By RODNEY PAGE
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 30, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- If the Green Devils don't know each other inside and out by now, then they're not trying.
In an effort to build team unity, first-year coach Todd St. Louis took his troops to the woods of Groveland, a small town in Lake County with plenty of orange groves and very little else.
The Green Devils camped for a week, held three-a-day practices and watched game film. There was no television, no air conditioning, no outsiders. Just the coaches, players and their playbook.
"They're ready to play football now," St. Louis said. "It gives them a chance to learn our system. By the time the games start, we just want them to do it; not to think about it, but just do it."
St. Louis is trying to rebuild St. Petersburg's program, which slumped to 3-7 last season and lost longtime coach Dusty Boylson.
St. Louis already has rebuilt programs at St. Petersburg Catholic and Indian Rocks Christian.
There appears to be more interest this season. St. Louis said more students tried out for the junior varsity, and numbers are up on the varsity as well.
"I have a little experience at this," St. Louis said. "We've got kids that want to work hard, and that's half the battle."
THROUGH THE AIR: Senior Alex Powell will get his first shot as the starting quarterback.
St. Louis said Powell can throw and run, which means the Green Devils will mix up the pass and run.
"I'll take whatever the defense gives us," St. Louis said. "That's the way I've always coached."
Jeremy Bandudi and Sam Saunders should catch plenty of balls. Tight end Keith Thompson also is in the mix.
ON THE GROUND: Will Jones is the starting tailback, and B.J. Gross will start at fullback.
They will run behind the line of Thompson, Justin Shea, Bret Seitz, Brandon Reliford, Steve Smallwood and Kenny Kleber.
While not the most experienced group, St. Louis is confident his team can move the ball.
DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! The Green Devils will use some of their offensive starters on defense as well.
Thompson will play outside linebacker, and Reliford, Smallwood and Seitz will play on the line. B.J. Gross will play middle linebacker.
Damien Butler is solid at middle linebacker. Sylvester Stephen will play outside linebacker.
In the secondary, Saunders will double as the cornerback. Robert Doles also will play cornerback. Freddie Chissom and Ryan Tucker will play safety.
JUST FOR KICKS: If Powell can't move the offense, he could help the team with his punting.
Seitz will do the placekicking.
COACH: Todd St. Louis, first season
ASSISTANTS: Charlie Broderick, Nick Carter, Tom Cheek, Chris Hug, C.J. James, Pat Nolan, Chuck Pedderman, Jack Prybil, George Wade
COLORS: Kelly green and white
STADIUM: Stewart Field, 2501 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg
CLASS: 5A, District 8
ROUND OF 32: 1997 (5A)
ROUND OF 16: 1985 (4A), 1987 (4A)
FINAL: 1984 (3A)