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Citrus | Pasco | Hernando | Hillborough | Pinellas

Final Tampa Bay Region Top 10 of 2000
The Times' rankings of the top teams in Hillsborough, Hernando, Citrus, Pasco and Pinellas counties with their records.

Final state poll

2000 Playoff results

[Times photo: Ron Thompson]
Citrus predictions: Look out! Pirates could be even better

Dunnellon pins hopes on offensive line
Replacing three starters in the trenches is key if the Tigers are to overcome Crystal River and North Marion.

Dunnellon: scouting report

North Marion's arrival could be tough to take
This spring, a collective gasp could be heard throughout Citrus County when new district alignments were announced. Call it the North Marion effect.

Trenary a reminder of past greats
Every time he watches film of Crystal River standout Clayton Trenary, Citrus coach Larry Bishop can't help but feel as if he's looking into the past.

The ascension of a star
Since the age of 7, Clayton Trenary has been a dominating force on offense, defense and special teams.

2000 All-Citrus/Hernando team
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Clayton Trenary, Crystal River

Hurricanes roll through county
In the spirit of the flowery prose of sportswriter Grantland Rice, who penned the famous "Four Horseman" story about Notre Dame's backs in 1924, Times Staff Writer Scott Purks offers his predictions.

Three Hurricanes -- one heartbeat
Citrus' best players also happen to be best friends.

There's a simple explanation for Pirates' success
Each August, one of my annual rites is to peruse through old editions of the Times football tab.

Pirate's future anything but bleak
Crystal River's Will Bleakley not only excels at offense, defense and kicking, but also in the classroom.

Crystal River: scouting report

Outcomes will answer 10 burning questions in Citrus
1. Will this be Crystal River's best team?

Citrus: for the fans

Pirates in position for another great season
With 22 seniors and plenty of talent, Crystal River eyes its sixth consecutive conference and district titles.

Thin Hurricanes have many holes to fill
With 15 starters graduated from last year's team, Citrus takes rebuilding to another level.

Friendly confines
[Times art: Earl Towery]
Revamped schedule means new hope
No Hillsborough. No East Lake. No Countryside.

It's a season of hope for county teams
With Hillsborough County no longer in the mix, Pasco County teams look forward to renewing old rivalries and having an equal chance for success.

Wildcats head contenders in new-look lineup
Meet the new Class 3A, District 7. Finally, a district race east Pasco County won't be watching from the sidelines.

Knights look up front for a better start
Coach Mike DeGennaro hopes a better line will help avoid last year's stumble.

Grown-up Wildcats face high expectations
Speed, talent, strength. Wesley Chapel has all the tools to contend for conference and district titles.

Land O'Lakes: Keep an eye on...
LAND O'LAKES -- The last three years, Godfrey Pestana slicing and dicing defenses was a mainstay of Land O'Lakes football. Defenses need not be concerned about being carved up by Pestana's replacements.

New-look Gators to rely on Weatherford
The sophomore quarterback is expected to lead the offense through the air.

Pasco: For the fans

Coach hopes improvement holds over
The Cobras played better late in the year, and Terry Voyles says his players learned from that.

Pasco predictions: Fresh faces to take over county scene
RUSHING LEADER: John C. Cotey: Michael Moody, Zephyrhills. As tempted as I am to pick Pasco's Devon Hicks on a hunch, I'm going with the gifted Moody, who the Bulldogs are smart enough to give the ball to 20 times a game.

Successful seasons await Bears, Eagles
3A-7 ORDER OF FINISH: 1. Wesley Chapel (7-3); 2. Zephyrhills (6-4); 3. Pasco (5-5); 4. Gulf (3-7); 5. Hernando (2-8); 6. Hudson (0-10)

Buccaneers hope new means improved
Changes everywhere and more depth might mean more success, says coach Keith Newton.

Gulf: Keep an eye on ...
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Defensive coordinator Shaun Wiemer cringes when he hears the numbers. There were two games last season when his unit gave up 37 points, two games allowing 48, another of 50 and a whopping 69 against River Ridge.

It's time for county's nice guy to finish first
WESLEY CHAPEL -- John Castelamare is too nice a guy to say it, so I will:

Hudson: Keep an eye on...
You had the "No Name Defense." Now Hudson presents the "Familiar Name Defense."

New programs join middle school ranks
Centennial and Chasco middle schools are ready to take the field -- but not quite ready to compete for a conference title.

Wesley Chapel: Keep an eye on...
WESLEY CHAPEL -- The Wildcats don't have a quarterback controversy. Instead, Wesley Chapel has a quarterback glut.

River Ridge: Keep an eye on...
Don't get Mike DeGennaro wrong -- he loved Todd Sabean and Mike Tubolino and thinks his team will miss them. After all, the two grads combined for 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns last year.

Pasco County outlook

Pirates need victories to regain respect
The absence of Hillsborough County foes on the schedule has given Pasco a new attitude and a bright outlook.

