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Undersized Bogie must fight for wins

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 30, 2001


Jean Gordon has coached at Boca Ciega for eight years, and he's still waiting for the day all coaches dream about.

Jean Gordon has coached at Boca Ciega for eight years, and he's still waiting for the day all coaches dream about.

"I'm waiting for that stud kid to move into my zone," Gordon said. "But it just never happens. I get the kid who's 5 feet 2, 137 pounds and played in some small town in Georgia."

And so it goes for Gordon and the Pirates.

They once again must find a way to win with undersized players and little depth. There is only one returning offensive lineman. There are three quarterbacks, all of whom might get some playing time in each game.

There are only four returning seniors.

"We are not a state championship team," Gordon said.

In fact, Gordon has so many unknown quantities and so little size, he might be forced to abandon his beloved "3 yards and a cloud of dust" style.

"I'm working on a few wrinkles," Gordon said. "I'm not all that smart. I went to summer school just like some of my kids. We've got to make some changes to fit what we've got."

THROUGH THE AIR: There are three candidates at quarterback, senior Ricky Williams, junior Jimmy Connors and sophomore Marquis Curry. Gordon said Connors likely will get most of the snaps and has more of a drop back style.

Williams and Curry are more option quarterbacks.

The receivers are young. Chris Berman is the leading wideout, but he has a separated shoulder and might miss the first few games.

ON THE GROUND: If Williams isn't the quarterback, he'll get the ball at tailback. Deron Smith, Daryl Wilson and Rolston Garbey also will share time carrying the ball.

The offensive line is young and small. Dan Newberg is the top returner. Ryan Daignault also has looked good so far. Because of the Pirates' lack of depth and size up front, they will have to be creative to gain yards. "We only average about 165 pounds as a team," Gordon said. "We could go to St. Pete Green Devils or Azalea Little League (youth league teams) and play and probably nobody would notice."

DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! Defensive end Harold King, who had more than 100 tackles and eight sacks last season, is the top returner. King will not play both ways, so defense is his focus. Garbey also is a key defensive end.

Williams will anchor the secondary at cornerback. Wilson also will play safety.

JUST FOR KICKS: Sophomore Brandon Abbaspour takes over for the reliable Ricky Hanson. He boomed some kicks in the spring and will punt as well as placekick.

BOCA CIEGA PIRATES AT A GLANCE

COACH: Jean Gordon, eighth season (25-45)

ASSISTANTS: Ken Crawford, Paul Hanson, Ed Henia, Pete Snider, Shane Wheeler

COLORS: Blue, gold and white

STADIUM: Beauchamp Stadium, 924 58th St. S, Gulfport

CLASS: 5A, District 8

PLAYOFF HISTORY

ROUND OF 16: 1986 (4A), 1992 (4A)

QUARTERFINALS: 1971 (4A)

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