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Stabilized staff seeks more victories

By BOB PUTNAM

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 30, 2001


After making the playoffs a school record five years in a row, Clearwater saw its chance to extend that streak end during the first four weeks last season.

After making the playoffs a school record five years in a row, Clearwater saw its chance to extend that streak end during the first four weeks last season.

The Tornadoes started 0-4. They salvaged the season by winning five of six, including their final four. But it was too late. The poor start was too much to overcome.

Coach Tom Bostic blamed inexperience as the biggest reason Clearwater took so long to get on track.

Not the inexperience of the players, but the coaches.

Bostic had to revamp his staff after Rick Rodriguez, a longtime assistant, took the head coaching job at Largo and brought several assistants with him.

"We had so many new coaches, and it took awhile for the kids to get accustomed to that," Bostic said.

"Once they started believing, we started playing better."

There was not much turnover in the off-season.

Assistant coach Bob Williams left to become the head coach at Auburndale. Taking his spot on the staff is Otis Dixon, a recent USF graduate and a former star with the Tornadoes.

The coaches have the luxury of an experienced team and get an influx of talented underclassmen who were part of Clearwater's undefeated junior varsity team.

"I'm really excited this season," Bostic said.

"But I'm always excited about every year."

THROUGH THE AIR: The biggest battle is at quarterback. Chad Harris, Collin Ryan and Derelle Houser are competing for the job.

Bostic hasn't named a starter and might use all three during the season.

"Whatever works," Bostic said.

Terrence Jackson has been moved from running back to receiver and is the main target.

ON THE GROUND: Trevor Bryant, who took over at running back when Ryan Vaught was injured last season, returns and has the spotlight to himself now that Vaught has graduated. Joe Dennis is the fullback.

Bryant and Dennis, both seniors, are listed as top recruits. Their stocks could go even higher running behind a line that will be one of the biggest in the county.

Jon Holt (6 feet 7, 290 pounds), Miguel Master (6-3, 332), Louis Frazier (6-4, 285), John Hunter (5-10, 270) and Tim Powers (6-0, 220) are the starters. Keith Milner (6-0, 295) is the main backup.

DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! Sam Vavra, Antonio Hunter, Kyle Lighthiser, Broward Holsey, Dan Bellamy and Frazier form the line.

Jason Greenwood and Jason Bruce are the linebackers. Julius Oye, Jarrid Daniels, Marcus Jeter and Jackson will see action in the secondary.

JUST FOR KICKS: Ryan Gregg and Brad Sommerville will share the kicking. Chad Harris will punt.

CLEARWATER TORNADOES AT A GLANCE

COACH: Tom Bostic, 19th season (122-70)

ASSISTANTS: Mike Davis, Otis Dixon, Tim Hinz, Joe Holt, Charlie Spelman

COLORS: Gray and red

STADIUM: Jack White Stadium, 540 S Hercules Ave., Clearwater

CLASS: 5A, District 7

PLAYOFF HISTORY

ROUND OF 32: 1995 (5A), 1996 (5A), 1997 (5A)

ROUND OF 16: 1978 (4A), 1998 (5A) 1999 (4A)

QUARTERFINALS: 1969 (2A), 1970 (2A)

SEMIFINALS: 1964 (2A)

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