Pasco: Keen an eye on...
DADE CITY -- New Pasco assistant coach Joseph Brown took one look at his new players in the spring and came up with a brief, blunt and honest assessment.

What goes around comes around
Since we take our local teams to task for failures, it only stands to reason we hold ourselves to that same high standard.

Mustangs not your usual first-year team
With mostly juniors and seniors, coach Scott Schmitz hopes to compete immediately.

Mitchell: Keep an eye on...
Mitchell's first varsity season could hinge on one detail -- how well the lines play.

Bulldogs need to stay healthy to contend
There are many talented players, but most play two ways, so injuries could be a problem.

Heirs to the throne?
[Times art: Rossie Newson]
The stage is theirs
Each fall, young players fill the practice fields at area schools. Following the graduation of Dee Brown, the time is right for one of them to emerge as the county's next superstar.

Eagle excels at being elusive
Springstead senior running back Steve Garofano learned at an early age the benefits of being hard to tackle.

Feel-good Eagles must pass early tests
Springstead's turnaround could be short-lived with four road games against playoff teams in the first half of the season.

Springstead: scouting report

Panthers' Hollis simply dynamite
Lecanto coach Dick Slack wouldn't trade Terence Hollis for any player in the county -- and for good reason.

A unified front
"The most important aspect of blocking is teamwork."

Central: scouting report

2000 All-Citrus/Hernando team
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Clayton Trenary, Crystal River

Hernando predictions: Central has chance to knock off Crystal River
4A-6 ORDER OF FINISH: 1. Central (7-2); 2. River Ridge (6-4); 3. Springstead (6-4); 4. Land O'Lakes (5-5); 5. Ridgewood (5-5); 6. Mitchell (2-9).

New districts give boost to old feuds
BROOKSVILLE -- County teams can pursue district and conference titles this fall knowing they're going after two distinct goals this time around.

Hernando: scouting report

Panthers go from 0-10 season to almost giddy
Hard work in the offseason, a spring jamboree victory over Central -- what's next? Playoffs?

Uncertainties surround Dee-less Leopards
The graduation of Dee Brown has left Hernando with a lot of holes to fill.

Hernando questions: What surprises are in store for 2001?
1. Can all three county teams make the state playoffs?

Experience not enough for Central's seniors
Key defeats and a poor showing in the spring jamboree motivate a talented group.


[Times art: David Williams]
Not ready for prime time
If the 1999 and 2000 seasons were pitched to FOX as a new television series, it would be entitled When Schedules Attack.

Football was very different in the 1950s
TAMPA -- Thanksgiving Day 1956. Plant vs. Hillsborough. The biggest game of the season, played on the one day everybody in the county could come watch.

The ultimate throwback
TAMPA -- The trouble started after last season's first game, when Plant's Devin Kennedy rushed 23 times for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

Youngsters hold key for Cougars
Several veterans will have to play both ways unless newer players can develop.

As usual, Terriers have lots of talent
A strong offense, defense and special teams could combine to propel Hillsborough to a run for the state championship.

New coach instills a new attitude
David Bankston takes over a program that has won two games in the past two seasons.

Indians won't surprise opposition
East Bay (again) will run the wishbone and (again) rely on speed and size on defense.

2001 could produce breakthrough
Darlee Nelson has his system in place, and Plant might have the talent to make the playoffs.

Wildcats believe victories will come
Led by a solid quarterback, coach Richard Wood says Wharton will be vastly improved.

Falcons look to build on last season
After a 5-5 debut, Riverhills Christian, with only 17 players, will play a district schedule.

Eagles need speed, work ethic to win
Temple Heights will play a tougher schedule to go along with fewer players than last year.

Hillsborough: For the fans
ADMISSION: Most schools charge $3 to $5 for each game.

Dragons set their expectations high
Jefferson has a lot of talent in its 18 returning starters and six transfers who started in 2000.

Rams must respond to offseason tragedy
The death of quarterback James Priest in a car crash is never far from anyone's mind.

Ridgewood: Keep an eye on...
NEW PORT RICHEY -- It should be a season-long battle between Jon Emminger and Kale Durocher for the Rams starting quarterback job.

Falcons seek wins after big drop-off
Leto will have a young lineup as it tries to rebound from a season in which everything went wrong.

Tough teams stand in Jesuit's way
The Tigers have plenty of talent but will play in a very competitive district.

Lions bring back lots of experience
King looks to return to the playoffs with the help of its talented sophomore class.

Ex-assistant returns to lead Raiders
With a high-powered offense, new coach Cornelius Bobo said he believes a playoff berth is within reach for Plant City.

County welcomes newest member
Alonso coach John Fontes knows the first-year school has a long road ahead of it.

Knights hope to emerge from rubble
Coach Bud Hodgens believes Robinson can overcome its summer distractions.

Running game holds key for Sharks
Avious Steadman could carry a big load as Riverview faces a tough schedule.

