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River Ridge: Keep an eye on...

By JOHN C. COTEY

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 30, 2001


Don't get Mike DeGennaro wrong -- he loved Todd Sabean and Mike Tubolino and thinks his team will miss them. After all, the two grads combined for 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns last year.

But he likes seniors John Gilmore, Joe Dahmen and junior Alan Minichino just as much.

"I think we're kind of loaded in the backfield," DeGennaro said.

If you like speed, there's Gilmore, who is the county sprinting champion, a top-notch wrestler and weightlifter, and a fullback who averaged 9.5 yards a carry last year in limited action.

If you like power, there's the bruising Minichino, last year's jayvee starter. He weighs 226 pounds, but benches 345, clean jerks 275 and squats 450.

And if you like a little of each, try Dahmen, the shiftiest of the group who surprisingly emerged in the spring.

"In the backfield, Sabean and Toobs were very good runners, but I think the confidence the team gets out of the improved offensive line and the blocking will make the trio of Dahmen, Gilmore and Minichino almost as intimidating and as good as having Toobs back there," DeGennaro said."

Throw in three-year starter Jesse Hoolihan at wingback, where his running and blocking is an added plus, and River Ridge has the most promising -- albeit unproven -- backfield in the county.

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