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Bigger Patriots seek more victories

By PETE YOUNG

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 30, 2001


PINELLAS PARK -- Bigger is better has long been a credo in football, and Pinellas Park coach James Adams hopes it holds up this year.

PINELLAS PARK -- Bigger is better has long been a credo in football, and Pinellas Park coach James Adams hopes it holds up this year.

After slumping from 5-5 to 2-8 last season with an undersized line, Pinellas Park now is jumbo-sized up front and in the backfield.

The offensive line averages 6 feet 1, 255 pounds. Behind it is a pair of heavy loads in fullback Antoine Daniels (6-2, 235) and tailback Anwar Jones (6-2, 240).

Also, depth is improved. After more than 10 players sat out the spring game for various reasons, the roster has swelled to 35.

East Lake is the district favorite, and Clearwater projects at No. 2. Pinellas Park must match up with those two if it hopes to make the playoffs for the first time since 1997 and third time in its history.

"East Lake and Clearwater, we've had smaller kids, and they've worn us out," Adams said. "Maybe with our big backs, we can wear them down this year."

THROUGH THE AIR: Adams is excited about the progress of junior quarterback Gary Fiegel. He has had a perfect conditioning/workout record since last season and is a solid 6-2, 210 pounds.

Already with a year of starting experience under his belt, Fiegel camped this summer at Central Florida and Florida. And he has shined in preseason practice.

"He's looking really good," Adams said. "He's really dedicated."

Bruce Mosley, Rapheale Butler, both juniors, and sophomore Josh Pringle are the top targets at wide receiver. Senior tight end Chris Seigler and senior scatback Matt Brassil (5-9, 150) also figure into the passing game.

ON THE GROUND: With Daniels plowing interference, Jones -- who has surprising speed for a big back -- will hammer away. Brassil will get a few carries a game as a change of pace.

Dixie Hollins transfer Ripley Atkinson (5-10, 235) is the smallest starter on the line, which also features senior Tom Zbyszinski (6-1, 270), senior Brandon Vest (6-1, 265) and juniors Nathan Bittel (6-0, 250) and Daryl Hill (6-5, 255).

DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! Sophomore Travis Youngs (6-4, 280), figures to draw a few double-teams in the trenches.

Sophomore North Carolina transfer Munir Muwwkkil (6-4, 250), Hill, Greg Anderson and Mitchell Hoffines also will be in the line rotation.

The strength of the team might be at linebacker. Daniels and Jones flank senior Eric Pretto (5-11, 220), who transferred to Miami last year but has returned.

Senior Delvon Stanley (6-0, 180) plays the combination strong safety/linebacker spot with a vengeance. All four are strong and fast and have a nose for the ball.

Brassil, Pringle and backup quarterback Latrez Bradley man the secondary.

JUST FOR KICKS: Cody Gelwick will punt and kick. The elusive Bradley and Brassil are among the candidates to return kicks.

PINELLAS PARK PATRIOTS AT A GLANCE

COACH: James Adams, eighth season (31-32)

ASSISTANTS: Dave Bonchi, Andre Dodson, Luke Kademoff, Rick Scarlett, Tom White

COLORS: Blue, red and white

STADIUM: Richard Allen Memorial Stadium, 6305, 118th Ave. N, Pinellas Park

CLASS: 5A, District 7

PLAYOFF HISTORY

ROUND OF 16: 1983 (4A), 1997 (5A)

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