Losing players might help Berkeley
Coach Frank Sullivan says this year's team has a much better attitude than last year's.

Yellow Jackets enter next phase
After making the playoffs in 2000, Blake wants to continue the program's development.

Hillsborough: District Predictions

Titans must replace talented players
However, coach John Colbert believes TBT can contend for its second consecutive playoff berth.

Gryphons want to forget history
Sickles' new coach, Pat O'Brien, has revamped many aspects of the program.

After turmoil, TC begins new era
Jim Guderian looks to return the Crusaders to the prominence they once enjoyed.

Gaither undergoes major changes
The Cowboys have a new coach and are without three of their top players from last year.

It's a season of hope for county teams
With Hillsborough County no longer in the mix, Pasco County teams look forward to renewing old rivalries and having an equal chance for success.

Few starters return for Armwood
The Hawks must replace not just players who graduated, but players who earned scholarships.

Chiefs coach personifies 'throwback'
In the 1950s, Billy Turner was a multi-sport star who trained hard and played in pain. As a coach, he has had to make some adjustments.

Chiefs possess talent for playoff run
Despite playing in a tough district, coach Billy Turner says he enters 2001 confident.


[Times art: Branden Jeffords]
Titleless in Pinellas County
Lafayette County is 250 miles from St. Petersburg, but a world away.

Seven finals appearances, seven losses
Two teams. One night. Zero state titles.

Pinellas: For the fans
ADMISSION: Most schools charge $3 to $5 for each game.

Packers will travel a tougher road
LARGO -- Largo won the hard way last season, surviving several close games down the stretch to finish 7-3 and make the playoffs as a district runner-up.

Spartans have better passing game
ST. PETERSBURG -- Last year, he was deemed so frail that Lakewood coach Brian Bruch kept him on the junior varsity team for the entire season.

Junior class holds key for Crusaders
ST. PETERSBURG -- Keswick Christian enters its fourth season as a varsity program, and there is cautious optimism around the small campus.

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

Teams know who Farragut is now
ST. PETERSBURG -- For Admiral Farragut coach Mike Jalazo, it is the morning after.

Stabilized staff seeks more victories
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.

Pinellas: District predictions

Marauders eye return to post-season
CLEARWATER -- With its three most prominent names on offense last season graduated, it would be easy to scratch Clearwater Central Catholic off of the list of district title contenders.

This time, coach likes what he sees
CLEARWATER -- Late last summer, Joe Ionata surveyed the field during his first practice, and his heart sank.

'Little League Legends' will be key
ST. PETERSBURG -- Dixie Hollins coach Mike Morey said his team has three things, size on the offensive and defensive lines, some of the fastest players he has seen in his four years at the school and a couple of players he calls "Little League Legends."

Optimism simmers at Eagles camp
EAST LAKE -- No other north county school graduated as much talent as East Lake.

Rebuilding continues at Dunedin
DUNEDIN -- Mark Everett thought this project would move along a little quicker.

Gibbs must replace a lot of talent
ST. PETERSBURG -- Ron Mathis doesn't say a word, but his nod, smile and beaming look of confidence answer the question: You're darn right our offense will be better than last season.

New IRC coach wants to raise morale
LARGO -- Chris Aelong was all set to start his law career.

Pinellas: State final capsules

Northeast needs to remain healthy
ST. PETERSBURG -- Throughout 2000, Northeast looked like a fife and drum corps. Almost everybody on the roster was bruised, bandaged or broken.

Chargers lack depth, not optimism
For the past 22 years, no matter the size or talent level of his players, Shorecrest coach Phil Hayford has the same goal: win a state championship.

Chargers lack depth, not optimism
For the past 22 years, no matter the size or talent level of his players, Shorecrest coach Phil Hayford has the same goal: win a state championship.

Athletic stars fill Spongers' roster
TARPON SPRINGS -- Once again, Tarpon Springs' offense is akin to the chassis of an Italian sports car. It looks fast just standing still. It lives to run.

Top-notch QB leads Barons' attack
ST. PETERSBURG -- All eyes are on No. 9 this fall at St. Petersburg Catholic.

Opponents have Warhawks in sight
SEMINOLE -- Last season, Seminole went 10-0 in the regular season, won the district title and advanced to the regional final.

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

Rebuilder embarks on another job
ST. PETERSBURG -- If the Green Devils don't know each other inside and out by now, then they're not trying.

Roster undergoes some renovations
PALM HARBOR -- The international baccalaureate program at Palm Harbor U. is grueling, and the junior year is crucial.

Warriors have talent but no district
SEMINOLE -- Osceola coach George Palmer said this year's team is the most talented he has had in years.

Coach believes Mustangs are better
ST. PETERSBURG -- With the sugarcoating removed, things looked pretty embarrassing for Northside Christian at times last season.

Optimism simmers at Eagles camp
Enough starters return to have coach Ernest Hayes believe good days lie ahead.

Citrus | Pasco | Hernando | Hillborough | Pinellas

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