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Wildcats to play in college

By STEVE LEE and JAMAL THALJI

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 9, 2001


WESLEY CHAPEL -- Coach John Castelamare can add two more names to the long list of football players he has sent to the next level: Matt Harden and Steve Spivey, who will be the first players from Wesley Chapel to play college football.

The seniors from the second-year school are headed to Missouri Valley College, a NAIA school in Marshall, Miss.

"I'm finally getting out of Florida, I like that," Harden said. "I like that cold weather. I love it."

Harden, a fullback and linebacker, accepted an athletic scholarship Thursday that could cover most of the $17,000 tuition cost. Spivey, a defensive lineman, will receive a financial aid package that will cover most of his costs.

Spivey was playing in a Wesley Chapel baseball game Wednesday evening and could not be reached for comment.

"What I liked about both those kids is they were nice-sized kids, and they were tough, rangy," Vikings coach Dan Stanley said.

Harden is projected as a linebacker and Spivey is slated to play defensive end.

As an inside linebacker, Harden had 53 tackles, 47 assists, a fumble recovery and a sack last season. He also rushed for 728 yards and caught seven passes for 44 yards and scored nine touchdowns.

Spivey had 28 tackles, 25 assists, two sacks and two blocked kicks.

"They both did well for their team," Stanley said. "We were impressed with them on film."

Castelamare said both should benefits from attending MVC together. The fact that Harden has relatives in the area helped seal the deal.

"This one fit well," he said. "They like going together; it's a pretty good situation. I've known from the past, if two kids go, one might not stay.

"But at least they're not nervous in the beginning."

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