NEW PORT RICHEY — The 2013 season in the United Football Federation for the Pasco County Hitmen was a rough one.
From key players moving out of state to injuries, the Hitmen had to endure a 2-7-1 season after finishing 7-4 in the UFF in 2012. However, Hitmen owner Julio Rodriguez has not taken this offseason for granted and heavily recruiting some of the area’s top players and coaches, hoping for a quick turnaround.
“We’re looking very forward to the 2014 season,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve revamped the entire coaching staff and also have added some really good ball players. Coach Alvaro Muente is installing a whole new offense and I’m very excited about our secondary and the additions of Jay ‘Juice’ Williams and Steven Lark.”
After replacing last year’s coach Scott Palasky, Rodriguez has brought in former Countryside JV coach Muente to lead the team’s new image and overhaul an offense that averaged about 10 points a game in 2013. Also joining the staff is Tarpon Springs’ JV coach Chris Housholder, who will run the Hitmen’s defense, and former Gulf and Ridgewood assistant coach Shelby Williamson.
Amongs the new player additions for the Hitmen are new and old faces. Longtime wide receiver and former Gulf High standout Hector Collazo returns to the roster after spending the past year living in Michigan. Former Anclote quarterback John Forgione and former River Ridge quarterback Kenny Toce are competing for the starting role, plus numerous former Pasco County prep standouts already litter the Hitmen roster: Madison Burr (Gulf), Shawn Williamson (Gulf) and Jake McFadden (Hudson). The team has picked up a former University of South Florida player Lonnie Oxendine.
“Our goal is to make it to the championship game but we first know that we must go at it one game at a time,” Rodriguez said. “We look to build team chemistry amongst all the new additions and veterans before our first preseason game.”
The Hitmen’s opening preseason game is Dec. 14 against the Orlando Phantoms, which reached the UFF’s Gulf Coast Conference championship last season. For those interested in playing for the Hitmen, contact Rodriguez at (727) 505-5606 or e-mail the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.