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Rebuilding continues at Dunedin

By JOHN SCHWARB

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 30, 2001


DUNEDIN -- Mark Everett thought this project would move along a little quicker.

DUNEDIN -- Mark Everett thought this project would move along a little quicker.

He pictured three or four wins the first year, an above-.500 second year and, by now, a chance to be a playoff contender.

Rebuilding at Dunedin has not progressed quite that well, but then again, the third-year coach already has achieved what some might have thought impossible.

The Falcons are not an automatic "W." "It was good for the kids to realize, 'Hey, things are better. We can win games,"' said Everett, whose 2000 squad won more games in six weeks (three) than the entire 1998 and 1999 teams combined (one). The (returning) kids remember those times and want to get on track."

But several Falcons must quickly step up to keep those good vibes going. Last year's leading rusher and receiver graduated, and quarterback Chad Nash would have returned had his father not become the coach at Fort Pierce Central.

Also, middle linebacker Chris Fairchild, the lone bright spot of a defense Everett compared to "a screen door with water going through it," graduated. Whether Dunedin can end its county-worst 14-year playoff drought might be a bit of a long shot, but Everett said he is pleased so far with the combination of youth and experience.

"It's finally a core of kids that I can honestly say are my own," Everett said. "It's a fun group to work with.

THROUGH THE AIR: Junior Aaron Ford replaces Nash, but do not look for the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder to stand in the pocket long.

"He has the green light to take it himself," Everett said.

Ford's throws likely will be more of the dump-off variety. The Falcons are moving to a double tight end set with Scott Stevens and Harry Moundros. And backs Brad Rey and DeJuan Graham also will catch some balls.

ON THE GROUND: Dunedin again will be a run-oriented team, and Bryant Tisdale (5-10, 170) will get the majority of the carries. Last year, he ran for 317 yards on 59 carries -- a 5.4 average -- and scored three touchdowns.

Tisdale will have a sizeable wall of linemen to follow, led by 6-5, 275-pound David Rawlings.

Graham, younger brother of 2000 leading rusher Jabbar Graham, also could get touches.

DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! 2000 was not a year to remember for defense. The Falcons gave up 334 yards and 31.7 points per game, both county worsts. With Fairchild gone, Everett saw little need for another 4-3 scheme. So he scrapped it in favor of five linemen and two middle linebackers.

The interior line could emerge as a strength with Greg Climan (6 foot, 275), Dion Daniels (6-1, 305) and John Vavoulas (6-2, 285). JUST FOR KICKS: Bret Hanson will be busy, playing free safety while also handling punting and kicking responsibilities.

DUNEDIN FALCONS AT A GLANCE

COACH: Mark Everett, third season (4-16)

ASSISTANTS: Mike Anderson, James Carey, Jim Gaglis, Archie Higgins, Tim McClintock, Tom Murray, Ken Scherer

COLORS: Scarlet and white

STADIUM: Dunedin Memorial Stadium, 1651 Pinehurst Road, Dunedin

CLASS: 4A, District 9

PLAYOFF HISTORY

ROUND OF 16: 1979 (4A)

QUARTERFINALS: 1982 (4A)

SEMIFINALS: 1981 (4A)

FINAL: 1986 (5A), 1987 (5A)

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