1965. He coached Robinson for 10 years. He knows X's and O's. He'll stick with a base 50 defense to help ease the transition.

Spring revelation: Castelamare wouldn't bite, though the easy answer is there's lots of youth on the roster after losing players such as Mario Melvin, George Ford and Jon Heiser.

"We've got some new players, " Castelamare said. "I'm not going to mention names right now. We think they're pretty good and we think they're going to help us."

Spring scrimmage: Friday, 7

Izzy Gould, Times staff writer