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Wharton: Round the County in 30 Days

A team-by-team look at Hillsborough County spring football.

By JOEY KNIGHT
Published May 26, 2007


Coach: David Mitchell (third season, 18-4)

2006 record: 8-2

District opponents: Gaither, Mitchell, Wesley Chapel

Jamboree result: Defeated Freedom 7-2

Who's gone: RB Joel Miller, LB Josh Jones, LB Joe Greisser, DL Jamere Johnson, DL Dino Cox, OL Rod Saint-Juste, WR Roshard Green

Who's back: QB Josh Powell, QB Andrew Clifford, TB Ladre Watkins, SS Jairus Jones, OL Alonso Jones, OL Alvin Hamilton, LB Xavier Fareed

What's new: A bunch of new faces on offense, particularly up front. Without hesitation, Mitchell says his biggest concern exiting spring practice is his offensive line. "We've got a guard (Hamilton) and we've got a center (Alonso Jones), and that's it, " Mitchell said after the jamboree, where Freedom appeared to consistently beat the Wildcats off the ball. "There's a lot more work." ... Watkins (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), the blocking back for 1, 000-yard rusher Joel Miller in 2006, now is the feature back. At quarterback, don't be surprised if Powell - the senior incumbent - shares snaps with Clifford, a 6-2 junior. Whoever isn't behind center could line up at a slot position. "I have no problem (using both) because I love both of those guys to death, " Mitchell said.

Audibles: "We didn't lose anybody but we don't get gifts like the other programs get. We never have a Christmas in the spring." - Mitchell, referring to local schools that brought in prominent transfers during the offseason

Did you know? Jairus Jones, the Wildcats' strong safety and arguably the team's top defensive prospect, missed spring practice after undergoing surgery to repair bone chips in his shoulder. He's expected to return in time for preseason drills in August.

Schedule: Aug. 24: Plant (kickoff classic); Aug. 31: at Freedom; Sept. 7: Armwood; Sept. 14: at East Bay; Sept. 21: at Sickles; Sept. 28: Plant City; Oct. 5: at Wesley Chapel; Oct. 12: Middleton; Oct. 19: Mitchell; Oct. 26: Riverview; Nov. 2: at Gaither

Joey Knight, Times staff writer