Spoto: Round the County in 30 Days

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

By Keith Niebuhr
Published May 27, 2007

Coach: Scott Palmer (second season, 9-0)

2006 record: 9-0 (vs. junior varsity schedule)

District opponents: Booker, Jesuit, Palmetto, Robinson

Jamboree result: Beat Lennard 16-6 in first quarter; lost to Tampa Catholic 14-0 in second quarter.

Who's gone: The team had no seniors in 2006.

Who's back: LB Jeff Beko, RB Jamar Burns, OL/DL Davontae Davis, RB Orey Gaines, WR/LB Brandon Gallon, QB Octavis Jones, DE Sergio Robinson.

What's new: For the first time, Spoto will play a varsity schedule. The good news is that the second-year program is now eligible for the playoffs. The bad news is that the Spartans ended up in one of the region's toughest districts. Spoto got a taste of winning last year, but had what Palmer described as a "wake-up call" this spring against Tampa Catholic. With a team full of sophomores and juniors, the Spartans could take their lumps, but that doesn't mean they lack talent. In Jones, a strong-armed 6-foot-1, 170-pound rising sophomore, Spoto has a player with great potential around which it can build the offense during the next few years. On defense, Robinson (6-3, 210), a talented transfer from East Bay, is the leader. Both lines lack size and that's a major concern, but Spoto coaches are confident the interior players will commit themselves in the weight room during the offseason.

Audibles: "We have ability and potential, but we're still very, very young. A realistic expectation for us is to try to be competitive in every game." -- Palmer

Did you know?: Before arriving at Spoto, Palmer was head coach at Leto for a season. For nine seasons prior to that, he was an assistant at East Bay, Riverview and Leto.

Schedule: Aug. 24: Leto (kickoff classic); Aug. 31: at Newsome; Sept. 7: Bloomingdale; Sept. 14: at Lennard; Sept. 21: Palmetto; Sept. 28: Tampa Bay Tech; Oct. 5: Open; Oct. 12: Sickles; Oct. 19: at Sarasota Booker; Oct. 26: at Jesuit; Nov. 2: Robinson; Nov. 9: at East Bay

Keith Niebuhr, Times Correspondent